Thursday, November 20, 2008


I'm a traveler, not a wine drinker, but that didn't stop the Diva and I from taking a girl's getaway to Northern California, all the way up to wine country. Sarge knew that we'd be drinking -- too much, he said -- so he hired a limo for the trip.

Just to get us in a relaxed mood, we booked a couple nights at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. The first thing I did was get a synchronized treatment; that's a rhythmic massage performed in tandem by not one, but two therapists. Heaven. That's all I can say.

The next day, our driver was waiting to take us to the only Black-owned winery in California, Rideau Vineyard. Iris Rideau, the owner, is of Creole heritage and her decor really captured that New Orleans feel. They even gave us Mardi Gras beads.

Now, the rules for wine-tasting are: see, swirl, sip, sniff and swallow; however, we did not know that, so we created our own rules of swig and spit in the pretty brass bucket they provide. The Diva is so creative. The staff at Rideau, though, were very patient with us novices. After they cleaned out the brass bucket, they explained that in order to not get drunk, you swirl, sip, sniff, swallow and then pour the remainder of your wine out. Live and learn . . . isn't that what life's all about?

Anyway, long story short, by the 6th or 7th winery that day, we were swiffing, snirling, nipping and wallowing in our wine. You get the picture.

Our driver, who also drives for Oprah when she's on the west coast (Boy, did he have stories), drove us past Oprah's home in Montecito. Couldn't see a thing but the gate to her mansion. She is well-hidden by the shrubbery, and well-liked by the townspeople.

On our final day, the limo took us back home, but not before we stopped at the Camarillo outlets for a little shopping, then stopped for lunch on the beach in Ventura.

The pic above is post-swig and spit.

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