Cabernet Sauvignon fans take heed because the Stags Leap District’s annual celebration, the 2017 Vineyard to Vintner (V2V), is all set for April 28-30. It’s not too late to buy a passport to Winery Open Houses on Saturday or a Buffet Lunch on Sunday which includes a comprehensive peek at upcoming 2014 releases. There are also a few tickets left to an exclusive Library Wine Dinner on Friday night to help start your weekend right.
From 10 am to 4 pm on April 29 you can enjoy Open Houses at fifteen wineries including historic properties such as Chimney Rock Winery, Clos Du Val, Pine Ridge Vineyards, Shafer Vineyards, Silverado Vineyards and Stags’ Leap Winery. This is also a rare chance to visit wineries only open to the public once a year (during V2V) such as Ilsley Vineyards, Lindstrom Wines and Malk Family Vineyards.
The internationally famous Stags Leap District produces Cabernet Sauvignon wines critically acclaimed for their lush fruit and soft tannins with complex layers of flavor. However, there are also plenty of stellar non-Cabernet-Sauvignon wines in the area. Some of our favorites at last year’s Vineyard to Vintner were the Malk Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Taylor Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Pine Ridge Vineyards Le Petit Clos Chardonnay, Chimney Rock Winery Cabernet Franc, Clos Du Val Cabernet Franc and Steltzner Vineyards Malbec.
This District-wide event offers everyone a chance to explore winery caves, savor special barrel tastings, and enjoy food and wine pairings not available to the general public. Keep reading and we’ll give you some more details about this fun and enjoyable weekend.
Vineyard to Vintner: Library Wine Dinner
Your Vineyard to Vintner weekend could begin on Friday, April 28, with an extraordinary food and wine experience at Clos Du Val winery. Five Stags Leap District wineries (Baldacci Family Vineyards, Clos Du Val, Odette Estate Winery, Pine Ridge Vineyards and Taylor Family Vineyards) will share treasures from their cellars at a special dinner limited to only 45 people. Your Chef will be Curtis di Fede, former chef-owner of Oenotri and current chef-owner of Miminashi.
The dinner, from 6:30 pm to 10 pm, is sure to provide an unforgettable night of world class wines and neighborhood hospitality. The Stags Leap District Winegrowers will be providing complimentary shuttle service from Beau Wine Tours for those with reservations at one of their five Yountville hotel partners. Please contact Nancy Bialek at email@example.com for arrangements.
Vineyard to Vintner Backstage Open Houses
The linchpin of Vineyard to Vintner (V2V) weekend is the “Back-Stage Pass” good at up to 16 Open Houses on April 29. Begin at the starting point of your choice and then explore along the Silverado Trail at leisure. Enjoy wines and nibbles as you meet and mingle with winery owners and winemakers (sometimes actually at the owners’ homes). You can find the full program here but some of the special experiences this year include:
- Baldacci Family Vineyards – Test your appellation sensory knowledge with a taste test at the family’s beautiful Red Barn: can you identify the Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon from the three samples? Chef Pete Coleman will be pairing bites to go with the Baldacci Cabernets.
- Chimney Rock Winery – Winemaker and General Manager Elizabeth Vianna and Assistant Winemaker Laura Orozco will be sharing wines from both bottle and barrel. The West African Highlife band performs African and world music dance classics between 10:30 am and 3:30 pm. SMOKE Open Fire Cooking will be firing up treats between noon and 3 pm.
- Cliff Lede Vineyards – Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love with the winery’s 2014 Scarlet Love Cabernet Sauvignon as DJ Jason Lede plays 5 decades of rock favorites for your listening pleasure. Nibbles include passed hors d’oeuvres and wood oven pizzas.
- Ilsley Vineyards – They’re only open once a year, so come and sample the Ilsley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon and Seis Primas wines. Chef Ron Stainer will once again prepare Savory Sliders and Seis Primas Cookies (which we once snagged the recipe for and have made repeatedly for family and friends).
- Malk Family Vineyards – This is the smallest producer in the Stags Leap District, and you will be able to taste their Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon on April 29. Fresh berries, artisan cheeses and a South African Barbecue of Boerewors (farmer’s sausage) will accompany the wines.
- Pine Ridge Vineyards – Meet winemaker Michael Beaulac and Assistant Winemaker Mike Conversano in the estate gardens as you enjoy breathtaking views of the Stags Leap District Palisades. Small bites for guests will be prepared by Winery Chef Susan Lassalette.
- Silverado Vineyards – Come visit Silverado’s rarely open Fountain Terrace, overlooking Diane’s Garden and the majestic Vaca Mountain Range. Taste the winery’s current releases and Cabernets from the Stags Leap District. A very small group of guests will be able to enjoy a barrel sample of the SOLO Cabernet Sauvignon (advance reservations required for SOLO barrel tasting, 707-259-6643).
- Stags’ Leap Winery – The majestic Manor House porch will be open for relaxing and tasting at this historic winery (established in 1893). Winemaker Christophe Paubert will be on hand to pour his newest releases and answer your questions. You can also enjoy delicious wood-fired pizzas from Napa Valley Crust to pair with the wines.
- Steltzner Vineyards – Join founder Richard Steltzner and winemaker Bob Pepi poolside as they pour their 2014 Estate, 2013 Pool Block and 2013 Martini Clone Cabernet Sauvignons. Live fire cooking from Chef Gio Guerrera will include Grilled Steaks and seasonally inspired salads.
- Taylor Family Vineyards – Mingle with the Taylors and other guests at their family home’s deck and in a newly constructed “Treehouse” overlooking their vineyard and the Stags Leap Palisades. Taste a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and several Cabernet Sauvignons paired with a variety of hors d’oeuvres and “Grown-Up” Grilled Cheese Sandwich bites.
Vineyard to Vintner: Lunch and Appellation Collection Tasting
On April 30, Regusci Winery will host a Vintners’ Lunch on their estate property which has been in the family since 1932. A fabulous farm-to-table buffet lunch starts at 11:30 am and features wines (including whites and rosés) from Stags Leap District wineries. After the food, you can be one of the first to taste the upcoming Cabernet Sauvignon portfolio for the region, the 2014 Stags Leap District Appellation Collection (which isn’t scheduled for an official release until October 15, 2017). There will even be a band offering live entertainment.
Some of our personal favorites from last year’s Appellation Collection were:
- Baldacci Family Vineyards 2013 Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon
- Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2013 Fay Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
- Steltzner Vineyards 2013 Martini Clone Cabernet Sauvignon
- Terlato Family Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
If you come to the Lunch on Sunday, the dress is casual but please make sure to wear vineyard-appropriate shoes. Afterwards, you can visit (or revisit) Cliff Lede Vineyards, Pine Ridge Vineyards and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars which are offering V2V visitors complimentary tastings on Sunday afternoon.
Vineyard to Vintner: Tickets
If the above sounds like fun please go here soon to purchase Vineyard to Vintner tickets as they will sell out. Prices are:
- Admission to the Winery Open Houses on Saturday is $195 per person
- A 2-day pass for both the Open Houses on Saturday and the Lunch/Appellation Collection Sneak Preview on Sunday is $340 per person
- A 2-day pass for both the Friday night Vintner-hosted Library Wine Dinner and the Open Houses on Saturday is $545 per person
- A 3-day pass for the Friday night Library Wine Dinner, Saturday Open Houses and Sunday Lunch/Appellation Collection Tasting is $690 per person
Or, if two of you want to just go all-out, a “Signature Wine Weekend for Two” at Vineyard to Vintner is available. For $3,399, you will receive:
- 1 Solle 2-bottle jacquard and leather embossed wine tote
- 2 passes to each event (Library Wine Dinner, Open Houses, Vintner’s Lunch)
- The official Limited Release 2014 Stags Leap District Appellation Collection, of 18 handcrafted 2014 SLD Designated Cabernet Sauvignons, each signed by the SLD Vintners.
After you’ve purchased your tickets, if you want to start planning your route for the Open Houses on Saturday, you can see a map of the Stags Leap District wineries by going here.
Vineyard to Vintner: Stags Leap District
The first viticultural area in the United States to be approved based on the distinctiveness of its soils, Stags Leap District is located on the east side of Napa Valley just north of the city of Napa. The District is bordered on the east by the towering Stags Leap Palisades, to the west by gently rolling hills and the Napa River, to the north by Yountville Cross Road and to the south by low-lying flatlands. Grape growing in the District started back in the mid-1800s and in 1878, Terrill L. Grigsby built Occidental Winery, the region’s first winery (and current home of Regusci Winery).
Stags Leap District Winegrowers is a non-profit association of 17 wineries and 12 grower members whose mission is to enhance the reputation of the appellation and its wines, and share its quality with the wine-loving world. For a brief introduction, you may want to view the video below from WINERAM. This short explores the relationship between a vineyard and its vintner and how the Stags Leap District Winegrowers create “powerful yet uniquely elegant Cabernet Sauvignons.”