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20 minutes ago, Buc in Exile said:

 I have no employees - it's just me and my wife - :shock:

 So I'm not getting bachelorette parties  :kicksrock: :sadbanana:

 

 

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The first two posts are from Drunken cowboy and Drunken knight.  Usernames are on point!   

Just finished up at Alpha Omega. Had a great flight. Our host totally tailored our tasting to our taste preferences.  Dinner reservations at Angele. 

been in the biz a long time.  it's been a while since i've been to napa.  that being said, i find the huge producers tastings tedious and not very fun.  i'm just headed to bed.  i'll add more tomorrow

50 minutes ago, Buc in Exile said:

I love it - but there are some caveats to my answer.  I do things very differently than most.  I have no employees - it's just me and my wife - and you won't find my wines in shops or restaurants (even prior to COVID).  My business is 100% private seated tastings by appointment and I only take 1 group at a time.  So I'm not getting tour buses or bachelorette parties - I'm getting people that love wine and want to spend time getting to know the folks actually doing all the work in a more relaxed setting.  We view all of this as relationship building with each customer.  It works because I'm making so few cases that I carry very little inventory - most of what I make sells out the same year or soon thereafter.  We want to keep this way of operating going long term, so we have what I call a "theoretical max" on the volume I'd ever produce (about twice the case count I'm currently making) and I'd cap production at that point.

If I were a traditional winery (as would operate in non-COVID times) with regular hours and having to deal with issues of distribution and mass market sales, I would probably throw myself off a bridge.

 

Not yet...

😉

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6 hours ago, Buc in Exile said:

I love it - but there are some caveats to my answer.  I do things very differently than most.  I have no employees - it's just me and my wife - and you won't find my wines in shops or restaurants (even prior to COVID).  My business is 100% private seated tastings by appointment and I only take 1 group at a time.  So I'm not getting tour buses or bachelorette parties - I'm getting people that love wine and want to spend time getting to know the folks actually doing all the work in a more relaxed setting.  We view all of this as relationship building with each customer.  It works because I'm making so few cases that I carry very little inventory - most of what I make sells out the same year or soon thereafter.  We want to keep this way of operating going long term, so we have what I call a "theoretical max" on the volume I'd ever produce (about twice the case count I'm currently making) and I'd cap production at that point.

If I were a traditional winery (as would operate in non-COVID times) with regular hours and having to deal with issues of distribution and mass market sales, I would probably throw myself off a bridge.

 

Let me know when you're ready to hire someone. Maybe I'll move just to learn it all. You can pay me in wine, so long as you ignore my walking around muttering this under my breath all day.

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1 hour ago, ConstruxBoy said:

Sounds like he wants a bunch of us to show up at his place in a tour bus dressed as bachelorettes...

A bunch of FBGs doing that would be epic.  But my wife is big on social media promotion so if some pictures make their way to the winery's FB/Insta feeds, don't say I didn't warn you.  😉

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23 minutes ago, Drunken Cowboy said:

There has been talk of a big post COVID cornhole

"So you're going to a winery in Oregon...with a bunch of guys you met on the Internet...dressed as a bachelorette...?"

 

*Speed dials divorce lawyer*

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41 minutes ago, ConstruxBoy said:

"So you're going to a winery in Oregon...with a bunch of guys you met on the Internet...dressed as a bachelorette...?"

 

*Speed dials divorce lawyer*

I mean nobody said it would turn into a dancing bear routine.  Yet.

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Anyone here ever been to Frank Family Vineyards?  The only reason I ask is that it's my family surname so I think it would be cool to visit even though there's absolutely no family relation that I know of.

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2 hours ago, ConstruxBoy said:

"So you're going to a winery in Oregon...with a bunch of guys you met on the Internet...dressed as a bachelorette...?"

 

*Speed dials divorce lawyer*

I cut down trees, I skip and jump
I like to press wild flowers
I put on women's clothing and hang around in bars

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  • 2 weeks later...

I put this together on short notice. I am sipping some morning bubbles at Domaine Carneros. We are hitting up a bunch of recommendations over the next couple of days. A few I wanted to try were booked up, but I think we have a great itinerary. Thanks for all the great suggestions. Extra thanks to @Drunken knight, @Quint and @Krista4. 

 

I will post some highlights. 

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44 minutes ago, Drunken Cowboy said:

I put this together on short notice. I am sipping some morning bubbles at Domaine Carneros. We are hitting up a bunch of recommendations over the next couple of days. A few I wanted to try were booked up, but I think we have a great itinerary. Thanks for all the great suggestions. Extra thanks to @Drunken knight, @Quint and @Krista4. 

 

I will post some highlights. 

If you head further west let me know... I am running around a bit, but might be able to break away at some point.

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I'm booked for July staying 5 nights split between Napa and Yountville.  Haven't really decided what makes sense to plan for wine visits or how really to budget that time, when to get a driver, etc.  It's a little overwhelming I'm working off the list here and seeing where it makes sense geographically.    

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1 hour ago, culdeus said:

I'm booked for July staying 5 nights split between Napa and Yountville.  Haven't really decided what makes sense to plan for wine visits or how really to budget that time, when to get a driver, etc.  It's a little overwhelming I'm working off the list here and seeing where it makes sense geographically.    

What kind if tastings are you looking for?

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2 hours ago, Drunken Cowboy said:

I put this together on short notice. I am sipping some morning bubbles at Domaine Carneros. We are hitting up a bunch of recommendations over the next couple of days. A few I wanted to try were booked up, but I think we have a great itinerary. Thanks for all the great suggestions. Extra thanks to @Drunken knight, @Quint and @Krista4. 

 

I will post some highlights. 

If you go to Schramsberg, see if you can get Jesus as your "wine guide," and if you go to Darioush, get Brendan.  Tell them you are a friend of Krista & Devin and that we sent you.  Just last week I wrote glowing emails to Schramsberg and Darioush about these two guys, so I know they'll remember us as I've heard from both of them this week to thank me.  (They might also remember me as the person who bought all the wine, at least at Schramsberg.)  And if you are in the hospitality industry, drop that fact casually at Schramsberg and they give you 20% off any wine you buy.

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12 minutes ago, krista4 said:

If you go to Schramsberg, see if you can get Jesus as your "wine guide," and if you go to Darioush, get Brendan.  Tell them you are a friend of Krista & Devin and that we sent you.  Just last week I wrote glowing emails to Schramsberg and Darioush about these two guys, so I know they'll remember us as I've heard from both of them this week to thank me.  (They might also remember me as the person who bought all the wine, at least at Schramsberg.)  And if you are in the hospitality industry, drop that fact casually at Schramsberg and they give you 20% off any wine you buy.

Darioush tomorrow for by invitation only tasting. Excited!

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3 hours ago, culdeus said:

I'm booked for July staying 5 nights split between Napa and Yountville.  Haven't really decided what makes sense to plan for wine visits or how really to budget that time, when to get a driver, etc.  It's a little overwhelming I'm working off the list here and seeing where it makes sense geographically.    

Seriously. Have a plan would be my only advice and book stuff out. There is so much there, if you are hitting 3 good spots a day you have done well.

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6 minutes ago, The General said:

Seriously. Have a plan would be my only advice and book stuff out. There is so much there, if you are hitting 3 good spots a day you have done well.

Good advice. We have 4 things booked today, but all are shorter experiences and we have a driver.

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On 4/22/2021 at 12:46 PM, Buc in Exile said:

I love it - but there are some caveats to my answer.  I do things very differently than most.  I have no employees - it's just me and my wife - and you won't find my wines in shops or restaurants (even prior to COVID).  My business is 100% private seated tastings by appointment and I only take 1 group at a time.  So I'm not getting tour buses or bachelorette parties - I'm getting people that love wine and want to spend time getting to know the folks actually doing all the work in a more relaxed setting.  We view all of this as relationship building with each customer.  It works because I'm making so few cases that I carry very little inventory - most of what I make sells out the same year or soon thereafter.  We want to keep this way of operating going long term, so we have what I call a "theoretical max" on the volume I'd ever produce (about twice the case count I'm currently making) and I'd cap production at that point.

If I were a traditional winery (as would operate in non-COVID times) with regular hours and having to deal with issues of distribution and mass market sales, I would probably throw myself off a bridge.

 

I'll have to come check out your place!  We're in the process of moving from Marin County to Eugene, and my parents are up right near you in Sherwood.

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2 hours ago, Drunken Cowboy said:

Darioush tomorrow for by invitation only tasting. Excited!

they frown on climbing the stacks of barrels downstairs.....and don't 'swim' in the fountain.  hth

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3 minutes ago, DA RAIDERS said:

they frown on climbing the stacks of barrels downstairs.....and don't 'swim' in the fountain.  hth

I probably wouldn't climb the barrels, but drunk enough a swim in the fountain might sound fun.

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1 hour ago, DA RAIDERS said:

they frown on climbing the stacks of barrels downstairs.....and don't 'swim' in the fountain.  hth

What if I just take a leak in it?

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3 hours ago, Drunken Cowboy said:

What kind if tastings are you looking for?

Honestly looking for more setting based experiences with food pairings than just going and tasting 6 glasses of wine and GTFO.  Places where it makes sense to hike around for views etc.  

I'm into wine but I don't drink nearly as much as I used to so I'm willing to spend more to get a better wine when I do.  Mostly reds.  

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19 minutes ago, culdeus said:

Honestly looking for more setting based experiences with food pairings than just going and tasting 6 glasses of wine and GTFO.  Places where it makes sense to hike around for views etc.  

I'm into wine but I don't drink nearly as much as I used to so I'm willing to spend more to get a better wine when I do.  Mostly reds.  

I will post a review tomorrow, but the Darioush tasting I am doing sounds up your alley. 

 

I would book early,  these do seem to go fast in the current world 

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Thefethen with a solid tasting.  Our server is in a fantasy league with our driver. He gave us a few extra pours. It was a good time. The highs were lower than Peju, but no bad wines. 

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2 hours ago, SFBayDuck said:

I'll have to come check out your place!  We're in the process of moving from Marin County to Eugene, and my parents are up right near you in Sherwood.

Would love to meet you - just give me a shout when you're settled in!

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1 hour ago, culdeus said:

Honestly looking for more setting based experiences with food pairings than just going and tasting 6 glasses of wine and GTFO.  Places where it makes sense to hike around for views etc.  

I'm into wine but I don't drink nearly as much as I used to so I'm willing to spend more to get a better wine when I do.  Mostly reds.  

You might want to try the "Bubble and Bites" tasting at Domaine Carneros.  I think their sparkling is decent - nowhere near the level of Schramsberg, but good - but the tasting we did that paired bubblies with Mexican bites was really cool.  It looks like they're still doing this one, though I know they change the cuisine for the pairing sometimes. 

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5 minutes ago, Drunken Cowboy said:

Just finished up at Alpha Omega. Had a great flight. Our host totally tailored our tasting to our taste preferences. 

Dinner reservations at Angele. 

Wow, you're having a fantastic day.  So envious!

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2 hours ago, Drunken Cowboy said:

Thefethen with a solid tasting.  Our server is in a fantasy league with our driver. He gave us a few extra pours. It was a good time. The highs were lower than Peju, but no bad wines. 

Hit both of those on my time out there. Was with a major Thefethren buyer so we got a great reception with several different Halo vintages. A really great time in which I apparently tried playing the piano they have there with no formal, or informal, training in the instrument. 

But even given all that, Peju was very cool in a chill way and almost better. 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/21/2021 at 10:36 PM, Buc in Exile said:

I might be the Oregon winery guy you're thinking of as @Quintand I have collaborated in some other wine threads here.  He's obviously well dialed in on all things Napa/Sonoma.  On the other hand, if you want a more laid back vibe but super fun and much less pricey, come see us in the Willamette Valley.

Where are you? My wife and I go to Willamette every Memorial Day weekend for our anniversary. With 20 friends. 

 

ETA: jumped the gun saw your post later in thread. 

If you'd do a tasting for a large group like ours, I would love to get our tour leaders (We go with Mark and Helen at Cellar Door every year) to put you down on the list. We usually do 3 wineries over the course of one day so we can relax, ask questions, and learn about the wine. Our crew is usually ~50% super interested and ~50% politely along for the ride and the environment. May be a struggle on size, right now Helen is splitting us into 4 groups and coordinating different tastings while we cross our fingers that the 6-person limit at least becomes 8, or that the fact that we can verify all 21 people have been fully vaccinated may impact something by the big day.

Edited by Instinctive
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Sorry if some these are Honda's, I didn't read the entire thread:

Barnett is excellent for Cab/Chard but several types of wines available. Although "Rattlesnake" cab has kind of a cult following, they have many wines $30-$80. Excellent tasting venue outside a cave, overlooking Napa Valley from a couple thousand feet above. Appt required. Located in Spring District above St. Helena not to far from Fisher (see next one).

Fisher is excellent for Cab/Chard. Appt only but it's really just a formality. Located On Spring Mtn on West side of Napa in northern part of Napa valley near St Helena. 

Failla has excellent Pinot Noir/Chard. Tasting in a cave. Appt needed but just call.  Located near Rombauer on Silverado Trail N.

Frank Family on the floor of Napa Valley is very good but they have several tasting "bars" so a little less intimate from the others. Appt suggested.

Tasting hosts at these are all very friendly.

 

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, The General said:

Seriously. Have a plan would be my only advice and book stuff out. There is so much there, if you are hitting 3 good spots a day you have done well.

Want to reinforce this...many years ago we would just stop-in many along the drive...you really start losing your palate after 3-4 good tastings per day.

Edited by Phil Elliott
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1 hour ago, Phil Elliott said:

Want to reinforce this...many years ago we would just stop-in any many...you really start losing your palate after 3-4 good tastings per day.

By the 4th tasting, we were pretty drunk yesterday. 

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4 hours ago, Instinctive said:

Where are you? My wife and I go to Willamette every Memorial Day weekend for our anniversary. With 20 friends. 

 

ETA: jumped the gun saw your post later in thread. 

If you'd do a tasting for a large group like ours, I would love to get our tour leaders (We go with Mark and Helen at Cellar Door every year) to put you down on the list. We usually do 3 wineries over the course of one day so we can relax, ask questions, and learn about the wine. Our crew is usually ~50% super interested and ~50% politely along for the ride and the environment. May be a struggle on size, right now Helen is splitting us into 4 groups and coordinating different tastings while we cross our fingers that the 6-person limit at least becomes 8, or that the fact that we can verify all 21 people have been fully vaccinated may impact something by the big day.

PM sent.

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49 minutes ago, Drunken Cowboy said:

By the 4th tasting, we were pretty drunk yesterday. 

You're tasting at 1 and 2. You're drinking at 3 and 4.

NTTAWWT

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I was somewhere between those 2 stages when my friends and I visited Quint at Enkidu. 

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Morning at Shadybrook. GF went for a ride around the vineyards. We did their perfect pairing. It is an excellent cheese board. I really nice relaxed wine tasting. Very friendly hosts. I liked the Rapp Chardonnay. The Shadybrook Cab was excellent. 

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Jarvis was a really cool your and great wine. Uber from there ended up being a problem. Some wonderful people we met drove us to Darioush,  but we missed the tour. We made it fir the tasting and pairing. It was really good too. I really liked there pinot.

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On 5/6/2021 at 12:50 PM, krista4 said:

If you go to Schramsberg, see if you can get Jesus as your "wine guide," and if you go to Darioush, get Brendan.  Tell them you are a friend of Krista & Devin and that we sent you.  Just last week I wrote glowing emails to Schramsberg and Darioush about these two guys, so I know they'll remember us as I've heard from both of them this week to thank me.  (They might also remember me as the person who bought all the wine, at least at Schramsberg.)  And if you are in the hospitality industry, drop that fact casually at Schramsberg and they give you 20% off any wine you buy.

Our guy at Darioush was Kelly. 

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It's a bit of a PITA to get the hotel situation right.  Staying at the Candlelight for 2 nights then moving to the Aliala for 3.  I'd like to find something in Yount for the first two nights but they are mostly 3 night min on weekends.  Only one left that would book is Villagio at The Estate Yountville which gets pretty bad reviews.

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On 4/21/2021 at 9:52 PM, Quint said:

i'm up at Repris (Moon Mountain District) right above Sonoma Valley. 

for drivers, here's a short list: 

Private Wine Drivers - (Ryan McGorry)
Noble Wine Tours - (Austin Noble)
Eclectic Tour - (Darren Schauer)
Rose Wine Tours - (Luke Rose)
Perry's Wine Tours - (Paul Perry)

Wanted to give additional recommendation to the bolded. Ryan was booked, but he still worked to try and find us a driver.

 

We went with Luke. He was a great driver. I would highly recommend him.

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On 4/22/2021 at 8:21 AM, Godsbrother said:

If you find yourself in Russian River and you like craft beer you must visit Russian River Brewery, it is a mecca for us beer geeks.  The pizza is also top-notch.   I can't recommend this place enough.

Saturday was planned for some hiking, but we ended up at the brewery for lunch and a a big beer flight.

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I've been doing some research.  I think potentially something that I might attempt is to have a driver take us from St. Helena up Howell Mountain, then up Spring Mountain in either the AM/PM with lunch somewhere in there.  I would probably stop at 3-4 spots in the PM, but avoid a full on "blitz".  

General feel is the ones with more elevation have appeal if for no other reason than views/hiking.

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2 hours ago, culdeus said:

I've been doing some research.  I think potentially something that I might attempt is to have a driver take us from St. Helena up Howell Mountain, then up Spring Mountain in either the AM/PM with lunch somewhere in there.  I would probably stop at 3-4 spots in the PM, but avoid a full on "blitz".  

General feel is the ones with more elevation have appeal if for no other reason than views/hiking.

Pride is a good visit. Probably my favorite merlot. Not sure about hiking around there.

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2 hours ago, culdeus said:

I've been doing some research.  I think potentially something that I might attempt is to have a driver take us from St. Helena up Howell Mountain, then up Spring Mountain in either the AM/PM with lunch somewhere in there.  I would probably stop at 3-4 spots in the PM, but avoid a full on "blitz".  

General feel is the ones with more elevation have appeal if for no other reason than views/hiking.

for Howell Mountain i'd recommend: 

Arkenstone
O'Shaughnessey

for Spring Mountain: 

Match Vineyards
Fantesca Estate Winery
Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery
 

just a reminder: most/all wineries in Napa & Sonoma are by reservation, so trying to get to three or four places in the afternoon on a single day - especially on a weekend - could be a challenge. 

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21 minutes ago, Quint said:

for Howell Mountain i'd recommend: 

Arkenstone
O'Shaughnessey

for Spring Mountain: 

Match Vineyards
Fantesca Estate Winery
Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery
 

just a reminder: most/all wineries in Napa & Sonoma are by reservation, so trying to get to three or four places in the afternoon on a single day - especially on a weekend - could be a challenge. 

Yeah. This is why I want to keep everything close. I don't want to have to reshuffle everything to make the logistics work.  If there are 5 in an area try to capture the best three in order and work down the list.  Otherwise this seems unmanageable

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2 hours ago, Bob Sacamano said:

Pride is a good visit. Probably my favorite merlot. Not sure about hiking around there.

I was thinking even if places didn't have room for tasting if they'd allow us to simply wander around for a bit and jump in the car.

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