Recently in Napa Category
Harvest Season is a wonderful time of year to visit Napa Valley! Looking to get an inside look into "crush"? Check out our list of upcoming harvest events around Napa Valley
CLICK HERE for list of activities!
When staying in Napa, consider visiting these nearby wineries that are easily accessible to day-trippers. Whether located within city limits or in the hills and winding canyons just further afield, they make great options for those looking to remain down-valley during their Wine Country stay.
When staying in Napa proper - an excellent jumping-off point for exploring the valley, not to mention a city booming with activity thanks to a host of recent improvements - it's easy to explore nearby wineries on the Silverado Trail. Four of our fav Trail producers located just outside the city are detailed below - so you can quickly plan your trip and make the most of your Wine Country time.
By Deirdre Bourdet
Whoever said Napa wineries aren't as friendly or down to earth as those in other places has clearly not been to the right places in Napa. Even before I moved here, I always found Napan tasting rooms welcoming and friendly to everyone with a genuine interest in the wines and the region.
Sequoia Grove is a perfect example, and one of my latest sleeper discoveries even though it's been around since 1978, and housed in a barn on Highway 29 that's 150 years old and surrounded by giant sequoia trees. How I never managed to find my way there before is a complete mystery to me, but I'm very glad I finally made it.
When you think of all the best things about the South, gentle conversation, gracious living, and good food come to mind. Nothing is hurried and everything is savored.
That southern tradition adds an extra element to Wine County exploration when you meet Kathy Glass, of Platypus Tours. She imbues the California past time of wine tasting and winery tours with a little southern accent. When you hear the soft lilt of her Alabama upbringing; you know that hospitality and home cooking will be as much a part of your experience as will talking about terroir and grape varietals.
Kathy's first big career was in the financial sector in New York. While Kathy loved her life in the city, 18 years later she traded in her panty hose and pumps for jeans with a taint of vineyard dust and sneakers. She met and married her husband Don and together they started Platypus Tours, a wine tours company, in 2004. Don, who was always in the food and wine industry, found a bus on eBay that was located in St. Louis. He purchased that bus and drove it back to Napa to begin offering specialized tours to meet growing demand.
Click Here for this helpful summary of Easter Sunday openings for wineries, restaurants, and spas.
The Napa Valley Destination Council!
It's tough for a gal not to get all gushy about Chanel, and for this gal, an auction item including some Chanel, a private jet to Paris and accommodations at the über luxe Hotel Plaza Athénée is about as good as it gets. Add to all this fabulousness a vertical of double magnums from one of Napa's most sought-after new wines and special perks in Par-ee (think fashion show tix and a tour of Coco Chanel's private apartments), and you've got the stuff of wine-loving fashionista fantasy.
Known variously as The American Wine Classic and "the granddaddy of all wine auctions," Auction Napa Valley 2008 went down on June 9th at the lavish Meadowood resort, though the vibe was decidedly more subdued than in previous years. Whether you blame the scaled back fanfare on the tough economic climate, the heat (though it's typically scorching in Napa every year around Auction time) or the recent passing of Napa scion Robert Mondavi, the auction was without a doubt more mellow than usual.
Stop 1 - Alpha Omega
It's fitting that this is the first wine tasting stop on the itinerary given its name. Alpha Omega makes some really good wines. Of particular note is the Proprietary Red which has the smooth yet complexity of a slightly aged Cabernet Sauvignon. The Chardonnay is light and refreshing for any white's fans. Their Late Harvest is just plain delicious, but they are currently out of stock! After tasting, go around back (or front depending on your internal gps) and revel in the gorgeous view of their pool with sprawling vineyards as backdrop.
Tasting Room: 1155 Mee Ln St Helena Hwy; Open daily 11 am - 6pm
Tasting Fees: $10/person
In the ongoing development of downtown Napa into a thriving, walkable destination district befitting the valley that bears its name, many wineries have lately been angling to have a presence among the charming, historic streets - an extension, if you will, of their vineyard experience for the downtown set. One recent example could be found earlier this month when Ceja Vineyards opened the doors to its new Tasting Salon in the heart of town at 1248 First Street (www.cejavineyards.com; 707-226-6445).
Ceja (pronounced SAY-ha), is an excellent local story to begin with - a Latino family-owned winery founded by Amelia, Pedro, Armando and Martha Ceja, who are first generation Mexican-American winegrowers in the Napa and Sonoma valleys. Today, the winery produces more than 10,000 cases of premium-quality wines that include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah, as well as such individual specialties as Vino de Casa Blanco, Vino de Casa Tinto, Dulce Beso Late Harvest White Wine, and a soon-to-be-released Bella Rosa dry Rosé .
The Ceja family of wines can now be enjoyed with the familiar Ceja Family hospitality at their new downtown tasting room, which places guests within arm's reach of their great library of wines, and within an easy walk to the growing list of area attractions that already includes Copia, the beautifully restored Opera House, the River Walk, and the recently opened Oxbow Public Market. There are also several great restaurants and hotels downtown, making Ceja's decision to open a tasting room here as close to a sure bet for success as one can get.
Wineries throughout Napa Valley have got that happy feeling--not just because it's harvest time, which always brings a smile, but because the harvest this season is looking particularly good--as good, in fact, as it's looked in a long long time.
The official (and unofficial) word among vintners is that the 2007 harvest season, which got under way about three weeks ahead of schedule, is shaping up to be the strongest harvest for Napa in at least a decade. This according to early reports in the industry and according to a panel of growers convened by the Napa Valley Grapegrowers.
Though technology has made the process easier, and many hire some of the valley's most prestigious winemakers to help craft exceptional, rather than rustic wines, the homegrown feeling is much the same. Walking into tiny tasting rooms, often run by the family themselves, the air is less of a corporate machine, and more of an extended living room where visitors can casually sip a glass of wine while chatting with the folks who know the wine from the inside, out.