Cellar Wine Club – Behind the Vines

“Behind the Vines” and wining and dining our way through Napa and Sonoma was the theme of the inaugural Cordillera Ranch Cellar Club wine trip! Recently launched, the Club boasts approximately 100 Cellar Club Members of which 14 wine-loving aficionados embraced four full days of exclusive behind-the scenes wine tasting, fine dining and vintner education. Hosted and put together by Jeff Cohen, Beverage Manager, and Debbie Pepper, Membership Director, the trip featured exclusive boutique wineries and vineyards most of which are not open to the public.

Leaving from San Francisco on Sunday morning, the group arrived in Napa at noon to begin our trip with three young talented vintners/owners representing Mi Sueno, Cultivar and Frias Family wineries along with a specially catered luncheon. Our welcome reception at the Villagio Hotel & Spa’s V Wine Cellar that evening allowed Members to partake in the art of “champagne sabering” before dinner and more wine. For three consecutive days thereafter we toured three wineries/vineyards per day with stops for a three course lunch daily and fabulous dinners by night.

Trip highlights included the fabulous  Petroni Vineyards where we were hosted by owner Lorenzo Petroni (also owner of the famous North Beach Restaurant in Little Italy, San Francisco). Lorenzo walked us through vineyards, his olive grove and a special insider view of the wine cave he is in the process of building. Highlighted by fabulous wines, Lorenzo treated us to a three course Italian meal poolside at his estate home with Italian “Godfather” music playing in the background. Very, very special! From there we tasted wonderful pinot noirs at Merry Edwards and then another very special vineyard tour and tasting at Corison. Owner Cathy Corison treated us to a selection from her library collection including 2001, 2002 and 2003 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tuesday’s trip included the beautiful mountainside David Arthur Vineyards atop Pritchard Hill where we experienced our first barrel tasting and then lunch at Auberge du Soleil with panoramic views of the valley below. From there, we moved on to Vicki and Tom Celani’s private estate in the Vaca Mountain Range where we tasted the world class wines of Mark Herold. And last we travelled to the wine caves of Failla estate where we tasted extraordinary pinot noirs by reknowned winemaker Ehren Jordan of Turley fame. We ended the evening with dinner
at Chef Michael Chiarello’s renowned
Bottega restaurant.

Our final day on Wednesday began with a lively tasting and shopping spree at Hill Family Estates where owner Ryan Hill treated us to some very special wines and tequila before joining us for lunch at Redd’s next door. The next very special stop was a tour of the exclusive Hestan Vineyards and private residence of Stanley and Helen Cheng where we enjoyed a tasting with winemaker, Jeff Gaffner, and President, Debra Eagle around the estate dining room table. We finished our day at Roy Estates where owner, Shirley Roy, dazzled us with her sincere personality and passion for her wines while we snacked on hors d’oeurves and fabulous wines around her dining room table. Again another very special day ending with our farewell dinner at Press under the stars.

A wonderful and memorable time was had by all and the rumor is the group wants to do a “reunion tour” together next year. So save the date for summer 2013!!

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