A Weekend in California Wine Country and the Scoop on Organic Grapes

Posted on 10 Aug 2015 in FRESH, travel | 11 comments

We grow like the vines, suspended in time, gaining deep roots, learning our true nature. The greatest pieces of each of us lie in our commitment to that growth and desire to let our paths unfold in a way that is clear and true, not elegant and perfect– although ultimately the universe makes it so.

Recently I turned the big 2-9, which is not yet the big 3-0, but I’m still feeling like this will be a big year. A ton has happened (see previous posts) and I feel like I may be entering in to that phase of life where I’m truly coming in to my own. Welcoming new experiences and people, stressing about what I’m going to “be” when I grow up, but knowing that I’m getting closer and closer and in the meantime finding contentment in the present moment, the experiences I’m so grateful to have while also embracing the unknown.

I love wine country so when Wyatt asked me where I wanted to go for my birthday it was an easy choice. This trip was absolutely amazing, and Wyatt and I had a truly incredible time, it felt like we were much farther than 1.5 hours from home. We tried tons of great wine, didn’t spit much of it out ( or really any for that matter) and got to reconnect with each other in the beautiful setting of vines and rolling hills. Having visited a lot of wineries throughout America and France I was so pleasantly surprised by the selection of wineries in Napa and Calistoga. The vines are perfect but not all white with spray and the hills (see Long Island wineries, gross) are lush and gorgeous. Here’s a recap of the trip in photos.


The Sites: 


First stop, Public Market in Napa. Had to eat at Ca’Momi, the amazing pizza place I’d tried the weekend before during Wanderlust Squaw Valley. The pizza is so good and seemed like a great chose before starting tastings.


Super cute little shops really reminded me of Chelsea Market (I miss you!!) with a wine country twist. Loved this little home store full of eclectic housewares and fun books like this one, obviously an important read for every foodie!


Irresistible little cookies in huge mason jars. Love, Love, Love.


 Wineries we Visited and The Scoop with Organic Wines

We loved the first winery we stopped at in Napa called Frog’s Leap. They had such amazing wines and even better, a gorgeous garden full of every veggie you can imagine, so freakin’ awesome! We visited this winery because it was on the list of organic wineries in the area so of course I asked the tasting staff a whole bunch of questions about what that really means; Are there no pesticides? Are the grapes grown differently? What’s the deal with sulfites? I was really intrigued and surprised by the answer, here’s what they have to say:

‘Believing that a grapevine should be grown in healthy soil that supports all the nutrient needs of the plant, Frog’s Leap has been farming organically since 1988. We also believe that most of the great and historic wines of the world have been made from non-irrigated grapevines, and to that end Frog’s Leap farms all of its vineyards without irrigation.

We adhere to the premise that the greatest wines are those that most truly reflect their soil, climate and circumstance (collectively referred to as “terroir”), and that it is the winemaker’s role to simply stand back and let the natural beauty of the grapes show through.

We don’t make great wine, we grow it.’ –Frog’s Leap

Super cool, right? Totally. But, here’s the tricky part. Almost all wines contain sulfites, a sulfur compound used to increase shelf life, stop yeast from growing and kill bacteria in the wine. Sulfites also bring out the pigments in wine and make red wines redder. In the U.S. organic wines must be both grown organically an also have no added sulfites, while in the Europe the distinction means that the grapes are grown organically but may or may not have added sulfites. So, are sulfites really bad for you? In small quantities no, however, more and more sulfur is being added to processed foods, so limiting intake of those foods and drinking organic wines is recommended to not overdo it. A small percent of people (appx. 5%) are very sensitive and need to avoid sulfites at all costs.

Should you buy organic wine?

The basic answer-Yes. Whenever possible. On top of sulfites, the other problem with non-organic wines is the prevalence of toxic chemicals, fungicides and pesticides that can wreak havoc on health. Pinot Noir drinkers should be especially cautious as this varietal is very difficult to grow without the use of pesticides.



The living room at Frog’s Leap


Holy garlic!


Had to get a selfie in this gorgeous room


Our final stop was Mumm Napa for some amazing tasty sparkling wines and views to die for!


The Food


The ‘too pretty to eat’ beet salad ever at SolBar


Veggie breakfast skillet with poached eggs from SolBar Calistoga


Our cute little corner table with a view at Calistoga Kitchen. Amazing food with sweet local charm. I had fresh hand made pasta and Wyatt had slow cooked pork ribs that had been cooking all day on-site. The chef came out to talk to each table, creating a really great vibe!

Solage Resort and Spa Calistoga


This pool was ok…;) (photo via Solage Instagram)


Solage provides each room with their own bikes for the duration of the stay. We got some bike riding in to Lava Vine, a neighboring winery and also a bit farther to Envy Wines. Both were lovely and the ride over was completely awesome!


The spa pools were incredible with private men’s and ladies areas for clothing optional bathing and steaming. I also had an amazing mud bath style treatment with a twist. I watched my mud be handmade and chose an aromatherapy oil to go in it. Next, I went in to a private sauna when the mud was applied and allowed to set for 20 minutes and then rinsed off completely. Step two, I was led to a private bath and soaked for another 20 minutes. The room was so airy and bright, heaven! Finally, I got to lay in a 0 gravity chair (what!?) and put headphones on and almost instantly fell asleep. Afterwards, my skin was super soft and smooth and felt incredibly refreshed. Highly recommend this treatment if you go.


Solage is all about fitness, with a full gym on-site and a yoga studio we were able to work off a few of the million calories we ate and drank each day.

wine bike

Cruisin’ thru the vines


Solage is such an amazing mix of hip, classy and laid back we absolutely enjoyed our time there. Pure luxury and they’ve literally thought of everything!


  1. Cami Bonavita / August 10th, 2015 15:19

    so good! Loved the pics!

  2. Celsea Novotny Jenkins / August 10th, 2015 16:42

    Thanks Cam!

  3. Sasha Nelson / August 10th, 2015 18:03

    you so pretty.

  4. Carri Uranga / August 10th, 2015 18:39

    I was thinking about sulpha untruths lately when Chris came across a food science article addressing the topic. I’ll try to find it.

  5. Celsea Novotny Jenkins / August 10th, 2015 18:43

    I’d love to read more Carri, it’s an interesting topic for sure!

  6. Derry Voorhees / August 10th, 2015 19:52

    This was enjoyable! Looks like so much fun, and I love the leaping frog logo. Favorite organic wines to suggest?

  7. Kari Bryan / August 11th, 2015 2:46

    Wow…great post, cels!

  8. Amanda Meeson / August 11th, 2015 11:53

    awesome post Cels – I love how adventurous you and Wyatt are xo

  9. Celsea Novotny Jenkins / August 11th, 2015 20:09

    Thanks Amanda, we have a pretty good time 😉

  10. Celsea Novotny Jenkins / August 11th, 2015 20:10

    More awesome info thanks to Carri Uranga, check out the list at the bottom Derry Voorhees http://www.thekitchn.com/the-truth-about-sulfites-in-wine-myths-of-red-wine-headaches-100878