She stood in silence next to Katie, Finn, and Todd while waiting in line to get the keys to their rental car at the San Francisco airport.
“I just don’t understand why we’re getting a 2014 Ford fucking Explorer,” she muttered under her breath while Todd handed his credit card over to pay for the car. “Why wouldn’t we just get an Audi from Silver Car?”
Todd had worked through the mediocre wifi the entire flight and was less-than-thrilled with having to field questions regarding the car that he knew he’d be driving all weekend. Meanwhile, Katie was on the phone with her mom while Finn scrolled Instagram trying to shield his phone so he wouldn’t get caught looking at the Instagram models on his “Discover” tab.
“Alright,” Todd said with a hint of frustration in his voice. “Let’s go.”
The couple arrived at their bed & breakfast in Yountville just around 10 in the morning and had a busy day ahead of them. Todd and Finn dressed appropriately for the day before they had even left for the airport, but the girls had neglected to think ahead and needed change out of their travel athleisure at the B&B before going even further north to Calistoga.
“Remind me again, Todd,” she yelled from the bathroom. “Why are we going to far north and working our way down? Why don’t we just go somewhere close?”
Todd explained that he had read on Fodor’s that it was the ideal way to see the best of the Napa Valley, but in reality, he was concerned about his blood-alcohol level as their day wore on. By starting in Calistoga before heading to St. Helena and Oakville, the distance he had to drive would work disproportionally with how drunk he’d be, thus lowering the amount of drunk driving he’d have to do; a veteran move the girls or Finn hadn’t taken into consideration.
The bed & breakfast supplied a bottle of champagne with every room they rented out and Katie wasted no time pouring herself a roadie to get the day started while Todd and Finn decided to head outside soak in some fresh air before the drive.
They sat on a bench while Todd explained the shitstorm he faced after following Claire on Instagram.
“Dude,” Todd began. “I don’t know what the fuck I was thinking. I never look at the activity tab. I just lied and said it was a girl I had met with over the phone at work, luckily her account is private so she didn’t see the Derby photos.”
Finn laughed. “Fuck, I didn’t even think of that.”
Checking his watch, Todd wondered what was taking the girls so long. It was only a thirty-minute drive up to Calistoga, but Todd wanted to make the most out of their Saturday in Napa. While realizing their bed & breakfast didn’t have wifi, the front door opened and the girls emerged dressed and ready for the day.
“Soooo, we were talking,” Katie began while Todd and Finn wanted to roll their eyes. “Do we have a reservation for tonight? Caroline told us that she always goes to Duckhorn for a Charcuterie board before going to French Laundry with her parents for dinskis.”
Todd asked, “Isn’t that the place where you have to call, like, three months in advance for a reservation?”
Katie looked at him with disgust. “I mean, yeah, but like, don’t you think people probs cancel? They can obviously fit just four of us.”
Finn had done this song and dance before, so he knew he needed to end the conversation before it even started. “Let’s just call them on our way north,” he said in a hurry while signaling towards the car. The foursome approached the car – the guys in the front, the girls in the back – and they were off.
“Do you remember anything from that wine tasting class we took last year?” she asked Katie. “I don’t remember the difference between ‘dry’ and ‘sweet’ so I’m probs just gonna get hammered.”
At their first vineyard, they talked to the sommelier about the history of wine in the Napa Valley. Todd, trying not to fall asleep, looked over and asked her, “Jesus, when can we taste some of this?”
“I knoooow,” she said behind her oversized sunglasses. “Mama’s thirsty.”
She raised her hand to get his attention and explained that she’s a Pinot Noir drinker, asking if they could try some after their history lesson. Understanding that they clearly cared more about consumption than learning about the wines, he led them to the tasting area where each of the four had a series of glasses in front of them that would be filled one-by-one. In front of each glass sat a piece of paper that said “Notes” at the top, presumably for the tasters to record their thoughts on the particular wines they were tasting.
Glass after glass, they tried several vintages. But by the end of their first flight, she looked at Todd with a large wine-mouthed smile on her face and showed him her notes. It read:
tastes like wine
sour apple juice
Todd laughed before asking the sommelier if they could try some of their champagnes. He knew they had to get going, but they were finally enjoying themselves after a long morning of travel and coordinating.
Looking over at Katie and Finn, Todd said, “Why don’t we drink a little champ here before grabbing a bite at Dean & Deluca in St. Helena?” Finn shrugged before nodding with approval and they confirmed with the sommelier that they’d like to try some more.
While Todd looked at the vineyard’s menu, she reached her hand beneath the table and grabbed his. She rested her head against his shoulder before looking at him and saying, “Wouldn’t this be an amazing location for a rehearsal dinner?” .