Visiting Wine Country pt. 3

Visiting Wine Country pt. 3


This is day 3 of my trip to Wine Country, if you missed the first 2 parts, you can find them here: Visiting Wine Country pt. 1; Visiting Wine Country pt. 2. On this day I travel to Napa Valley. Enjoy!


Today we experienced the first rain of the trip, which was kind of depressing, but it ended up becoming sunny later in the day. Our first stop of the day was BV. We had to run into the welcome center because of the heavy rain. We met our guide for the morning, and she took us into the winemaking facility. We learned some interesting stuff from her about the valley itself. There is a 15-degree difference between northern Napa and southern Napa, and on average it rains about 10’’ more on the western side of Napa versus the eastern side. There are over 60 different soil types in the world, and Napa has 33 of them, furthermore Napa is able to grow just about every varietal of grape there is.  After some background information on Napa valley, Sam showed us around a little bit and told us some basic information on some of the processes that take place in the facility.

Bladder presses are used primarily for white wine so that no grape skin contact takes place to prevent the delicate flavors of the wine from being exposed to harsh and bitter flavors derived from the skins and pits. Bladder presses function by a membrane in the center being inflated. White wines are typically fermented in a closed top fermentation tank, compared to open top fermentation tanks commonly used for red wines, the difference between the two accomodates the different temperature levels required for fermenting white vs. red. After some basic information on the winemaking facility, she told us a bit about the different lines that are made here. BV Napa, Rutherford and the Latour lines are all made here on premise whereas the BV coastal estates is not. Jade Mountain Cabernet as well as the Sterling organic wines are both made here. In August 2010 Rosenblum’s winemaking operation was moved to this property because of the buyout. Sam then proceeded to show us the Flagship room where the Latour label is made. This was truly the highlight of the BV tour; the Latour room was absolutely incredible.

 In 1900 Georges de Latour founded BV and he strove to produce a world-class wine. Over the years the flagship wine won many accolades but eventually needed some revision. At a certain point, several million was invested into the Latour line; it was given its own private facility and state of the art technology, including automatic hourly pumpovers, 3 different fermentation options and special barrel racks used to gently incorporate the lees into the wine on a regular basis.

After a great tour and tasting at BV we traveled just up the road to Beringer. The Beringer campus is strikingly beautiful as you pull up the landscaped drive, past the old historic Rhine house to the welcome center. 

Off in the distance a bit you can see the old winemaking facility that is built into the mountainside. However beautiful the facility was, the tour was lacking in quality. I felt as if we were treated just as any other tourist on any other day (except for our tasting in the Rhine house), perhaps its because the tour program is lacking in complexity, or that the facility we were at just didn’t have that much to offer in terms of guided tours. Whatever the case may be, the Beringer tour was my least favorite of the trip, and thus I found that I took the least amount of notes. The lady who conducted our tour was very nice and knowledgeable; you could tell she has been doing this for a long time. She told us a little bit about the Beringer brothers while she showed us the cave system built into the mountain. 

The brothers came from Germany and first bought the property in Napa in 1875. Fredrick the older brother was a businessman and Jacob the younger brother was the winemaker. When they first started out, Jacob would make the wine, and Fredrick would sell it. They eventually became successful enough to expand their enterprise, and in 1883 Fredrick built his home (now known as the Rhine house). Their winemaking facility was one of the very first gravity fed systems in existence. The tasting that we had was quite nice, and one of the better tastings we participated in on this trip. We had the pleasure of tasting some of their top of the line products, which were delicious!


This concludes day 3, please stay tuned for more.

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