Hall Winery St Helena is owned by Craig and Kathryn Hall – Kathryn used to be Ambassador to Austria and Craig has a successful financial business in Texas. In fact he has written several very well-known books about entrepreneurial practices which are available for sale in the tasting room. Although this is a Highway 29 winery on the busy “wine strip” located south of the town of St. Helena, the actual winery is set back quite a ways from the main road so it doesn’t have a “busy” feeling. Pull in the long driveway and pull all the way to the back next to their small tasting room building.
Note the numbers of interesting sculptures and other artworks on the property. One color dominates and that is red. The Hall’s often collect elective and upbeat works of art from artists who are typically not well known. Notice the very interesting purple glass “rain drop” sculptures hanging from the ceiling. Hall Winery is getting ready to start the final phase of one of the most amazing construction projects the Napa Valley will see in which a new winery, tasting room & visitor’s center will be built, to open sometime in 2012. In addition the historical buildings on the grounds are also being restored including the historic Bergfeld stone ghost winery.
Currently much of the grounds for the new winery are somewhat hidden from Highway 29 by large warehouse type buildings as construction of the new winery will be behind these buildings. This new winery will be located even further from Highway 29 thus distancing any outdoor tastings from the noise of the traffic. This complex has been designed by the world famous Frank Gehry, who also designed the undulating Bilbao Museum in Spain and the Walt Disney Center in Los Angeles. Expect great things from this new center! Their current small tasting facility is only temporary until the new winery is built. There are very friendly knowledgeable pourers behind the counter, good conversation and excellent wine all makes for a wonderful visit. You can either stand at the bamboo counter wine bar or enjoy your wine at several tables.
Hall concentrates on growing Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Franc which form what they call The Napa Valley Collection. They own a number of vineyard acres in the valley with their primary vineyards surrounding both this winery in St. Helena (all valley floor land) and their hillside Sacrache Vineyard at their winery in Rutherford. A tasting typically includes a choice from two offerings; their standard wines and their Reserve Wines. We’ve been here several times and during our latest visit we sampled two of their high quality Cabernet Sauvignons under their reserve tasting. You can’t go wrong with either the 2005 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon or the 2005 Bergfeld Cabernet Sauvignon, however the Bergfeld is one of those amazing Cabernet Sauvignons that does no harm to Napa’s Cabernet image. Soft, supple with a layered well rounded mouth feel make this a joy to drink. Notes of cedar and baking spices are well integrated within this wine’s fruit profile. As with some of their high end wines offered at their Rutherford Estate, this wine fit our palate like a glove. There is a reason why when people ask us for our top Napa Cabernet Sauvignon wines, we invariably recommend some of Hall’s upper end Cab’s.
Also check out their popular wine club as many high-end benefits are offered. If you purchase some wine ask for their “Hall Pass” which is a tasting card with either a complimentary tasting or a two for one tasting. Also note Hall winery used to be home of one of the two locations for the old Napa Co-Op and the original winery building here dates from 1885. Before wines became as popular as they are today, vintners used to sell their grapes to the Co-Op and they used to take turns being the winemaker each year. View our review above of their winery in Rutherford including several reviews of the wines.
Note: As of mid July 2009, Hall Winery St. Helena has received the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification, becoming the first winery in California to be distinguished as a Gold certified facility by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Green Building Rating System.
There are a number of requirements a winery must meet before becoming Gold LEED certified including radiant floors (allow for temperature control), solar energy (the cells are located on the top of the barrel cellar and fermentation building), local building materials (most came from within 500 miles of the winery), and water conservation (drought tolerant plants for landscaping and all water used in the vineyards as well as the landscaping is recycled).
During certain times of the year, HALL St. Helena offers complimentary LEED tours. Inquire for details.
In the spirit of being a “green” winery, Hall has is the first Napa winery to install an ECOtality electric charging vehicle station on site. Visit: www.hallwines.com.