Surprise, surprise, surpries! I had another great time in Napa last week. We had cousins in town from Southern California, they came up to Napa for a water polo tournament. They had Friday available to “play” with us, so we met them in the southern part of Napa and started our journey for the day.
Our first stop was at Hagafen Cellars . They are located on the south part of the Silverado Trail. It’s a small family owned winery, Ernie Weir is the current owner and winemaker. He and his wife have owned the winery since 1979. They produce about 6,000 cases each year. Their wines are made in within the Jewish dietary laws. The new winery was built in 2000 and the tasting room, which is designed in a Tuscan style, opened in 2002. When we arrived they had two small vans loaded with guests who were in the middle of a tour and tasting. Even though they were very busy they were able to get us started with sampling their wines. After about 10 minutes the vans left, so we were able to go and sit outside in their very quaint patio with arbor.
Relaxing under the arbor at Hagafen Winery
The next half hour we sent the boys in to gather more wine for us girls. A nice treat. We just spent the time catching up and relaxing. After a bit, George, their outreach manager came and asked us if we wanted a little tour. Larry and I had met George at the Silverado Wine Trails this past winter and again at the most recent Pinot Days in San Francisco. Everything about Hagafen Cellars was lovely. They have very nice and happy people working behind the counter and their wines are good and the place is very comfortable. They also have a winery cat that was doing his job-hunting in the bushes.
Next we went to explore another small family winery in the Howell Mountain area called Pope Valley Winery . This winery is north off the Silverado Trail and to the east into the hills. We went to the winery not ever experiencing this area before. First of all it was about 5-10 degrees warmers up there. There are a few wineries up there but they are spaced far between each other. For sure there are a lot of beautiful winding roads. Ed Haus established Pope Valley Winery in 1897. The winery is a showcase of 19th century winemaking technology; the main building – situated on top of the Haus Creek that meanders through the property so as to conserve usable land – rises three stories against a hillside so as to use gravity to move the wine from stemmer/crusher to press to barrel.
Entrance to the old winery Dog “Gus”
The winery is built into the hillside to create cave-like cool temperatures and higher humidity for the bottom barrel room. We tasted a nice variety of their wines in their little no frills tasting room. Their dog Gus, a brown lab mix, was very sociable and loved for us to throw his ball for him. He had recently been lying in the local river to cool down. For a taste of down home, good wine and friendly service I strongly recommend stopping here.
Our next stop was at Cade Winery . This was a suggestion of Pope Valley Winery. It was just down the road 5-10 minutes. As we were driving up the long driveway to the winery the laborers were just finishing up for the day. When we got to the winery we saw a sign, “by appointment only”. “Oh darn”, we said. But we still meandered towards the tasting room. Once we walked through the opening of the walls protecting the tasting room we were awestruck at the amazing views from there.
Gorgeous views from Cade Winery
We were able to see about 60 miles across most of Napa Valley clear to the East Bay where we could see the tip of Mt. Diablo. They offered nice comfy chairs and a table to just sit outside and look at the views. In front of the view was a large rectangle fountain with an endless waterway. As it turned out they were busy with other guests but they were generous enough to give us a sampling of their Sauvignon Blanc, which reminded Larry and I of what we would have had down in Marlborough, New Zealand. We sat outside in the chairs relaxing for quite a while. This was a nice tease. We definitely need to go back to visit Cade.