I may have spent most of my life living in Napa, and a significant portion of the time I wasn’t actually living in the 94559 visiting family and friends in Napa, but last April was the second time I’ve been wine tasting in Napa. Ever.
Therefore I can’t really give you much in the realm of, “Oh, you should go to such-and-such a place!” and rattle off a list and their relative locations on Silverado Trail.
Doesn’t mean I didn’t go to wineries, or hang out at places that later became wineries. For instance, I categorically deny that those are my initials carved into the stone of the iconic Regusci Winery. Any circles with an X in them on that barn also have nothing to do with my best friend at the time and I having a fascination with the X-Files. [/shiftyeyes]
Most families in town have been buying their table wine from the same place for generations. My family? That’s the Wooden Valley Winery. Never been to a tasting there. Drink a LOT of their wine, though. Good stuff.
If you were at the Mumm tasting room in early April, however, you’d know which party was mine. All the other groups of people were sipping their bubbly and looking at the hills and the vines and the beauty… and I’m watching the dude on the bulldozer consolidate the twenty foot tall pruning burn pile and cheering every time they poured more diesel on the fire.
That’s how I roll.
A couple days later found me traveling up Mt. Veeder to visit the Hess Collection winery and art exhibit. This isn’t “Oh, a couple pictures, maybe a sculpture” which some wineries have lying about, this is essentially a modern art museum with a collection to rival any other museum in the world. Works are rotated in and out frequently. I liked the melted rocks and the stick circle thingie and the typewriter that’s on fire. They make a tasty Gewürztraminer, too, a bottle of which is waiting in my Oregon fridge for the housewarming party I keep threatening to throw.
Since my experience with the actual individual wineries beyond these is limited, I would like to end this post with some general tips:
1) Get off the trail and Hwy 29 as much as possible, especially during the busy summer and harvest months. People drive like woah crazy, and there are some true gems tucked back in the hills.
2) Don’t drive like woah crazy. Silverado Trail and Hwy 29 both turn into two-lane, twisty turny roads the farther you get upvalley, and you don’t want your fun trip ruined by an accident.
3) Designate a driver. I say unto you again, DESIGNATE A DRIVER. “Oh, I can have a couple glasses and still drive–”
4) Those little roads off of Hwy 29 and Silverado Trail with no signs? Are probably someone’s driveway. Don’t be a jerk and drive up them, don’t be a total jerk and drive up them and park and start poking around, and don’t get your name in the running for Douchebag of the Year by parking so as to block those driveways.
This is part of a series of posts I wrote about my recent trip to the ol’ family homestead in Napa. Previous posts in this series are: