Napa Valley is noted for its abundance of wineries, wine tastings, warm/hot climate (even in winter), lavish restaurants, and compact access to literally dozens of wineries—currently numbered at over 700. But, with notoriety also comes popularity. Let’s face it—in the summer and fall, Napa is a zoo of tourists and locals. The two main thoroughfares, St. Helena Highway (Route 29) and the Silverado Highway, are usually jammed with vehicles, as are the tasting rooms.
Passing through a guarded gate, my wife and I, on an anniversary trip to Spain, entered the bucolic 1000-hectare estate of the storied Vega Sicilia. This Bordeaux-style winery, founded in 1864, originally was a small village inhabited by the wineries’ employees and connected by rail to Valladolid, 40 kilometers to the west.
Every new Internet development comes with a hyperventilating promise to change the way a winery does business by revolutionizing how it interfaces with its customers by creating a new type of community around the brand. Yet, these innovations rarely become the ubiquitous life changers they are touted to be.
When I went to a dinner featuring D.O. Madrid wines about two years ago, the wines were a mix: from overly fruity to international style to more sophisticated; some were old-fashioned and some seemed young and carelessly made. ut I saved a bottle of Tempranillo-based wine from that night and opened it a few months ago...