Family vacations are great. I love spending time with people I care about and creating new memories with them. I don’t like going to a winery and being six months away from being 21.

We drove to Napa Valley to see a beautiful castle in the middle of a vineyard. The castle was designed to look European. It really did feel like we drove from San Francisco into the middle of Tuscany.

San Francisco was very dry. The grass was yellow, there weren’t many trees – but when we arrived in Napa, there was a major change.

Everything was green and full of life. There were farms left and right with grapevines everywhere we looked. There were trees and bushes all around us. I was excited to get there and to explore.

Unfortunately, we weren’t actually in Tuscany. If we were, I would have been able to drink some delicious wine made from grapes grown in the shadow of a castle.

When we arrived, I saw a cat. That was great. I love cats. Then we checked in to get our reservations. The hostess asked who the adults were. My family all told me to raise my hand. I am an adult, technically. But they meant who was 21 and who the babies were.

Of course I couldn’t lie. They would check my ID and would see that I was close, but not close enough. I got a pink ticket while the “adults” got blue tickets. That indicates who got to have the nectar of the gods and who got grape juice. I got grape juice.

We had a tour of the beautiful vineyard castle and went through the caves below to try the wine. Our tour guide was nice. When he took my pink “young adult” ticket, he laughed and said, “You must be thrilled to be here.”

I replied, “Yeah, I turn 21 in six months so this is great.”

I was pretty bitter for the first part of the tour, but after awhile of being in the caves I started to loosen up and taken in the beauty of the castle and effort that goes into the wine made there.

Overall, I do not recommend going to a vineyard or a wine tasting tour if you aren’t 21. It was torture not being able to drink with the “adults” when you are one. It sucks being served a tiny plastic cup of grape juice while the “adults” are served glass after glass of artfully crafted wines.

But at the same time, it was a nice experience. The castle was beautiful and full of interesting details. Learning how the wine was made was interesting. Learning about how to keep and store wine properly was insightful. And seeing the architecture of the caves was breathtaking.

If anything, going on this tour gave me a leg up on my peers. When I turn 21, I’ll know how to store my wine properly, red wine in the bottom of a closet to keep a consistent light, temperature, and movement, and white wine wherever (it’s not as high maintenance as red wine). I will know all about dry, sweet, and fruity (sweet and fruity are very different things!).

I do think that I will go back to a winery or vineyard some day, but definitely not before I turn 21.