Wine caves of Napa Valley
Caves have been used to store wine barrels for a very long time. The wine caves of Napa Valley, many of them built at the same time and by the same methods and workers as the first railroads to reach California, are famous. The air in them, humid and always cool but never freezing, is perfect for storing wine barrels for years or decades, as it minimizes the loss of wine to evaporation through the hairline gaps in the wine barrel.
The vineyards that own these caves have turned them into places worthy of exploration by tourists and wine lovers. Cave tours are an excellent addition to any vacation in the Napa Valley area.
Napa wine clubs like Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards Wine Club often schedule cave tours. Many of the wine caves in Napa Valley have been turned into underground works of architectural art, and are set up to cater dinners. Here you can taste the newest wines to be judged ready for drinking, and library wines from earlier years. These are a great opportunity to learn about the wine industry from professional winemakers. When going on a cave tour, dress as you would for a cool spring or fall day —it never gets too hot or too cold inside the cave.
Winery near St. Helena offers cave tours
Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley, a 10-minute drive from downtown St. Helena, holds tastings in its barrel caves, where current releases and library wines may be sampled and visitors can learn all about the winemaking process. Cave tastings are $65, but one tasting fee can be waived by joining Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards Wine Club or making a $100 purchase. The vineyard is a 40-acre estate just south of Howell Mountain, owned and operated by the Anderson family since 1983.
Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards produces world-class wines at affordable prices. These wines are sold online and in five locations in Napa Valley, and many other locations nationwide. One Bordeaux blend from the library that you might be introduced to on a cave tour of Anderson’s Conn Valley is the 2007 Éloge. This dark ruby wine has an aroma of mocha, violets, chocolate, cedar and black stone fruits balanced with oakiness. Its flavor begins with the juicy taste of ripe blackberries, followed by more dark fruit flavors with coffee bean spice and chocolate covered cherries perfectly matched with fruit and oak tannins. It has a finish lasting two to three minutes in the mouth, making it a wine to savor. The ’07 Éloge is expected to get even better as it ages. Buy a bottle today and enjoy it ten to fourteen years from now.