After releasing some steam and frustrations on my run, I returned to our AirBnB to find Ariel not only done with the work he was doing. He was showered and ready to roll. I was happy! So I quickly rinsed off, got dressed and we headed out towards Napa to his favorite winery.
We drove through a windy, beautiful countryside road, through a small town before arriving to the Benziger Family Winery. The property was beautiful! He asked if I wanted to take the little grounds tour they offered, I said it would be fun but not sure how much time we had, I know he had a few things up his sleeve for the day and we had also planned on meeting up with one of my friends later so, I opted out. We headed straight towards the tasting room. I looked around as he put his name in, his dad was a wine club member so they hooked us up with a free tasting. Ariel requested a few specific wines, he’s always so specific and a little bit demanding when we taste. It’s kind of nice and I’ve always like what he suggested. The wines we enjoyed here were beautiful. They were smooth and definitely much different than the other wines we had tasted, they were bolder and a little heavier. I learned how eco-friendly this particular vineyard was with their technic. I had a pretty amazing experience, it might be my favorite so far which meant that I signed up for another wine club. Hahaha! We left after a couple of hours with a few bottles each and I also picked up bottle of their olive oil.
After our first wine tasting adventure of the day, Ariel asked me if I wanted to go to their sister winery. Just when this older couple that I met the day before at VML while I was finishing up inside and Ariel was out enjoying the view of the farm, had message us. They had asked us earlier in the morning if we’d want to join them for a tasting at some fancy wine place. I can’t remember the name. We respectfully decline because Ariel looked up the vineyard and called them to ask them what their parts per million ration was. And when he did, they said over it was over 300ppm, Ariel laughed into the phone and looked at me and said, “we’re not drinking that wine, it’s shit.” So I had told them that they should meet up with us later. And now it was later, so I invited the couple to meet us at Imagery. Wine tasting, it’s all about making friends apparently. 😉
I’ve been having a great time, minus the few bumps in the road but I am learning so much from Ariel about wine that I didn’t know before. You see, for a long time, maybe always, almost all California wines have given me a head ache, stomach ache and made me nasally the next day, so I’ve, for the most part, stayed away from them. Ariel is has been teaching me why that is. Just about all wineries, except the bio-dynamic ones that we’ve been visiting, add sulfities and all sorts of other crap to “enchance” the flavor profile of the wine and to make the wine last longer, making their parts per million well over 200. Where as with bio-dynamic the parts per million is usually between 10-40. With no added sulfites aka the thing that a lot of people are allergic too. You can learn a little more about it here if you’d like too.
Anyways, back to our romantic day of wine tasting… as we were sipping some wines at our second and last winery for the day. It was hard to believe that this was the sister winery to Benziger, the flavor profiles were so different, Ariel barely tasted. Meanwhile drunk girl here was like, well shit this is our last stop so pour up! Which is SO NOT Ariel’s style. And just then, the older couple walked through the door. They skipped the wine tasting part and just asked for a glass of what was my favorite so far. They were hilarious and super wasted. I don’t know how they drove.
As I continued wine tasting, we chatted with them as we stood at the wine tasting bar. I chatted with the lady and Ariel with the older man. The lady was funny, she was all, he’s so into you. Claiming she could tell by the way he was looking at me. Which I think is a little funny, I mean I wanted to hear that but I also don’t want to end up with a broken heart after this trip so I did what I do beat and laughed it off.
As the winery closed up shop, we slammed the rest of our wines and parted ways. As the sun was setting, we drove into the cute little town of Glen Ellen, parked along the side of the road and walked into a quaint little restaurant just as they were opening. We sat at the bar part of the restaurant and ordered a vegan pizza and the most amazing cauliflower tahini dish you’ll ever taste! I’d drive up to Napa just for this cauliflower it was AMAZING! I kind of wanted to take one to go but then I’d look like a little piggy. Also, they surprised us with a delicious dessert! So there was no room for seconds. We had just had the most perfect super late lunch to go with the most perfect afternoon!
After our happy hour lunch, I drove us up and over a very windy, dark mountain that took us into Yountville to catch up with a friend of mine at Bottega. Yes, I know, we ate like an hour or so ago, but we hadn’t eaten all day and we were still a little hungry, so shared a pasta dish and a glass of wine. While my friend, who we met up with, enjoyed her own wine and pasta. It was so nice to see my old friend, I hadn’t seen her in a few years, it was also nice to get a friends perspective on Ariel.
Oh and side note: I did forewarn my friend earlier in the day that Ariel did not know my exact age and I had asked her not to reveal it during our visit. So when he excused himself to use the restroom, we chatted and giggled about the situation.
After dinner, we hugged and she told us to walk over to Bouchon for more food, drinks and dessert. I could tell Ariel wasn’t into it but since I know she had her husband (he works at Bouchon) set it up, we had to go. We walked over to Bouchon, through the doors into the filled restaurant and up to the hostess stand. The host greeted us and walked us over to the two best seats at the bar, we had a view of the entire restaurant. It was really nice! Two settings were out for us and I could tell the expect us to order a lot of food.
However, we only ordered wine and I ordered dessert! Ariel was like why are you ordering a non-vegan dessert. And I was all, “um… seriously, we were at Bouchon, that’s what you do.” After I enjoyed ever single bit of the chocolate cake, we headed back to Santa Rosa, it seemed like the longest drive ever because it was super dark and I was beyond exhausted.
When we got back we totally passed out with my kitty in the middle of us.
The next morning, which was Tuesday, the day before Valentine’s Day! I know this may seem like a Valentine’s Day trip, it totally wan’t. The V Day word didn’t even come up. This whole trip happened because I invited him to a tech conference that we were going to hit in SF tomorrow. I had no idea when he asked to go wine tasting for a day or two before hand that we’d do all of this.
But like all good things that must come to an end, we spent our last full day in the Sonoma and Napa region hiking and working hard on some business ideas.
I was excited to hike and even more excited that once again Ariel found the hiking trail for us. We drove back towards Napa, through light fog that covered the road and grassy hills, it was really pretty and kind of romantic. We turned off the main drag and drove down a dirt road, park and got out of the car before he asked me a question I was NOT expecting.
As we walked towards the trail head, he randomly asked me, “what do you think about prenups?” Totally random, right? I said, “I believe in them one hundred percentage and think they are very important to have. Especially after already having gone through a divorce.” He replied, “well their pretty looked down upon in the Persian-Israeli community.” I simply said, “well that doesn’t really effect me now does it. But if I were you, I’d protect your assets and sign one if you ever marry.” And then that was the end of that conversation. Which now thinking back on it, why did he ask me this question? Why did he ask me about Bachelor parties on the way to Mammoth? Why is he trying to go into business with me? Why is he trying to buy property with me? I mean, there’s no way he was thinking that “this” was going to turn into something, right? I mean, we don’t even kiss. He doesn’t even ever pay for my half of anything, we are always 50/50. If he cared more or was trying to woo me, would he pay or try to make out? I mean, I think it’s pretty clear we are both using each other for good company, right?
I did what I do best – I ran away from my feelings. I didn’t want to have a conversation or ask him why he was asking me any of this because I am so use to getting hurt any time I ask a guy what this is or exactly what he means and I just didn’t feel like I’d be setting myself up for failure right there at that moment. I continued walking towards the trail head, pulled out my phone and started taking photos of him in the luscious green forrest that we were hiking through. It was so nice to get and be with nature. Enjoy the fresh morning air while hiking through the dew that covered the trail. Again, another super romantic thing that was making me fall a little more for My Little Prince of Bel Air.
After our nice long hike, we headed back to town, stopped at Whole Foods to get blueberry muffins. Once we returned back to our place, we worked on some business ideas that we’d been talking about. We worked for a few hours. Then we talked about an up coming ski trip that we were also planning for the upcoming weekend. Yes, I know – another trip! This trip took some time for me to get him on board though. He had been planning on going to Europe during this next week for a week or two to meet with friends and to attend a carnival he’s been trying to go to for years. We talked about going together but he had mentioned that he wanted to see a few girls there, which hurt me a little so I mentioned that I would have wanted to make it into a ski trip and go skiing in the Alps with some French guys I know. At which point, he got annoyed and decided that we’d stay in the states and take a dream ski trip that I’ve been wanting to take for years now. Yes, I played a game on him and yes it worked. Am I evil, maybe.
We spent the rest of the afternoon booking that ski trip (Snowbird/Alta, Jackson Hole and Sun Valley – I was so happy that this dream was finally coming true!) and looking up all the vendors that were going to be at the conference the next day. While I made notes on what we should do at the conference, Ariel opened a nice bottle of wine and made dinner for us. We spent the whole night Netflix and chilling.
Traveling like this with him, has been amazing. I am growing every day as he tests my patience. Learning how to communicate better, how and why I react the way I do and figuring out who to channel and work through my first insists of emotions. The only problem is that the more time I spend with him, the more I like him, which is usually not the case when I spend a lot of time with a guy. I’m usually looking at the clock wondering if time can move any faster, but with Ariel, I feel like time doesn’t really matter. Time can go as slow or as quickly as it wants to and I don’t really care because I truly enjoy every moment with him. Even the frustrating moments and that is what scares me the most!