In 2019 we revisited and updated reviews for 250+ Napa Valley based wineries, brands and tasting rooms – continuously updating our existing reviews. Due to all of our revisits and travels seeking Napa Valley around the state of California, the country and internationally, we visited and reviewed only 32 ‘new’ Napa Valley based producers this year (well below our normal). We hope to bump this number up to around 50-60 in 2020.
Our visits to places and spaces outside of the Napa Valley connected to wineries in the Napa Valley numbered around 200.
We also continue to check off our shopping list for sample wines that we purchase, taste and then update and add tasting notes to our existing reviews.
Here are some of our Napa Valley highlights from 2019:
– Visiting the highest vineyard in all of Napa County, Harris Blue Ridge Vineyard – from where we began our day, we drove through 4 counties to reach this site.
– MS Torun Winery
– Touring Cesare & Rosa’s old house in Lodi, his old studio still there, wallpaper hung by Rosa
– Visiting Mike Grgich’s abandoned stone house in small village of Desne, Croatia
– Visiting CHASE Cellar heritage in Ireland
– Visiting the original and abandoned Truchard Winery in Cat Spring Texas
– Visiting Napa Valley wineries in Willamette Valley
– Visiting all 4 Abreu vineyard sites & meeting with Brad
– Visiting Napa Valley wineries in Walla Walla
– Pursuing Bouchaine Vineyards heritage in Wilmington DE
– Visit with 102 year old Napa Valley vineyard owner & WWII vet John (Jack) Tognetti (wines)
– Asia trip – Napa Valley in Korea and Japan
– Visit to Off the Record Bar in DC across from White House, Mira Winery genesis
– *Numerous* trips around the state of California from LA Jolla to Eureka & plenty of points in between pursuing the great Napa Valley
– Several Napa Valley trips to a number of countries in Europe including a monumental 20+ Napa Valley chateau visits in Bordeaux in about 10 days
– Epic Napa Valley trip in South America including Hess Collection’s Bodega Colome (of 200+ outside of Napa Valley visits, this is CLEARLY one of the top highlights so far)
– Visits to all Pat Kuleto owned restaurants in SF
– Revisit with Sjoeblom Cellars
– Visit to the Rutherford Wine Vault
– Visit with LJ Crafted Wines
– Cakebread Cellars pre-opening party and meeting Jack & Dolores
– NVV 75th Party – a ***dream**** event – we’ve never been anywhere in one place where we knew so many people. Thank you. NVV & Charles Johnston, Helena View Johnston for hooking us up!
– The annual Diamond Creek Weekend open house and talking to Boots a few days before she passed
– A party up at Stony Hill – what a beautiful day that was
– Chat with John Shafer few months before passing
– Inspire Napa Valley tasting at Culinary Institute at Copia using wine in part to attract people in the fight against Alzheimer’s
Our annual sabbatical always runs for several months where we escape the terrible winter weather (cold, rain, short days, lack of greenery, winter holidays do NOT do it for us). During this break, we do not think about Napa, write about Napa and take a total disconnect from Napa. Part of December through most of February.
We have to force ourselves to do this every year, otherwise we might risk burnout and that is the enemy of the Napa Wine Project.
AND a shout-out to some of the coolest folks in the valley in absolutely no particular order who we have come in contact with over the years, some we have gotten to know, not nearly enough though: *this is just a tip of the iceberg*:
Peter Thompson, Sandi Belcher & John Arns, Elizabeth Marston, Rebecca Sciandri, Carissa Mondavi, Tim Mondavi, Elise Nerlove, Bob Long x2, Richard Peterson, Gustavo Gonzalez, Jim Dyke, Emil Tedeschi, Lucas Walter, Anthony Perliss, Lore Olds, Aaron Pott, Bobby Chiron, Judy and Len Canatelli, Kathy and Bill Jenkins, John & Ashley Derr, Jaime Araujo, Russell Bevan, Maya Dalla Valle, Paul Roberts, David Harmon, Tracey Reichow, Mark Carter, Josh Peeples, The Robinson Family, Charles Johnston, Helen Keplinger, Daniel Ha, John Kongsgaard, Bob Levy, Matt Zafirovski, Heather Griffin, Armen Vardanyan, Jamie Cegelski, David Stephens & Monica, Bruce Phillips, Dennis Cakebread, Francois Vignaud, Brenae Royal, Lowell Jooste, Katie Simpson, David Duncan, Jo Ann & Tony Truchard, Ryan Knoth, Sid and Naciye Torun, Joel Aiken, Tom Garrett, Graeme & Alex MacDonald, Rich Czapleski, Ryan Keith, Mark Simon, Christina Ballard, Geneviève Janssens, Steve McPherson, Jon Larsen, Grant Long, Austin Robertson, Bill & Dawnine Dyer, John Bonick and Dona Kopol, Steve & Linda Goldfarb, Dan Dexter, Bruce Devlin, Claude Blankiet, Jeff Parady, John Boich, Tatiana Copeland, Stan Boyd, Lamya Malhotra, Marco Gressi, Nick & Tara Bleecher, Ernie Weir, Rory Williams, Julie Johnson, Caroline Shifflet, Trent Ghiringhelli, Robert Foley, Lisa Redmon, Kirk Reid, Jeff and Karen Fontanella, Roy Piper, Jerry and Barbara Sieck, Jon Jones, Mike Henry, Mike Hendry, Joseph George, Peter Heitz, Mike Lamborn, Sam Baxter, Charles and Lili Thomas, Mike Sjoeblom, Margaret Morearty, Sheldon Richards, Steve Distler, Morgan Maureze, Kian Tavakoli, Mike Smith, Dennis Johns, Carole Meredith and Steve Lagier, Robin Lail, Elaine Tedeschi, Brad Warner, Chris Phelps, Ian White, David Yorgensen, Ric Henry, Carmen Policy, Scotti Stark, Massimo Monticelli, Laura Rey, Rosemary Cakebread, Ren Harris & bro Greg, Christian Palmaz, Chuck Custodio, Mike Anderson, Amanda McCrossin, Luc & Jody Morlet, David Mahaffey, Jeff Ames, Michaela Rodeno, Vincent Arroyo, Manuel Gandona, Tom and Lauri Poggi, Claire Weinkauf, Tom Farella, Henri Vandendriessche, John Komes, Jeff Rundquist, Fulton Mather, Ignacio Delgadillo, Bo Barrett, Rolando Herrera, Hugo & Lidia Maldonado, Hugh Davies, Michael & Kiky Parmenter, Brian Nuss, Wesley Steffens, Allan Viader, Petrus Bekker, Bill Hawley, Tuck Beckstoffer, Tor Kenward, Mike Dunn, Eric Gordon, Massimo Di Costanzo, Jean Hoefliger, Richard Mendelson, Philippe Melka, Eric & Philip Titus, Linda Neal, Kisha and Jason Itkin, Emilio Tedeschi, Mario Bazan, Elizabeth Vianna, Ariel Ceja, Mary Rocca, Steve Reynolds, Charles Hendricks, Justin Hunnicutt, James Moss, Tom Altemus, RH Harrison, Paul Woolls, Lars Bjorkman, Dick Grace, Larry Stricker, George Hendry, Kirk Venge, Robert Schermeister, Kelly Fleming, Randle Johnson, Laurie Shelton, Katrina Kirkham, Mario Sculatti, Ron & Sue-Marie Haber, Sharon Harris, Andy Erickson, Allison Steltzner + Sam, Vincent Tofanelli, Tom Celani, George Grodahl, Robert Morey, David DeSante, Christopher Demetre and Nicolette Pruss, Samantha Sheehan, Sean Johnson, Klaus Oestermann, Rafer Caudill, Randy Haykin, Rusty Hinds, Olga Keever, Elizabeth Robertis, Cary Gott, Matt Reid, Bill Tristant, Sylvie Laly, Tom Futo, Jason Esposito, Tina Carpenter, Peter Franus, Timothy Crowe, Alycia Mondavi, Ric Forman, Nils Venge, Michael Quinn, Jeffrey Mathy, Elizabeth Vianello, Mario Tedeschi, Francois Peschon, Stephanie Trotter, Linda Rieff, Juan Mercado, Beth Cook, Lisa Behrens, Cherie Melka, Spencer Hoopes, Patrick McEvoy, Josh Phelps, Jason Lede, Matthew Levy, Ian Fenwick, Chris Cooney, Glen Hugo, Brett Van Emst, Taylor Martin, Julien Fayard, Gary & Pam Jaffe, Doris Seavey, KR Rombauer, Marco Gressi, Alexandra Dale, Barrett Corrigan, Brad Grimes, Stan Teaderman, Vicki Glass, Kurt Niznik, Dick Maher, Darioush Khaledi, Ted Henry, Bruce Prothro, Rory Kandel, Andrew Renda, Scott Palazzo, Angela Stem, Chuck Wagner, Machine Gun Gene Kelly, Perry Clark, Lesley Russell, Jason Chang, Manuel Pires, Skyla Olds, Marc Cohen, Michael Yates, Roy Chapin, Elana Hill, Elizabeth Miller, Tyler Olbres, DJ Warner, Gary Brookman, Heidi Barrett, Chris Kenefick, Brittany Weppler, Francois Vignaud, Maayan Koschitzky, Nick Gislason, Yahell Peralta, Brian Fleury, Christophe Paubert, Prashart Patel, Marketta Fourmeaux, Larry Fairchild, Bart Barthelemy, Bryan Zupon, Tony Coltrin, Kelly Carter, Philip O’Conor, Frank & Angie Mueller, Monty Preiser, Justin Preiser, Jan Zakin, Patrick Smith, Maura Johnson, Jonathan Rivera, Matt Johnson, Lon Gallagher, Ken Givich, Margaret Valenzuela, Bob Morgan, Adam Housley, Kevin McGlynn, Valenti Llagostera, Doug Boeschen, Andrew Hoxsey, Miles MacDonnell, Sam Malhotra, Rod Santos, Katie Leonardini, Lucas Walter, Morgaen Hoxsey, Greg Gorman, Remi Cohen, Aaron Michaelis, Nate Weiss, John Murphy, Laura Ray, Gary Carman, Elizabeth Pressler, Ray Holmes, Kelly Peterson, David Harmon, Tim Nuss, Dennis Johns, Rick Jones, David Bos, Bob Bragg, James Harder, Greg Martin, Dan Petroski, Jill & Steve Matthiason, Paul Franson, Jack Tognetti, Duane Dappen, Garrett Ahnfeldt, Bob Mueller, John & Dona Bonick, ……
And literally a thousand ++++ more 🙂
And to some of those vintners we lost in Napa this year, Boots Brounstein, Basset Brown, Robert Craig, Jay Heminway, Jerre Sears, John Shafer, Paul Maroon, Tom Pelter, Ralph Wermuth, William ‘Van’ Ballentine ….. among others.
Like always, there are **numerous** new Napa Valley tasting rooms and select wineries opening in 2020 – we are aware of most of them, but will resume our work in the world famous Napa Valley & beyond once the weather warms up, we make our way back into the country and winter starts making way for spring.
Ciao for now amigos from tiny Pele Island in Vanuatu.