Napa Cellars: Classic Regional Style Recently purchased by the Trinchero family, Napa Cellars is delivering a modern update to the flavors made famous in Napa. BY TOURING & TASTING
Photos courtesy of Napa Cellars
A view of the outdoor seating area at Napa Cellars.
“ Quite fittingly, 1968 was also the year that the Napa Valley was granted the status of agricultural preserve, protecting it from becoming a residential community.”
It seems only fitting that a winery by the name of Napa Cellars should embody the sense of place for which the famed Napa Valley is known. Every day in the winery's tasting room, guests discover great wines in a friendly setting that celebrates the Napa Valley legacy.
Founded in 1968, Napa Cellars crafts wines that express the characteristics that have become widely recognized as the classic Napa Valley style: ripe, rich, and balanced. Quite fittingly, 1968 was also the year that the Napa Valley was granted the status of agricultural preserve, protecting it from becoming a residential community. Its founder, Charlie R. Woods, built a geodesic dome on the five and one-half acre property to store barreled wine and concentrated on making Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and other red wines. Through the years, the winery changed hands several times before it was purchased in 2006 by the Trinchero family, who was drawn to Napa Cellars’ luscious, authentic wines and coveted Oakville location. In 2007, they invited their own Winemaker Joe Shirley to become head winemaker for Napa Cellars.
Since 2007, Joe has gently guided the fruit for Napa Cellars wines, which all comes from Napa Valley vineyards, to its fullest potential. "I really try to work with the fruit in a balanced and respectful way," Joe says. "I don’t try to put a big winemaker signature on the wines. It’s just more about allowing the fruit to show through first and foremost." He uses winemaking techniques to frame, or put into context, the wine that he’s making. For example, he has introduced French oak to the Chardonnay barrel aging program for a more balanced and contemporary style of wine.
Joe’s gentle touch has led to a stunning lineup of wines that are routinely lauded and recommended by the press. The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, aged in stainless steel, won a Gold medal for Best California Sauvignon Blanc from The Fifty Best Magazine. Sourced from a variety of vineyards from the southern end of the Valley all the way up to St. Helena, it’s a crisp wine with a fresh, bright, varietal character. The 2013 Chardonnay is consistently recommended as a classic Napa Valley Chardonnay that pairs perfectly with roasted chicken and baked salmon. Grapes from St. Helena, Oakville, Rutherford, and Oak Knoll are sourced for the Napa Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2012 vintage is full bodied and complex in the approachable style for which the region is known.
The inviting tasting room sits alongside St. Helena Highway, surrounded by picturesque Oakville vineyards. It’s open daily to all—no advance appointments or reservations are required. This is important to the tasting room staff, who want guests to walk in and feel instantly welcome. At Napa Cellars, there’s an unmistakable energy inspired by the wines and the people who pour them. Many guests bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy on the patio after their tasting. They’re encouraged to hang around awhile so they can thoroughly absorb the friendly vibe and the very special sense of place that’s the heart and soul of the Napa Valley.
What to Buy '13 Chardonnay - $22
Spice, apple crisp, pear, lemon, hint of pineapple