Napa Valley is ripe with history, intrigue and award winning wines. This California wine country getaway is a top destination for people looking for a place to sip, savor, enjoy and learn from some of the top wine masters in the country. With hundreds of vineyards to choose from, it is not only the wine, but the experiences they offer that allow a vineyard to stand out from the others. Here are two top vineyards that should not be missed when visiting the region – Liana Estates and Alpha Omega.
Liana Estates has just opened its winery in Carneros in October. The new stop on the Napa Valley Wine Trail will be sure to be a favorite! It includes a high-design Tasting Room and 100-acre estate with rolling hills and panoramic views of the San Pablo Bay. Liana Estates aims to produce distinct and extraordinary wines – including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, unique “lost grape” varietals and sparkling from award-winning winemaker Sara Fowler, all while creating immersive experiences inspired by its beautiful surroundings to elevate the overall wine tasting experience. From the family behind the award-winning Peju Province Winery in Napa Valley, Liana Estates is an experience-focused winery providing visitors with immersive experiences.
Liana Estates is a passion project of sisters Lisa and Ariana Peju, who grew up surrounded by their family’s successful Peju Province Winery. A true blending of Lisa and Ariana’s creative vision, the name “Liana” is a portmanteau of the two sisters’ names.
“We are excited to officially open our gates and welcome guests to Liana Estates,” said Co-owner Ariana Peju. “Making wine has been our labor of love since we were kids, and we cannot wait to share our wines and a completely new wine experience with our guests.”
From culinary classes, to interactive workshops, to wellness activities, Liana Estates invites guests to take in the area’s natural wonders and enjoy all aspects of its wines. Tasting Room Managers Darlene Pondolfino and Santiago Monge are inspirational and hands on in making sure your Liana Estate Experience is one to remember and return to visit many times. Liana forges a new path as a modern winery, offering an ever-changing selection of high-quality wines and bubbly while connecting visitors to the breathtaking scenery of Napa Valley and San Pablo Bay.
Unique Wine Tasting Experiences at Liana Estates:
“Our vision is to introduce our guests to a new taste of Carneros,” said Co-owner Lisa Peju. “By pairing fine wine with unique experiences, we hope to elevate the way guests enjoy wine at the winery.”
Après-Dinner Tasting begins your evening with an intimate tasting experience at Liana Estates. Set in their cozy tasting gazebo, take in panoramic views of the Carneros valley and San Pablo Bay while enjoying sparkling wine, followed by seasonal small bites paired with a sampling of Liana Estates wines. Offered Fridays & Saturdays | 3:00pm | 2-8 guests per reservation | $65 per person
Local Wine and Culinary Picnic explores the many varietals of Liana Estates followed by a specialty picnic with Carneros-inspired culinary treats. Guests can select the perfect location to enjoy a basket of goodness with a bottle of chilled Liana wine. Offered daily from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. $120 per guest
Bayview Barn Sunsets are the perfect way to begin an evening adventure. Nestled on the property’s signature hillside, guests can take in the natural beauty of Carneros while enjoying pours of Liana Estates wines paired with a selection of gourmet bites such as Artisan Sonoma Cheeses and Charcuterie; Las Amigas Deviled Farm Eggs; and Pt. Reyes Oysters. Offered Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. 2-8 guests per reservation. $150 per guest
The Tasting Room – designed by Bay Area-based Lauren Pique Designs – captures the beauty of the outdoors in a modern, fresh indoor space with an industrial and natural aesthetic. In the spirit of creating something that begins in the field and ends in a glass, the Tasting Room flanks the production area and open views offer guests the opportunity to be a part of the process from start to finish. Design touches that reflect the various textures and elements of the land are found throughout, such as rusted metal bar carts; a leather banquette; large concrete tile; metal bistro tables; blown glass light fixtures; a rollup garage door; and reclaimed wood walls made with wood from the Peju family’s Pope Valley property. The mercantile store near the entrance features fruits, fresh produce, flowers, culinary provisions, and private label olive oil. The space will continue to evolve into 2017, with the unveiling of a second-floor private tasting space – the Wine Club Lounge – and a third-floor loft with stunning views of the valley.
MUST TRY: Vintner’s Red Blend 2014
With scents of plum, blueberry and raspberry, this robust wine is fruit-forward. Perfect to pair with a steak dinner or to serve at your backyard barbecue this red blend is aromatic and a definite crowd pleaser.
Alpha Omega, a family-owned boutique winery, located in the heart of the Napa Valley provides breathtaking scenery of the Mayacamas Mountains. It’s beautiful pond and fountains make for the perfect backdrop to enjoy the delicious, handcrafted wines made with grapes from prized, historic vineyards.
Established in 2006, Alpha Omega was founded by proprietors Robin and Michelle Baggett to present world-class wines handcrafted by world-renowned winemakers in a convivial rustic-style farm winery. Using grapes from almost every appellation throughout the Napa Valley, including fruit from its own prized vineyards and other historic vineyards, winemaker Jean Hoefliger and consulting winemaker Michel Rolland meld the Old World’s traditions with the New World’s state-of-the-art techniques to create Bordeaux-style wines that uniquely express the essence of the terroir of the famous wine region. The wine is 100% barrel fermented using native yeasts, unfined and unfiltered. The result is finesse-driven, complex and balanced wines.
The winery is known for its exceptional, down-home hospitality and Alpha Omega delivers an unparalleled experience from beginning to end. Owners Robin and Michelle Baggett go out of their way to ensure you have a fantastic tasting experience, are extremely knowledgeable and treat you as if you were old friends. They also own the Tolosa winery and a cow-calf cattle operation on their ranches in San Luis Obispo and Lake Berryessa.
Michelle Baggett of Alpha Omega shares, “We’ve always focused on creating luxurious experiences with a trifecta of the senses centered around our people, place and product. Our Private Client Team’s years of experience along with our exquisite private spaces and sophisticated technology for handcrafting wines stimulates each sense within one’s soul.”
Unique Tasting Experiences at Alpha Omega:
Alpha Omega’s wine philosophy – approachable to be enjoyed early but built to age for decades.
Tour and Tasting
Experience the beauty of the Alpha Omega property, production facilities and its wines during this 60-minute wine education tour. Beginning with the Sauvignon Blanc, guests sip as they start their walking tour in the Tank Room learning about stainless steel fermentation. Moving onto the crush pad and into the Barrel Room, the Chardonnay takes center stage while the French oak barrel aging process is explained. For the grand finale, head to the Vineyard Terrace to enjoy the expansive views of the fountains, vineyards and Mayacamas Mountains while sampling their Proprietary Red, a French oak barrel-aged Cabernet blend, and their Cabernet Sauvignon. $65
Single Vineyard Tasting
Experience the best of Napa Valley terroir through the Single Vineyard tasting. Taste through Cabernet Sauvignon handcrafted from some of Napa Valley’s most historic and renowned vineyards. Each of these vineyards is a component of Alpha Omega’s flagship wine, ERA, which is included in this tasting experience. A member of the Private Client team will explain how the terroir and location of each vineyard adds diversity and complexity to each wine. Due to the limited production and great demand of the Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons, featured wines will be either barrel samples or library offerings. Offered with cheese accompaniment. $100
Taste of To Kalon
Designed for wine enthusiasts who appreciate history and terroir, this is truly an unparalleled opportunity to taste multiple vintages from the most famous vineyard in Napa Valley, Beckstoffer To Kalon. This privileged opportunity offers three Library vintages of Beckstoffer To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon and a current release or barrel sample. Offered with cheese accompaniment. $150
Alpha Omega’s Impressive Technology
Celebrating its 11th anniversary this year, Alpha Omega has placed into operation a 400 kilowatt (kW) solar and 580 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery micro grid system that includes a first-of-its kind, fully integrated solar and battery facility back-up power system. This ground-breaking micro grid system, which encompasses solar power generation, energy storage and demand management, is the largest commercial micro-grid system to date for a Napa Valley winery. With the addition of electric vehicle charging stations expected later this year, Alpha Omega, whose land and winery are Napa Green certified, continues to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability and set the pace when it comes to embracing leading-edge renewable solutions. Alpha Omega estimates it will produce 640,500 kWh of clean, solar power and save 960,750 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent of planting 2,402 trees.
The solar power system is designed to supply nearly 100 percent of the winery’s energy needs, and the five arrays were architecturally designed to serve as shade structures for parking and winery equipment. The solar structures also include an impressively engineered, cantilevered crush-pad structure to provide shade and weather protection during harvest. The multi-million dollar micro grid system has already drastically reduced Alpha Omega’s average monthly PG&E bill from $15,000 to $1,000.
While the winery, located in the legendary Rutherford Bench of world famous Napa Valley, has blossomed, the essence of Alpha Omega has not changed. Alpha Omega combines the Old World’s European balanced style with the New World’s state-of-the-art techniques and powerful fruit and tannins found in Napa Valley resulting in elegant, Bordeaux-style wine that will hold up for years to come. Today, the estate is considered one of the top wineries in the region. Alpha Omega continues to push forward, vintage after vintage, by constantly improving its wine, visitor experience and surroundings.
MUST TRY: Alpha Omega Reserve Chardonnay 2013
Alpha Omega Reserve Chardonnay 2013 from Napa Valley won a coveted Best of Show platinum medal at the International Chardonnay Symposium 2016 held May 12-14, 2016 in the Edna Valley. A total of 60 wines from various countries competed in the The SOMM Journal’s 2016 Sommelier Challenge, a double-blind wine tasting competition judged by a panel of 15 world-class sommeliers. In addition to Napa Valley, wines were submitted from the regions of Sonoma, the Central Coast, Monterey, Livermore, Burgundy, Côte d’Or, Languedoc, Arinzano (Spain) and South Africa. The Best of Show recipient is considered the overall favorite.
Jean Hoefliger, Alpha Omega’s winemaker and general manager since the winery was founded in 2006, was flattered to win Best of Show. “It is quite impressive to be honored by very experienced sommeliers,” Hoefliger said. “It shows that they understood what you tried to do as a winemaker and truly read the soul of the wine and the way I envisioned it.”
Alpha Omega’s Reserve Chardonnay 2013 is Hoefliger’s interpretation of a Premier Cru from Chassagne-Montrachet. The most luxurious and refined Chardonnay offered by Alpha Omega, the 2013 Reserve Chardonnay is rich and lush on the palate, boasting flavors of grapefruit and blood orange that collide with exceptional balance of acidity and minerality. The award-winning wine is 100% Chardonnay and 100% barrel fermented in French oak — 18 months in 40% new French oak and 60% in one- to two-year-old barrels. Only 292 cases were produced.
Alpha Omega winemaking process is more labor-intensive than most wineries in part because the wines are barrel fermented, unfiltered, unfined, barrel-aged and naturally fermented. From beginning to end, everything is done by hand.
Where to Stay: The Meritage Resort
The Meritage Resort is modeled after old-world Tuscany in a location set against rolling hillside vineyards. This is the perfect place to call home during your Napa Valley vacation with 322 guest rooms, 12 luxurious suites, 180 vacation rental homes, a bowling alley, a 1,650 square foot fitness center, several restaurants and a pool overlooking their vineyard. The property includes an Estate Cave that holds both Spa Terra and the Trinitas Cellars Tasting Room. At Spa Terra you can experience locally inspired treatments such as the grapeseed facial or the cabernet and passion fruit scrub. The spa provides a variety of curative amenities like steam grottos and treatment alcoves. The Meritage Resort provides numerous event spaces including a vineyard deck, Estate Cave, covered patios, and ballrooms for social events, weddings, and conferences from 10 to more than 600. The Trinitas Cellars Tasting Room and Wine Cave offers inspired experiences you can enjoy whether staying on property or just stopping in for a tasting.
Trinitas Estate Cave Experience:
Perfectly Paired: Trinitas has partnered with a local chocolatier to bring you mouth watering chocolate and a brittle pairing as part of this tasting experience. Taste some unique flavor combinations, and learn why these pairings complement each other so well. $35
Trinitas Library: Join Trinitas and customize an experience to fit your liking and wine preferences. This is a rare opportunity to taste limited release small production wines in a seated tasting guided by a dedicated wine educator. Includes library and reserve wines paired with an artisan cheese plate. $55
Whatever Napa Valley Wine Trail you choose you can’t go wrong. At vineyards such as Joseph Phelps, Domaine Carneros, The Hess Collection, Miner and Etude, you will experience stunning views, fabulous wine and culinary treats. You will easily fall in love with the food, wine and surroundings of the Napa Valley. The only question will be: when can you go back and how long will you stay?