Just a Few of the VIP Wine Experiences Available
If you’ve attended Garagiste you know what I’m talking about. These are sprouting boutique wineries in our region, where the production is small and the wine cared for like a new born babe every day of its life. Typically these will be private one-on-ones with up and coming winemakers, whose wines I’ve had the pleasure of sampling at the Garagiste Festival. You never know where these tastings might take place- in their garage, kitchen, a custom crush facility, or maybe a secluded outdoor venue. Wherever it is, you’ll be in on the ground floor of something special.
Terry Hoage Vineyards VIP Tasting
Terry Hoage Vineyards offers a VIP tasting experience that starts off with a refreshing white or rosé, a short background and vineyard orientation outside adjacent the tasting room, and then it’s off to the barrel room. Guests’ varietal preferences are noted, and barrel samples are collected via wine thief, shown in the photo. The experience includes library wines, and is finished off by tasting Terry Hoage’s current releases, plus a special savor of wine from the library. Tastings are held for private groups of two to eight at 10 a.m. daily. Cost is $40 per person. 48 hour advance booking required, subject to staff availability
Calcareous Vineyards VIP Tasting
Calcareous Vineyard’s VIP tasting includes a short walking tour through a block of their vineyard, where farming practices are explained, followed by a private tasting in the barrel room. Enjoy pours of current award winning Calcareous wines, plus library wines, and future release vintages. A gourmet cheese and wine enhancing nibble pairing is also included. Group size is four to six, $25 per person. 48 hour advance booking required, subject to staff availability.
Venteux Vineyards VIP Tasting
Venteux Vineyard’s VIP tastings are celebrated in their secluded library room adjacent the barrel room. Library wines, and club wines are the centerpiece of the tasting, enhanced with paired cheeses, fresh or dried fruit, and nuts.
After your tasting, set up your picnic under the pergola just a short walk from the tasting room, overlooking vineyard blocks, and rolling hills dotted with grazing cattle. I provide table cloths and bottled water. Group size is four to six, $25 per person. 48 hour advance booking required, subject to staff availability.
Justin Production Facility Tour
The Justin production facility tour and tasting is super big bang for the buck! After checking in, the guide takes you on a walking tour, explaining in detail Justin Baldwin’s mission to make great wine on the property, which has eight distinct terroirs, and Justin’s groundbreaking winemaking style, resulting in Paso’s first 100 point wine. Tour the working side of the winery while tasting, and see winemaking equipment designed to handle large quantities of fruit, but process it in a manner much like a boutique winery. Tour and taste at the Justin production facility for $20. Tours are 10:00 and 2:30 daily, 1 hour duration, with advance booking required.
Tablas Creek Vineyard Reserve Tasting
Notable for its unique French/California partnership, French-influenced winemaking style, and shared bond to all things Rhone, Tablas Creek offers the special opportunity to taste their most exclusive wines, and selected vintages from their library in a private setting next to the tasting room. Group size is two to eight. Times are Sunday through Friday at 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and at 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays. Cost is $40 per person, with reservations required 48 hours in advance, and subject to availability. One tasting fee is waived for each $250 spent on wine. TCV also offers a vineyard and winery tour at no charge: 10:30 and 2:00 p.m. daily with reservations required.
Adelaida’s taste and tailgate
This tour takes parties up to six into several Adelaida vineyards, plus the interior of the famed Hoffman Mountain Ranch Vineyard that was responsible for a Pinot vintage that placed Dr. Hoffman third in a 1976 international French wine competition. Stops are made at select vineyard blocks, where wine made from their fruit is tasted. A high quality artisanal food pairing of cheese, cured meats, hearty bread, estate grown almonds, olives and olive oil complements tastings while learning about Adelaida’s farming practices, and enjoying the view from a shaded picnic table amidst the beauty of the Adelaida foothills. I have personally attended this tour, and can say without reservation it is worth every penny. The knowledge imparted about farming, wine and winemaking is impressive, as is the breadth and quantity of wine poured. Two hour duration, $50 per person, 48 hour advance booking, two person minimum, subject to weather and staff availability.