Day 5

LaSalle Grill Does Napa

Blueline Estate, Joseph Phelps Winery,
Trefethen Family Vineyards

Casey Dvorak

April 7, 2022

Right  where we are staying in Calistoga is a vineyard called the Blueline Estate. It is the second property owned by Hourglass Winery. Located at the base of Glass Mountain, their property had been very badly damaged by the 2020 fires. Their story is one of perseverance. They keep a charred tree stump at their main entrance as a reminder of the blazing inferno that burnt down structures and vines on their property and rendered all their fermentation equipment useless.

They have since replanted, purchased all new fermenters, and built a new hospitality area up by their charred stump. This space features a fully loaded Airstream trailer with a noteworthy vinyl collection, outdoor lounge and a pizza oven.

Further back from the road up the hill away from the road is where we met Chris Dorman and his Irish wolfhound, Ralph. This is where we toured the caves. In 2006, they cut into the mountains and bored wide passages for barrel storage and wine making. In a couple of dead ends they have set up more lounge areas that are super unique.

Down the road in St. Helena, Joseph Phelps Winery practically has their own valley in the foothills of the eastern mountains. One winding road takes you from the gated entrance up onto a ridge that houses the old winery that has been converted into a hospitality space with a terraced deck that overlooks the vineyards below. The Cabernet here is their finest wine; I also tasted two old vintages of Insignia, their flagship red blend.

Our final stop of the trip is Trefethen Family Vineyards in the Oak Knoll district of Napa Valley. In their visitors center we met Gary, our trade specialist host, and walked over to the original family house on the property where their chef had prepared a 5-course meal with wine pairings for us. At the conclusion of the meal we were taken to a bungalow on the fringe of the vineyard where we will stay for the evening. The refrigerator is well stocked with dry riesling for us to sip on the porch as we overlook the budding vines while the sun sets behind the Mayacamas Mountains. It’s a breathtaking sight and a beautiful way to end this eye-opening trip to what is perhaps one of the most majestic and revered wine producing regions of the world.

Bringing this trip to an end is a bit sad because there is so much more to discover out here, but there will be more trips like this to other wine producing regions of the world. And that is something to look forward to. I’m eager to see my family back in Indiana, and I’m excited to bring the stories of these wineries and my experience to our team and guests at LaSalle Grill.

And our journey ends!