When you move abroad, preferences that were once trivial or unimportant become sentimental cravings. One of the biggest adjustments I have faced has been the longing for certain things in Sydney – diving into the ocean at the drop of a hat, the endless vegemite sightings or a big backyard with a swimming pool. An added thirst has been for open space, which is why for me California’s Wine Country was a godsend.
I’m no wine aficionado, but this world-class wine region has hosted countless weekends or day-trips away to bask in the open-space and fresh air. The most alluring time to visit is without a doubt in summer, when the vines are ripe with effervescent jade leaves and green or red grapes. In stark contrast, the sky is a chaste blue and the sun’s rays beam down with casual sovereignty.
With over 400 wineries in this area north of San Francisco, viticulture and wine-making have been synonymous with this province since the mid-19th century. I was once told that the practice of wine tasting should be likened to a complete attack of the senses; from watching as the pourer cascades wine into your goblet, to holding the stem of the glass in your hand as you raise it, smelling the grapes as you swirl it, before tasting the wine as you swallow and finally listening to your neighbors as you critique it.