It’s easy to take for granted our proximity to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, where some of the world’s best wine is made, and where people travel from all over the globe to sample the area’s treasures. If you haven’t ventured north recently, this is a great time to explore. The weather is nearly perfect (but then again, it almost always is in Northern California) and the summer crowds bring out the showmanship in your wine country hosts. But with more than 600 wineries throughout Napa and Sonoma, creating an itinerary can be daunting. You can simply hit the road and take your chances (though some high-end boutique wineries require reservations) or, let us guide you to some of our favorites.
These are a few of the wines that we at the Dana Green Team dream about. Book a visit – each of these wineries provides a great guest experience – or look for these at your local wine merchant and enjoy them in the comfort of your home where you can entertain your friends with these insights:
Alpha Omega Rose – Alpha Omega’s philanthropic owners Robin and Michelle Baggett are also the owners of Tolosa Wines in San Luis Obispo, where Robin played college baseball and is a member of the Cal Poly Athletic Hall of Fame. Cal Poly’s baseball stadium is named after him!
Bernardus Chardonnay – We venture to Carmel for this one – another amazing wine territory that deserves exploration. This well-priced chardonnay can often be found at Costco, but treat yourself to a tasting room visit in the Carmel Valley to truly experience its magic. If you’re feeling indulgent, book at stay at nearby Bernardus Lodge, formerly of the same ownership group as the winery.
Frank Family Chardonnay – Proprietor Rich Frank is a former Disney executive; he served as Chairman of Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications and was President of Walt Disney Studios, overseeing the development of The Disney Channel, before dedicating himself to wine. His beautiful wife Leslie Miller is a former ABC7 reporter in Los Angeles, and is now host of “MORE One Life to Live” and “MORE All My Children” for The Online Network.
Hall Napa Valley: all the Cabernets – As much an art museum as winery, Hall is the home of the enormous silver rabbit sculpture that leaps skyward along Highway 29. “Bunny Foo Foo,” as he’s named by proprietor Kathryn Walt Hall, shows his sense of humor when he’s decked-out for various holidays in festive gear.
Patz & Hall Chardonnay – Winemaker James Hall (no relation to the other winemaking Halls) and sales manager Donald Patz bonded over their shared enthusiasm for rich and compelling wines while working together at Flora Springs Winery and Vineyards. They joined with Anne Moses and Heather Patz in 1988 to establish Patz & Hall.
Rombauer Zinfandel – What can we say that you don’t already know about this luscious wine? With aromas of blackberry, boysenberry and sweet vanilla, Rombauer Zin tastes like a freshly baked pie, of which one piece will simply not do. Yum!
Walt Blue Jay Pinot – Walt Wines, based in Sonoma’s beautiful Alexander Valley, produces beautiful small lot wines and is owned by Kathryn Walt Hall and Craig Hall of the previously mentioned Hall Napa Valley. In fact, Walt wines are made in the state-of-the-art winemaking facilities at Hall. Kathryn Hall is proud to follow in the footsteps of her parents, Bob and Dolores Walt, who were dedicated winegrowers.