I have always wanted to go to Napa Valley for the scenery, food and (of course) the wine. Finally, in September 2010, my wish came true! Despite a brief set back during the Prohibition Era, Napa Valley gradually gained notoriety in wine circles in the late 1800 and 1900s. In the 1970s, the region gained “overnight” success when a Napa Valley Cabernet beat a famous French Bordeaux in a blind taste test at an international wine competition in Paris. This huge upset placed Napa on the map as a distinguished area for wine making.
As we drove from San Francisco to Napa Valley, we were amazed at how quickly the scenery changed from urban highway to small-town roads. As we drove through the town of St. Helena on our way to our first wine tasting, we fell in love and decided we had to come back to this quaint town and check out the boutiques and sidewalk cafes that lined Highway 29 (aka Main Street).
Shopping was on our “to do” list, but we were extremely excited about our very first wine tasting appointment at Hourglass Blueline Estate Vineyard, located in Calistoga, with owner Jeff Smith. Located just off Silverado Trail, we meandered through the vineyards at Hourglass and found the winery and cave entrance where Jeff was waiting for us. Jeff made us feel at home immediately. He showed us the cave and gave us great insight into the in’s and out’s, as well as how’s and why’s of wine making. Hourglass is a family business, and we could instantly tell how much pride Jeff has in producing a quality product. The caves were incredible; I even found a Swarovski crystal chandelier in one room that Jeff said they use for entertaining. Me likey!