Regusci Winery is family owned and was founded in 1996 – they actually opened to the public in 1998 producing their own high quality estate wines after years selling their grapes to other area wineries. Regusci has been under the same family ownership since 1932; that year, patriarch Gaetano Regusci purchased what was a foreclosed property at the time. For many years he grew corn, hay, walnuts, plums and grapes and grazed cattle along with running a dairy on site. He handed down the ranch to his son Angelo in the 1960’s.
Today Angelo’s son Mike oversees the operations on the 290 acres (continuing the winery that he and his father began). Mike has long been involved with agriculture having founded a vineyard management company in 1985. Today his company manages over 2,000 vineyard acres.
Note the long driveway leading off of the Silverado Trail. Old timers used to drag race their cars down this driveway.
The winery sits on a beautiful piece of property with great views of the Napa Valley through the olive trees; in Spring the scent of mustard surrounds the picnic area.
A visit here feels good. It is like driving back in time to some extent; chickens may be crowing, a wonderful garden offers fresh produce which is sold under the shade of trees in front of the winery and their long driveway certainly puts you off the beaten path.
You drive about 1/2 mile east of Silverado Trail to reach the actual winery which sits at the edge of the Palisade hills just above the valley floor. An old ghost winery (Grigsby-Occidental Winery) is on the property; this hand cut stone building dates from 1878 and is very well preserved. All stone for this building came from the nearby valley floor. This is an extremely photogenic winery. You can still see the old chisel marks from the cutting tools in the stones behind the tasting room counter.
The tasting will vary depending on wines available but always includes their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. One note about the oak aging program here – they strictly use American Oak. A tasting also typically includes Chardonnay and Estate Merlot or their very limited Estate Zinfandel. They make a very nice rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon. It is darker than a normal rosé with good structure and for a wine of this style packs some nicely concentrated flavors. You are in the Stags Leap District – you have to try their Cabernet Sauvignon. They make two versions, one is blended and their 2004 Angelo’s Hillside vintage is 100% varietal.
Their hillside Cabernet Sauvignon is made during only select years where the quality of the “juice” is at the caliber they are looking for. As a result they have only made this wine 4x in the past 9 years. Sometimes you would think American Oak would dominate a wine and in some cases it certainly does, however there are many factors with regards to oak aging, cooper, toast, length of aging time, age of barrel etc…the wine making team at Silver Oak Cellars certainly would have some input about this. This is a very well balanced wine with concentrated flavors including some black cherry.
The friendly staff is very knowledgeable and the winemaker may even stroll in as he did when we visited. As a humorous side note, this is the only winery we’ve ever been to in which we saw about 10 people walk out of the tasting room with beers in their hands! We thought they were tourists but in actuality they were hard core wine drinkers within the wine industry and were actually “washing out their mouths” with some beer (in between tastings) – incredible!
A little fruit and vegetable stands greets visitors near the main entrance to the tasting room. This features locally grown produce (grown on site). Often a variety of citrus will be located here (they produce about 2 tons of citrus each year). Payment for the produce is on an honor system with prices marked above the table.
Note: on Friday, Saturday and Sundays, Regusci Winery requires prior reservations. Also note that if you are in the wine trade, Regusci offers complementary tastings Monday through Friday and the standard 30% discount on current release wine purchases.
Total production of all their wines is about 5000 cases. For more information and to join their wine club, visit: www.regusciwinery.com
NOTE: This review has been identified as needing a major update.