Wine Tasting on the Bay with Kelly Family Vineyards
As many of you know, Oishii Moments had a great time at the 20th Annual Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival in and around San Francisco’s famous Ghirardelli Square (near the Cannery and Pier 39). Adjacent to all the great chocolate treats in the general tasting area, the Chocolate & Wine Pavilion took our epicurean experiences to the next level. Gotta say, chocolate sure does pair well with wine, especially that of Kelly Family Vineyards out of Napa, California!
With treats at our disposal such as chocolate truffles and red velvet cupcakes abounding, we found ourselves seeking out something wet and fruity to pair with our abundance of delectable confections. After tasting quite a few outstanding local vintages and some incredible European beers to boot, we wound our way over to the the Kelly Family Vineyards booth and there she was, Amanda Carpenter, handing us two succulent glasses of Kelly Family Vineyards Merlot!
So, what’s all this have to do with wine tasting on the Bay? Keep reading and it will all make sense … promise! Anyway, what their Merlot did for our chocolate truffles, red velvet cupcakes and the rest of our chocolate goodies bag was absolute food 911 … the perfect pairing! We went back a second time and a third, each time greeted by Amanda’s welcoming smile and pouring skills. After raving about how much we loved the Merlot, Amanda did the unthinkable … she invited us aboard a 2-hour wine cruise to set sail on San Francisco Bay the very next evening. And yes, there was going to be more fabulous bottled grape from the Kelly Family Vineyards on board! Needless to say, Amanda had us at “all aboard!”
Now, it’s Sunday evening (September 13th, 2015) at Pier 39’s Gate I (as in IGLOO) and Mindy and Troy from Oishii Moments are being led onto this really quaint and homey cruise boat along with 30 or so other guests. We were greeted by Amanda and the owners of Kelly Family Vineyards, Gene and Paula Kelly, and welcomed aboard by Captain Kevin McDowell and his lovely wife Melissa.
Their warm hospitality immediately made us feel right at home aboard their vessel the “Wine Therapy.” Captain Kevin pointed out all the safety gear (kind of like when you board an airplane), gave us the itinerary and told us to hold on! With that, we were on our way to seeing San Francisco Bay from the best vantage point possible … ON THE BAY!!
We’ll speed things up a bit by simply saying … you’ve gotta do it! We had a blast! Let’s get back to wine for a second … on top of the rich red Merlot that we first tried at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival, Kelly Family Vineyards had that and two other wines on board. They introduced us to their Sauvignon Blanc, a delicious fruity white, and a really fun newcomer, simply named, Napa Valley Red Wine. We loved all of them and they paired so well with the cheese, veggie and mini shrimp and chicken kabob platters … not to mention the crispy french bread, crackers and mini cupcakes!
The Sauvignon Blanc was crisp and light and went well with the kabobs since they were seafood and chicken. The Merlot was that rich-and-ready wine we loved early on and it paired perfectly with the various cheeses. But, the winner for the “fun and surprising award” that evening was Kelly Family Vineyards’ other wine, simply named Napa Valley Red Wine. It is actually a blend of Cabernet and Merlot grapes and really is fun and totally unpretentious. Both of us agree, as long as you like the flavor of grapes, you are bound to love this wine. No wine tasting classes or new French vocabulary needed, it’s just fun, fruity and outright delicious. Wine snobs and the rest of us alike will love it. You’ve gotta try some!
The next two hours saw a San Francisco Sunday turn from foggy twilight to dusk as Captain Kevin and first mate Melissa showed us all around San Francisco Bay. From Pier 39 to below the Golden Gate Bridge, from Alcatraz Island to AT&T Park and the Ferry Building, the “Wine Therapy” cruised us passed sight after sight of San Francisco’s best ocean-based views! By the way, we had a great time sitting inside and staying cozy and warm by the food and the wine. But, we also mustered the nerve to venture outside of the cabin for a little wind, wave and ocean spray. Unbeatable views and there’s just something about feeling the ocean air biting at your face and blowing through your hair to make you feel alive!
Thanks so much Amanda, Kelly and Paula for inviting us on such a fabulous wine tasting cruise. You’ve left us with memories to last a lifetime! And thanks as well to Captain Kevin and Melissa for showing us all the sights in comfort and style … best boating experience ever!
Almost forgot … tip of the day … if you’re prone to suffer a bit from ocean queasinessdon’t forget to ask Melissa for some seasickness bands. You just wear them around your wrists and the specially-placed beads exert pressure upon the “Nei Kuan” position just below the inside part of the wrist. It’s a well-known acupressure point that, when continually pressed upon, relieves the sufferer from the effects of seasickness, nausea and morning sickness.
For more information on Kelly Family Vineyards and WineTasting on the Bay please visit the following websites: