Last month my other half came home one day and said he had a surprise for me. He handed over his debit card, and said, he’d like to purchase the Calistoga Winter in the Wineries passport for me. This, folks, was such a great deal. Through Dec. 6, 2014 through Feb. 8, 2015, this passport could get you into 14 different Tasting Rooms throughout the Calistoga area.
I was ecstatic! I first told him about the passport on December 5th, the exact day I found out about it. 50 Dollars for 14 Tasting Rooms was such a GREAT deal in Napa Valley, pretty much unheard of.
So, the next few weekends I took a few trips out to Calistoga to explore a few wineries. Here’s what I found along the way:
I am honestly surprised that I hadn’t been here before especially knowing what I found once I visited.
Sterling Vineyards has their own, one of a kind, Tramway that takes guests to their estate grounds on higher elevation. As guests walk off the tramway, they are then invited to take their own self paced Wine Tasting journey through different areas of the estate.
It really left an impression on me, and with views like this all around you, what was truly not to love? And if you look, you may just be able to site a familiar winery in the area.
Tank Garage Winery:
You past right by Tank Garage before turning towards Downtown Calistoga. This winery, transformed from an old 1930’s gas station is an one of a kind tasting room. Born and created by two lifelong friends (who also happen to own T-Vine cellars, as well!)
The neat thing about this Winery, and their wines is that each wine is created just once before they move on to creating something else. But, what truly got me were the labels that went along with their wines: Such as the Dive Motel wine shown below.
Laura Michael Wines:
One thing I love about Calistoga wineries is that you can find some amazing boutique wineries where a small family may be behind the scenes working hard at their craft. This was exactly the case at Laura Michael Wines (formerly Zahtila Vineyards.) This two person husband and wife team also just so happens to make incredible wines too.
But, upon our drive into their winery, we had a visitor who just happened to greet us at our vehicle, and also walked us up to the winery, and just so happened to walk us back to our vehicle after we were done:
Rocki, the Winery Dog. They have trained her quite well, and she knows exactly what she’s doing. Even if you’re not a dog fan, this is one of the sweetest ones out there. Be sure to try their Zins, but a few of their cabs may just surprise you.
Lava Vine Winery:
When I think back to my tasting experience here, I laugh. The men behind the counter will definitely have you entertained as they may sing to you or perhaps play a song, leaving a lasting impression.
Madrigal Family Winery:
The thing I absolutely loved about the Passport is that it introduced me to Wineries that I may not have chosen to stop in before, but by the end of the tasting, I had become a huge fan. This was exactly the case at Madrigal Family Winery. A place I’ve driven by tons, but never stopped.
However, after the tasting, and the personal one on one attention they gave, I have become a huge fan. Sit outside in the Patio area, and they will come to you to pour the wine. Now that’s what I call service.
This winery has quite the family history, and has been helping to harvest grapes since the 1930’s until the now owner, Chris (the founder’s grandson!) decided to make his own wine creating his first vintage in 1995. The rest is history!
Castello di Amorosa:
Also known as the Castle. A 20 year dream for Dario Sattui (Yes, owner of V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena!) As you enter the castle, you may just get startled by an animal that might just be running by you. These animals help farm the land all around the winery.
And once inside you can schedule a tour, take in a tasting, or just enjoy the sights and views. But to get inside the castle you must purchase a tasting or tour.
It truly is worth it to come and see this beauty of a winery, and to experience the inside of the Castle grounds.
One of my most low-key Tasting experiences was my stop at Twomey Cellars. They’d pour me a glass of wine then offer for me to walk around the property. I’d sit, walk in the vineyards then return for another pouring, but it was TRULY the best way to taste wine.
It also happened to be where I captured my FAVORITE wine tasting shot ever amongst the February Mustard Greens. Wines that explore different grape varietals beyond Cabernet Sauvignon: Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Tamber Bey Vineyards:
This winery blew me away. Built upon Sundance Ranch, a world class equestrian center. And yes, when you visit, you will see horses.
The tasting room lies in the original clubhouse of the Ranch, and it has been transformed beautifully:
Wines range from Cabernet Sauvignons, to Merlots to Dijon Chardonnays.
I was blown away by the diversity of the wineries found across Calistoga, but the thing I loved the most was how they truly catered to you giving you an one of a kind tasting experiences no matter where you went.
The wide range of wineries truly shows you the diversity within this region, but one thing they all have in common is their ability to make really great tasting wines while showcasing their talents and personalities through their tasting rooms and wineries.