Cabernet Sauvignon fans take heed because the 2018 Vineyard to Vintner (also known as V2V), Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District’s annual celebration, is all set for the last weekend in April. This is the 20th year for this very popular Food and Wine Weekend and the tickets are selling fast. Saturday of that weekend offers a passport-style Open House event at wineries throughout the district and on Sunday the wineries all gather at Regusci Winery for a Farm-to-Table lunch which includes a sneak preview of the upcoming 2015 vintage release.
On April 28, from 10 am to 4 pm on April 28, you can enjoy Open House celebrations at any of sixteen Stags Leap District 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. Although over 80% of the grapevines here are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, we have found plenty of other stellar wines in the area. Some of our favorites at prior Vineyard to Vintner (v2v) events were the Taylor Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Pine Ridge Vineyards Le Petit Clos Chardonnay, Regusci Winery Mary’s Cuvée Chardonnay, Malk Family Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir, Chimney Rock Winery Cabernet Franc, Clos Du Val Cabernet Franc, Stags’ Leap Winery Twelve Falls Red Wine Blend and Steltzner Vineyards Malbec.
The 2018 Vineyard to Vintner District-wide event will provide 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.
2018 Vineyard to Vintner Backstage Open Houses
The most popular event of the 2018 Vineyard to Vintner (V2V) weekend is bound to be the “Back-Stage Open Houses Pass” good at up to 16 premium wineries on April 28. You can begin at the starting point of your choice and then explore the other Open Houses along the Silverado Trail at your 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 Back-Stage program here but some of the special experiences this year include:
- Baldacci Family Vineyards–See for yourself the impact of aging wines when you compare and contrast two vintages of Baldacci’s Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon (2010 and 2014) from their Stags Leap District vineyard. Private Chef Pete Coleman will once again be pairing bites to go with the wines, and he’ll have locally raised pork and lamb as ingredients.
- Chimney Rock Winery– The winemaking team of Elizabeth Vianna and Laura Orozco will be sharing their wines at this “Roaring Twenties” themed Open House. Delectable bites will be served up by Creative Palate Works and tours of the estate will be offered hourly (from 10 am to 2 pm).
- Cliff Lede Vineyards– Experience the debut of Cliff Lede’s latest rock block Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2015 Moon Fantasy (sourced from their Dear Mr. Fantasy and Dark Side of the Moon vineyard blocks). Guests here can enjoy seasonal Hors d’Oeuvres and wood-fired pizzas, tastes of a library vintage of the winery’s flagship Poetry wine, and live music from solo guitarist Alec Fuhrman.
- Clos Du Val – Arrive before noon and you can start your day with Crepes from French Corner in the winery’s beloved Olive Grove. Then, learn about the winery’s 46-year history with Director of Operations Jon-Mark Chappellet and Assistant Winemaker Mabel Ojeda as they share current releases as well as some coveted wines from the library.
- Ilsley Vineyards– They’re only open once a year, so come and sample the Ilsley Cabernet Sauvignon and Seis Primas wines at this small, limited production family winery. Chef Ron Stainer will once again prepare Savory Sliders and Seis Primas Cookies (which you’re going to want the recipe for).
- Lindstrom Wines – Vintners Carol and Greg Lindstrom will welcome you to their stunning vineyard and tasting venue overlooking the Stags Leap Palisade. Return visitors will be happy to hear that once again, you can enjoy Paella from Gerard’s Paella paired with the Lindstrom Estate Cabernet crafted by Celia Welch.
- 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 28. Fresh berries, cave-aged cheeses and a South African-style Barbecue will accompany the wines.
- Pine Ridge Vineyards– Meet winemaker Michael Beaulac and Assistant Winemaker Mike Conversano in Cellar 47 as they celebrate the winery’s 40th anniversary in the Stags Leap District. Wines include the 2014 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon, and a barrel sample of the 2016 vintage.
- Silverado Vineyards– Come enjoy the view from Silverado’s Fountain Terrace, where you can enjoy lawn games or just sit back and listen to sounds from DJ Matteo. Taste the winery’s current releases and award-winning small bites from the GrilledCheezGuy Food Truck. 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 at 10:30, 12:00 or 1:00, 707-259-6644).
- Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars – The FAY Vineyard is where the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars story began, so 2018 Vineyard to Vintner visitors can help celebrate 25 years of FAY Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Taste a library vintage of FAY Cabernet Sauvignon and enjoy the sweeping view of the vineyard from the new North Patio of the Fay Outlook and Visitor Center. Open House visitors are welcome 10 am to 4 pm on the 28th, although you should arrive between noon and 3 pm if you would like to enjoy gourmet bites to pair with the wine and live entertainment.
- Steltzner Vineyards– Join founder Richard Steltzner, second generation vintner Allison Steltzner and winemaker Bob Pepi poolside as they pour Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec wines from the 2015 vintage. Live fire cooking and seasonally inspired salads from Chef Gio Guerrera will pair beautifully with your wine tastes.
2018 Vineyard to Vintner Lunch and Appellation Collection Tasting
On April 29, 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 2015 Stags Leap District Appellation Collection (which isn’t scheduled for an official release until October 15, 2018). There will even be a band offering live entertainment.
Some of our personal favorites from last year’s Appellation Collection were the:
- Chimney Rock 2014 Ganymeade Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
- Clos Du Val 2014 SLD Cabernet Sauvignon
- Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2014 FAY Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
- Steltzner Vineyards 2014 SLD 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) Chimney Rock, Pine Ridge Vineyards, Silverado Vineyards and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars which are offering V2V visitors complimentary tastings on Sunday afternoon.
2018 Vineyard to Vintner Tickets
If you are interested in being part of the 2018 Vineyard to Vintner weekend, we encourage you to purchase your Passes here quickly as this event sells out. The “Backstage Pass” for the Saturday Open Houses is $195 per person, and you are free to travel among the 16 participating wineries. If you want to attend the Sunday Lunch and Appellation Collection Tasting, a 2-Day Package Pass for both the Saturday Open Houses and the Sunday Lunch is $340 per person. Tickets for the Vintner to Vintner Lunch are not sold separately.
The Stags Leap District Winegrowers are grateful that the district was spared in the 2017 wildfires, and will be donating 5% of every Open House ticket purchased for the 2018 Vineyard to Vintner to the Napa Valley Community Foundation for ongoing fire relief efforts.
2018 Vineyard to Vintner: Information About the District
The Stags Leap District has been growing grapes since the mid-1800’s, although the first Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines weren’t planted until 1961, by Nathan Fay. In 1976, the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon took first place at the famous “Judgment of Paris,” surpassing Bordeaux wines. This brought much attention to Napa Valley and the Stags Leap area. The unofficial but very popular reason for the name of the region arises from the legend of a stag who successfully eluded hunters by leaping to freedom across the District’s landmark peaks.
We are really looking forward to the 2018 Vineyard to Vintner (V2V) weekend because V2V is one of our favorite Napa Valley events, and we highly recommend it to Cabernet Sauvignon Fans. If you are looking for more information on the appellation, and our personal recommendations for nearby restaurants and/or lodging, please go here. We recommend over a dozen restaurants in nearby Yountville, and there are two establishments offering Happy Hours currently: Brix (Tues – Sun, 4-6 pm) and Lucy (Mon- Thur, 4:30-6:30 pm). Depending on your interest, you can also follow the drop-down menus on the navigation bar above to see our Favorites By Wine Region for other areas in the Napa Valley (or Sonoma, Mendocino, Santa Barbara, etc.).