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Know These Twenty Seven Wineries ??

by Monty and Sara Preiser

It isn’t clear to us why we have to learn the same lesson every year, but apparently we do. After three glorious months in wine country this season we are once again resigned to the fact that we simply cannot taste every wine in Napa. Now, this “failure” certainly isn’t for lack of trying, but these days there are just too many people making too many wines. In fact, it is surprising that we don’t see more clunkers out of the thousands of wines we have been able to identify that are produced right in Napa, but that is a testament to modern equipment, knowledge, and work ethic. It also means that the vast majority of what is put into the bottle is at least worth a try.

What we HAVE been able to discover throughout the summer is a great number of under-the-radar wineries making wines that deserve to be sampled by enophiles and budding enophiles everywhere. As we set out our top twenty seven (“twenty-seven” being our personal luckiest of numbers), there are certain criteria we have followed.

We use the phrase “under-the-radar” here to mean wineries that we subjectively believe are not as well known as the quality of their wines suggest they should be. Thus, we may have purposely omitted many outstanding producers if, in our opinion, they are well enough recognized. Our selections are of course influenced by the fact that we have not, as we said above since it is an impossible task, tasted everything available. In theory, then, we could update every time we sample a wine. It should be noted as well that some of these wineries we will name are quite established, while some are new and perhaps still operating out of a small garage. The parameters revolve around how well each winery is known, or should be known, and not around whether it had been out there for any particular length of time or has a large facility.

Oh yes, to be part of this list there is one more requirement that is important for all of us who love wine, and that is that one can actually find and/or order wines from these producers. If a vintner is only making enough to sell out immediately, or requires wait time on an allocation list, we have not included his or her label no matter how new, how unrecognized, or how good the wines may be.

So here, in non controversial alphabetical order, are those 2007 wineries we think are not getting their due, and that we recommend you put on your list for exploration of their wines. You probably will never get to them all, and every wine made by every winery below is not stellar, but the fun of it all is the attempt to learn what is what.


1.   Anomaly Vineyards
                        707-967-8448          www.anomalyvineyards.com

2.   Ballentine Vineyards
707-963-7919          www.ballentinevineyards.com

3.   Calix Wines*
                        707-363-5574          www.calixwines.com

4.   Carter Cellars
707-942-4670          www.cartercellars.com

5.   Chase Family Cellars
                        707-963-1284          www.chasecellars.com

6.   Cloud View Vineyards*
707-963-2260          www.cloudviewvineyards.com

7.   COHO Wines
                        707-258-2566          www.cohowines.com

8.   Corley Family Napa Valley
707-253-2802          www.corleyfamilynapavalley.com

9.   Eagle Eye
                        707-427-1600          www.eagleeyewine.com

10. Frazier Winery
707-255-3444          www.frazierwinery.com

11. Gustavo Thrace Wines
                        707-257-6796          www.gustavothrace.com

12. Havens Wine Cellars
707-261-2000          www.havenswine.com

13. Hollywood & Vine Cellars
                        707-967-9128          www.hollywoodandvineinc.com

14. hope & grace Wines*
707-944-2500          www.hopeandgracewines.com

15. Jocelyn Lonen Winery
                        707-257-2821          www.jocelynwines.com

16. Matthiasson*
707-265-9349          www.matthiasson.com

17. O’Brien Cellars
                        707-252-8463          www.obrienfamilyvineyards.com

18. Parry Cellars
707-967-8160          www.parrycellars.com

19. Pina Napa Valley
                        707-944-2229          www.pinanapavalley.com         

20. Robinson Family Vineyards
707-944-8004          www.robinsonfamilyvineyards.com

21. Rocca Family Vineyards*
                        707-257-8467          www.roccawines.com

22. Ruston Family Vineyards*
707-967-8025          www.rustonvines.com

23. Sonador Cellars
                        707-320-8596          www.sonadorcellars.com

24. The Terraces*
707-963-1707          www.twrraceswine.com

25. Tom Eddy Wines
707-942-4267          www.tomeddywines.com

26. Tres Sabores
707-967-8027          www.tressabores.com

27. Veraison
                        707-226-2215          www.kruppbrothersestates.com


* In our eternal quest for full disclosure, we let you know that this winery (or the winery’s owner with another business) advertises in The Preiser Key to Napa Valley, a magazine owned by these writers (of course, among a number of interpretations, one could read this to mean we liked the wines so much that we invited them to participate).



Wine writers and educators Monty and Sara Preiser divide their time between Palm Beach County, Florida and the Napa Valley in California. They publish the world's most comprehensive guide to Napa Valley wineries and restaurants titled, appropriately, The Preiser Key to Napa Valley.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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