New In Napa: August 09

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EstateCave1_LargeWeb.JPGBy Courtney Cochran

Home to some 300 wineries, Napa Valley is the engine that drives California's booming wine industry. It's also a place where history, art, hospitality and a search for perfection collide to produce some of the most compelling products and experiences Wine Country has to offer. Read on for new developments in this "land of plenty" in our own backyard.
Rutherford's "Wine Cathedral" Impresses
Thanks to NapaMan for tipping me off about the recently re-opened Del Dotto Estate Winery and Caves in Rutherford.  The Venetian-inspired winery (complete with towering marble columns, Venetian chandeliers and an altar for "worshipping" wine) is the vision of businessman Dave Del Dotto, whose family traces its roots back to 12th Century Venice. Popular tours in the winery's extensive underground caves have become a top tourist attraction in the valley, though visitors should be advised to leave approximately two hours and expect to pay around $50/person for the experience.

Ghost Winery Comes to Life

It's become something of a fad to buy historic Napa properties (often referred to as "ghost wineries") and resurrect their winemaking legacies. Thus Liparita, a new (yet old) project from Hoopes Vineyard proprietor Spencer Hoopes, who recently purchased the 19th Century winery and has begun producing again under its name. Originally founded in 1881, the winery (then known as La Jota) was the recipient of a gold medal for its Claret at the 1900 Paris Exposition and again four years later at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition. With two newly released Napa Cabernets, we'll soon see if the winery will continue to produce award-winning stuff.

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