I awoke at 5am Friday morning ready to experience California. I threw on a sweatshirt since it was 50 degrees and walked the 50 yards out the back of the hotel to the Monterey Bay. There is a walking trail that I started on that went right along the water.
Looking down into the water I saw a bunch of harbor seals laying on the rocks having their morning conversation with each other. I continued down the trail until I came to the end and there it was in front of me. San Carlos Beach. So what right? San Carlos Beach is where Monterey Bay meets the Pacific Ocean (4th bucket list check). It was so beautiful. I continued my walk through downtown Monterey and ended up doing about a 5-6 mile circle around my hotel. This town was so nice. Clean, friendly, and easy to get around. I arrived back at the hotel around 8am, just in time to meet 2 of my coworkers for breakfast. We finished up our Monterey portion of the trip with an outdoor lunch on the pier with chipotle bacon bloody marys.
Back on the bus we began the 3 hour trip down to the Central Coast. We arrived in Paso Robles mid afternoon at the Wild Horse Winery. As we stepped off the bus we were handed a glass of chardonnay. I did a 360 look of my surroundings and was in awe of the intense beauty. We walked up the sidewalk and were introduced to Clay Brock, General Manager & Director of Winemaking for Wild Horse.
Clay has nearly 30 years of experience in winemaking and is the most soft spoken, likeable men one could ever meet. We took a short walk around the property and fed the vineyard llama some apples. Llama? Yes Floyd the llama is there to protect the sheep from coyotes. Sheep? Yes, the sheep are there to eat the weeds that attract the insects that harm the vineyards. It is sort of its own ecosystem. There is another llama there by the name of Dolly, yes Dolly Llama. She was not quite as friendly as Floyd. So after hanging out with Floyd for a little while we headed to the gun range for a friendly competition of target practice.
My team, Team Get Wet (don’t ask) lost to Team Douche Canoe (again, don’t ask). After getting beat by a bunch of douche canoes we drank some more wine and headed for a tour lead by Clay. This tour was very similar to the one at Estancia but included tasting wine straight from the barrels.
Clay was the perfect host and answered a ton of questions. In the Paso Robles vineyards they grow Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Viognier. We ended our day at Wild Horse with a sunset dinner at the winery that was even better than the previous evening’s meal. Clay sat next to me and we had a memorable conversation over the next hour about things that will never be spoke of again. Sorry folks, I get to keep something for myself. After dinner we headed into town for an evening of bonding and karaoke.
Come back tomorrow for part 3!