The highlight of our second day in Sonoma was a visit with Assunta Pisani, a former colleague of Sharon’s at Stanford who, like her, is now retired and lives nearby in Santa Rosa. Assunta’s sister Maria and her husband Vittorio own and operate VJB Vineyard and Cellars. The vineyard, in nearby Kenwood has been built along the lines of a Tuscan villa and we had a lovely lunch, pizzas of the sort that one normally finds only in Italy, and some fine conversation. Sharon was so taken with their Chardonnay, she and Assunta shared a bottle, that she got a bottle for our daughter and we stocked up on provisions for a light supper that we enjoyed at the end of the day on the patio of our B&B. It was lovely to see Assunta, a charming and literate woman.
Before meeting her we took a very brief walk in Sonoma Valley Regional Park. Sharon has long been limited in walking by chronic arthritis in her foot. Just recently I developed a painful instep, so we did not go far, but I was able to get a couple of nice images of our parched scenery.
Because of our lousy feet, we spent the rest of the day in the car, going across the scenic Trinity Road to Oakville and then ranging up and down Highways 29 and 128, through the Napa Valley.
We have been coming up here for more than forty years, often at this time of year when we were in grad school in LA and then in our early career when we lived in the midwest and came to the Bay Area to visit Sharon’s family for the holidays. So driving along Highway 29 past Beringer, Heitz, Louis Martini, Crug, all the old school wineries, was a taste of nostalgia. We ended up in Geyserville, where Sharon’s family visited first when she was a girl, before heading back to Sonoma for a quiet evening and our picnic supper.
Today, Wednesday, we will be meeting up with my pen mentor, Saul Kitchener and his wife Barbara, and after that, who knows? The joy of free touring.