Wine Tasting In El Dorado

One of my favorite parts about living in Sacramento is when I want to get out for a weekend adventure I don’t have to travel very far. Within in an hour driving distance of my house there are all kinds of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Recently I was introduced to El Dorado wine country for their 2016 Passport Weekend. I know when most people think of Northern California wine it conjures up images of Napa or Sonoma, but I was excited to find what other amazing wines existed outside of these regions. My official photographer, I mean husband, and I braved grey skies and rain sprinkles to taste new wines and take in beautiful views, we were not disappointed.


2016 Passport Weekend

We spent the most amount of our time at C.G. di Arie Vineyard and Winery where we tasted our way through the property. First stop was the patio where we met Elisheva, co-owner of C.G di Arie, and she gave us a brief explanation of the history and types of wines they produce. We were excited to learn they regularly host open house events for wine releases and vineyard tours. I mean, with this view how could we not plan on coming back?


View From the Patio

Why is my glass empty?

After taking in the views we headed inside to meet the winemaker Chaim, who also happens to be the husband of Elisheva. We were challenged to put our palates to the test and identify which eight wines made up their soon-to-be released Onstage Act II blend. Always up for a good challenge my husband and I tasted, chatted with the winemaker (we couldn’t pry any hints about the blend makeup out of him), and submitted our best guesses. People who correctly identify the makeup of the blend win a case, so keep your fingers crossed and if you’re lucky we might share.

Decoding the OnStage Act II Blend
Meeting the maker.
Casting the ballot, may I have one more taste just to be sure?
Barrels of fun at G.G. di Arie

We really enjoyed out experience at Passport Weekend and can’t wait to come back, on our visit we will definitely plan on staying overnight so we can experience more. Haven’t been yet? Plan your getaway here. Have a favorite winery, restaurant, or hotel we should try next time? Let me know in the comments!

Hey Girl Gets Hitched

Over Thanksgiving weekend my husband (still not used to that one) and I got the CD of our wedding photos, I spent the next 3 days staring at them. Usually seeing myself in pictures or video makes my stomach turn, I always think I look weirdly posed and awkward, but I can say with confidence that all of the images from our day captured us perfectly as a couple.

Our wedding was laid back and we broke lots of traditions, including seeing each other before the ceremony and opting out of cake cutting (gasp!), and neither of us felt a twinge of guilt..from beginning to end this party was about us. Long ago when we started the planning phase we identified the key objectives that would guide all decisions for the wedding:

1. Intimate
2. Good food
3. Good wine
4. FUN

As the date crept closer people would ask me “are you stressed?” and were shocked when I shrugged my shoulders and delivered the standard answer of “I just need Shawn to show up, everything else will figure itself out.” Guess what? It did, in the most magical way possible! The ceremony and reception were held outside at a small vineyard in Buellton, CA called Lavender Oak. All of the flowers were purchased from the Solvang farmers market days before and expertly arranged by people who love us very much and have no professional floral arrangement experience. The ceremony was held in what we lovingly referred to as “the pen” that housed a beautiful Oak tree. Upon arrival we had a drink station where guests could choose from red or white wine on tap (yes, seriously best invention ever!). Dinner was catered from a BBQ food truck, bacon cheddar hush puppies is all I’m saying, and then we danced, laughed, and made s’mores (better than an overpriced cake in our opinion). I don’t remember what time everyone left or what time we went to bed, what I do remember is looking around and feeling grateful and lucky to be surrounded by people who love us and reflected that love tenfold throughout the whole ceremony and reception. The wedding was dreamy and magical, but being married to someone who is my biggest supporter, while still challenging me to dream bigger, and is always there when I need to fall apart (or just need a glass of wine) is better than any big party I could ever dream up. Now is where I shut up and let the pictures speak for themselves:

Lavendar Oak

Grab a Glass

WIne on Tap


The Pen

Georgia's Smokehouse food truck
Georgia’s Smokehouse food truck
Our wedding party consisted of the two most beautiful women: my sister and Shawn's daughter.
Our wedding party consisted of the two most beautiful women: my sister and Shawn’s daughter.


all photos by Candia Flynn Photogrpahy