Behind The Butter

Almost Magical

Gosh, this morning in Healdsburg was almost magical. Despite the fact that I think I only slept for 45 minutes last night, it still was such a wonderful morning and I am learning so much!


You know when you are so dead tired that you just can’t sleep? That’s me. Last night I tossed and turned for hours and hours and I honestly don’t know if I ever DID fall asleep. I finally got up and showered around 7:00 and made my way downstairs for breakfast.

They have a WONDERFUL buffet at the hotel for guests and I was so pleased to see healthy options as well! Even though my appetite is rather finicky right now, I loaded up my plate with plain yogurt & granola, a banana, a hard boiled egg, smoked salmon and a slice of bread.


I know by now y’all know I do eat, but I just haven’t eaten very much while I’ve been here. Its totally a combo of NERVES, lack of sleep and jet lag. I picked at this and ate most of the yogurt, the bread (which I smeared with strawberry jam) and a bit of the egg. I didn’t end up eating the smoked salmon. The freshly squeezed grapefruit juice was amazing though as well as the yummy English Breakfast tea! 🙂

And then at 9:00 we all met at the Tasting Room and loaded up into cars to go to the vineyard. Oh my gosh, it was an experience I will NEVER forget. The beauty of peacefulness of Alexander Valley just touched me to the very core and I think I really could spend the rest of my life here! The pictures I took doesn’t do the vineyard justice at all but is rather a brief snapshot of a shard of its beauty captured





We all huddled around Dave Ready, Murphy-Goode’s Rockstar (aka winemaker) as he passionately discussed the ins and outs of viticulture with us. So much goes love goes into these grapes and its definitely captured in Murphy-Goode’s wines. Did you know that Murphy-Goode actually still handpicks ALL their grapes for harvest rather than using machines? I think that alone is a testament to the love that goes into these bottles. I posed the question about organic wine and Dave told me that at Murphy-Goode they aim to use the least amount of “anything” possible on their grapes and practice sustainable farming more than anything, which is great for the environment. Everything, really, is very “green” (no pun intended!) over here and it brings a smile to my face!


After exploring the vineyards, we traveled up the mountain for a panorama view and a taste of some juicy red!

Lunch was back at the Tasting Room and was catered by Bovolo, a chic little Italian restaurant in Healdsburg. I snagged an eggplant panini with pesto, grape tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. Divine!!! On the side was a very tasty quinoa tabbouli!

I ate about half of everything. I promise my appetite shall return shortly!!!
After lunch we headed inside to be “mad scientists” for the afternoon, aka create our own Meritage blends! This was SO fun. I felt like a little kid creating a magical potion or something. My only regret was wearing white!!!!



My special blend didn’t win the spa treatment grand prize but I still liked it! hehehe there’s just always so much to do and learn…its endless!

I’m currently getting ready for my tasting at 3:30! I think a few blog readers are coming (!!!) and also my friend Mike from culinary school. Mike lives and works as a chef in Napa and I’m excited to see him again! After our tasting we have a few hours off and then we are heading over to the Murphy-Goode house (where the future employee will LIVE!!) for dinner. I think I mentioned this before, but I AM taking a LOT of video footage and will be creating a whole movie of my time here! I can’t wait to show it to y’all!

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  • runjen
    July 19, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Just beautiful!!!! Can’t wait to see the video!

  • Deva
    July 19, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Everything looks so gorgeous! Your pictures make me think of how green it must have smelled – fresh!

  • Help Meghan Run
    July 19, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    I can’t wait for the movie! 🙂 Looks like you’re having an amazing time, keep it up!

  • caitlin
    July 19, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    isnt wine country amazing? it definitely made for a romantic honeymoon!!

  • Emily L.
    July 19, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Wow Jenna, that’s so beautiful
    keep up the good work. Just show them who you are, and you’re bound to be hired. You’re so perfect for the job.

  • Courtney (The Hungry Yogini)
    July 19, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    OH my gosh! I am BEYOND excited for this experience you are having!!! And I must admit, slightly jealous….delicious wine, yummy food, and amazing scenery! GORGEOUS!

    Enjoy EVERY second girl, as I know you are!! WHat an amazing opportunity!

    Keepin’ my fingers crossed for ya =)

  • Lori
    July 19, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    That vineyard is stunning!

  • Niki
    July 19, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Sounds amazing! Can’t wait to see the video!

  • ShutupandRun
    July 19, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Wow those colors in the vineyard are stunning…the greens and blues. Sounds like a once in a lifetime experience; glad you are savoring it. Don’t worry about loss of sleep and appetite. You will surely make up for it when you get home.

  • Angharad
    July 19, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Sounds like you are having such a blast. It’s so cool that they make the ‘interview’ process such a wonderful, educational and fun experience. Even those who don’t make it will likely remember the experience forever. Good luck!!

  • Anais
    July 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Looks like you’ve been having a great time! It really does look quite beautiful! Hope you get the job 🙂

  • Candi
    July 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Good luck Jenna! It is beautiful there! I wanted to tell you, I got brave and had my first green monster in honor of your big weekend today. Can’t wait to hear all about the trip!

  • Beth @ CrossBorderCravings
    July 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Oh gosh, it’s BEAUTIFUL out there. So glad things are going well. Hope you get your appetite back soon because that food looks too good to miss!

  • katie s
    July 19, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Looks amazing, Jenna!! Can’t wait for the video… have a GREAT time tonight!!

  • Maria
    July 19, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Wow, amazing pictures!! The vineyard is absolutely gorgeous!

    That breakfast is actually pretty healthy, which is just great! Mmm, and that lunch is just stuffed with so many yummy veggies–awesome tabbouli too 😀

  • Miz
    July 19, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    BEAUTIFUL PICS (and, sadly, all made me crave some wine. and it is already 535 so…. :))

    I actually came by to see if you were going to BlogHer Food?

    if you are would you email me?


    • jenna
      July 19, 2009 at 9:04 pm


      I’m on the waiting list hoping I get a spot!!!!

  • Susan
    July 19, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Wow, everything is absolutely gorgeous. There are a few small vineyards by my cottage that are beautiful, so I can only imagine how Napa would look!!

    I love the look of that lunch. Quinoa tabouli sounds fab! Have fun at the tasting!! 🙂

  • Spotty Prep
    July 19, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    SOOO pretty!! Looks like a ton of fun, and the new blouse looks great 🙂

  • JocelynEatsFresh
    July 19, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    what breathtaking views!!!!!! I’m so glad you are there and livin it up!! Embrace everything that comes at ya! Enjoy the wine tasting 🙂

  • meg
    July 19, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Beautiful pics! Enjoy….looks like you are having a great time!

  • Andee (Runtolive)
    July 19, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to visit there sometime

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope
    July 19, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    So glad that you’re having a great time. Those views are just gorgeous!!! I can’t even imagine how beautiful they are in real life! 🙂

  • Cait (Cait's Plate)
    July 19, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Holy Moly I can’t believe how picturesque it is there!

    Ps – That sammie looks delish 🙂

  • ~C~
    July 19, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    I am so glad you are having a fabulous time in my neck of the woods. It really reminded me how lucky I am to live in Northern California ( I am about 40 minutes from you and 20 minutes from the City)…despite the fact we have no budget :). I love it here and am happy that you are having such a great time.

    Hope the wine tasting was a success!! And “goode” luck on your interview!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Eve
    July 19, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Have fun with the blog readers! It looks like you’re having the most wonderful time, the pictures are stunning!

  • Kelsey
    July 19, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    i’m so excited for you jenna!!! what an experience and i hope you make the final cut :]
    i totally am loving your breakfast and lunch, too!!

  • ashley @ mom of 3 gets healthy
    July 19, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    pictures are gorgeous and it looks like you are having a blast. (learing quite a bit too I would imagine!) have fun!

  • Daria (Summer of the CSAs)
    July 19, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Wow, this looks like an amazing experience! Can’t wait to see the video. 🙂

  • Hallie (Healthy Twists)
    July 19, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Ugh, I hate the “so tired you can’t sleep” feeling. But it’s so awesome that you’re out there having this experience! My boyfriend’s dad made a comment about taking us up to Napa for a weekend, and I SO hope it happens. I’m trying to figure out how to drop subtle hints about wine country until it’s actually planned 😀

  • Jenna
    July 19, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    absolutely stunning!! I’m so happy you get to experience all of this!!! Even if you don’t get the job, this seems like a wonderful experience!!!

  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl))
    July 19, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Looks like you are having an amazing time! Soak it up.. California is a magical place, for sure!

  • brandi
    July 19, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    wow – it is gorgeous!

    I can’t wait to see the video 🙂 have a GREAT rest of the weekend!

  • Jessica
    July 19, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Ohhh that panini looks good. Can I have the other half? LOL.
    Glad you’re having fun!

  • Rebecca
    July 19, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Sounds so amazing! Glad you are having a wonderful time…Btw I love your bag in these pics…may I ask where its from?

  • Tina
    July 19, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    I am soooo jealous!!! Sounds like you are having an AMAZING time!! Your lunch looked so yummy too!! I want to go back to Sonoma NOW!!! Enjoy yourself!! 🙂

  • MarathonVal
    July 19, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    I’m so happy to hear that you are having so much fun, and it really looks like you are enjoying yourself and not stressed, which you SHOULDN’T be – be yourself and that is what they want to see! You rock, keep it up!

  • leslie
    July 19, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    it looks so unbelievably gorgeous out there. totally normal that you would feel nervous and lose some of your appetite – but you have nothing to be nervous about because you are doing wonderfully! keep having a fantastic time!

  • Lori
    July 19, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Jenna, wow great pictures. I have been to Alexander Valley before and you are so right how breathtaking it is out there. Enjoy your time out there which I know you are! It looks like a lot of fun! Can’t wait to hear more about the trip!

  • JB
    July 19, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    eggplant is one of my favorite veggies. that panini looks great! and i know what you mean about sleep. i’ve been getting SUCH bad sleep lately. not fun!

    looking forward to seeing that video footage! 🙂

  • Mrs. Myers @ Eat Move Write
    July 19, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Wow! Thanks for updating us! Sounds amazing. I’m hoping its cooler in NorCal than it is here. We’re sweltering in San Diego. ENJOY!

  • Amanda
    July 19, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Great photos, especially the one of you in front of the vineyard. You really look like you belong there! Good luck!

  • Jessica T.
    July 19, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    I love Healdsburg, it’s so cute and loaded with lovely antique shops. Hotel Healdsburg rooms are fabulous. There’s a farmers market I forget which day. I hope your having a wonderful time. I love your blog!

  • Caroline
    July 20, 2009 at 12:26 am

    Wow, fantastic vineyard shots! That eggplant panini comes in a close second:)

  • Sarah
    July 20, 2009 at 1:15 am

    What pretty pictures! Keep having fun!

  • Amanda
    July 20, 2009 at 2:19 am

    Awe…makes me homesick 🙁 Hope you are having a wonderful time in Northern Cali! Best of luck! Aloha 🙂

  • Christie @ Quit Your Diet
    July 20, 2009 at 5:18 am

    It all looks so beautiful!!

  • Matt (No Meat Athlete)
    July 20, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Blending your own Meritage sounds like a blast! I bet you can learn so much that way.

  • Nicole
    July 20, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Hey Jenna
    Enjoy Healdsburg! I was there in April for a few days (flew into SanFran like you did and crossed the Golden Gate too) Isn’t it absolutely beautiful there?
    Good luck with everything Murphy-Goode!

  • Shannon (The Daily Balance)
    July 20, 2009 at 9:11 am

    what an incredible experience you are having! Can’t wait to see the video!

  • Michal
    July 20, 2009 at 9:16 am

    hi jenna 🙂
    wow it looks so beautiful there I am so glad that you are having such a wonderful time on your trip. It looks like you had fun wine testing!


  • Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats
    July 20, 2009 at 9:51 am

    GORGEOUS photos Jenna – it sounds like you are having a blast out there!!!

  • Kelly
    July 20, 2009 at 10:03 am

    You’re making me remember how much I loved my trip to the Russian River Valley. So beautiful. I have a feeling if you get the job you are not going to want to move back.

  • Whitney
    July 20, 2009 at 10:03 am

    The vineyards are gorgeous! What a lovely time!

  • Stacey
    July 20, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Gah! I can’t wait to see the video! So glad you are having a goode time <—pun intended. Haha 🙂

  • Cuts and Curves
    July 20, 2009 at 10:35 am

    You lead a very exciting life! I’m a tad bit jealous actually

  • Stephanie
    July 20, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I can’t wait to hear whether you get the job!!!

  • Rachel
    July 20, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Wow, what an amazing opportunity! Good(e) luck Jenna! This is totally random, but what kind of bag are you holding in those pictures? I’ve been looking everywhere for one just like that!
    Thanks – and once again, have a wonderful time in California and best of luck!

  • emily
    July 20, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    That’s great that you are having such an amazing time! Thanks for sharing all of the details (down to your prepacked outfits!) with us!

  • Becci L.
    July 20, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Beautiful pictures! It looks like you are having a wonderful time!

    I love your bag in the picture of you outside. Is it vintage?

  • Rebecca
    July 20, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    All your posts make me want to live in California so bad!! It’s so pretty! I really hope you get the job! Can’t wait to see the video!

  • Sarah
    July 20, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Awesome! I can’t wait to see the video 🙂

  • Luv What You Do
    December 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    So fun to see pictures that go along with the words in your books!