Dana Estate – Rutherford – Napa

Napa Valley has great wines, and living near Napa has its advantages. A close friend was on a waiting list to join the Dana Estate wine club and was finally offered on to the wine list. This winery accepts visitors who are members of their club by appointment, also I am sure they let industry people to tour as well. Dana Estate is a rare success story where an outsider Korean business man makes it in the hyper competitive Napa Wine Industry, and also noted for its 2007 vintage wine that scored 100 points by Robert Parker.

So we Jump at the chance to buy the wine offered to persons on the list and also to visit the winery to pick up the wine and do a tasting.

The winery does not have a sign, the first sign you see below is after you enter the estate.


We visit after harvest season so the fall colors are starting to show. img_1108

The winery main entrance.img_1109-a

We first enter the courtyard with a fountain. The sun, cool breeze and the sound of the fountain calms anyone who enters the space, it kind of preps you for your tasting. All your senses readjusts in the courtyard, everything slows down. img_1109img_1110

A look back outside before we enter the building. img_1111

The inside is dark in contrast to the bright Napa Valley daylight. Lamps and lights in the restored vineyard masonry create a calm mood.  img_1112

We first visit one of the lounges to view some historic archive pictures of the vineyard and enjoy the mix of modern design and restored stone walls. Again light plays a roll in the design. img_1113

Barrels.   img_1114

Art work in the hallways. img_1115Next we visit a domed rotunda that holds the owners private wine collection. There are Dana Wine bottles on prominent display. The bottle itself is beautiful. img_1116

In the rotunda there is a table with a ceramic lotus flower to continue the logo theme of the Estate. The wall cabinets are stocked with wine. I go in for a closer look and I see bottles and boxes I have only seen in books and pictures…img_1117img_1119

The dome has lights to symbolize the stars of the night sky. img_1120

There are two boxes of Screaming Eagle that first got my attention, then I see all the other rare wines. img_1121

Then I see Romanee-Conti also known as DRC. img_1122

I have an obsession with Sauternes and I see a box… and I also see some LaTour.  Now I wonder what is in the other unlabeled boxes. img_1123

Some large bottles and a few Petrvs in the mix. img_1124

More bottles and another box of DRC. img_1125

Then we visit the cellars, and its beautiful. img_1126img_1127img_1128

We walk through the private collection rotunda again to the main tasting room. img_1130

Some art work. img_1131

The main tasting hall is grand. Its here we learn that Napa’s Preferred and quintessential architect Howard Backen designed and restored the property, and it shows…  img_1132

His signature style of seamlessly integrating the outdoor space with the interior is clearly seen in the main hall.  img_1133

img_1139There is a large fire place for those colder winer days. img_1134

Large decanters on display… we did not use these. img_1135

The Fall colors… img_1136

More art work on the walls. img_1137

We start the tasting…img_1140

One while and one red. img_1141

The view from my seat… img_1142

And it begins. The wines tastes great. Let me state here that I am not a wine expert. I have no idea what makes a good wine, I just like what I think tastes good to me. img_1144img_1145

I realize that our party is the only one there, and we are informed that we are the only visitors that day.img_1146

Full view of the fireplace and tasting room. img_1147

More interesting artwork on the walls. img_1148

After the tasting we leave and from the courtyard you can see the main tasting room again. img_1149

Closeup of some of the restoration work. img_1150

A few pictures at the entrance.img_1152img_1153

The view of the vineyards on the way out… Until next time… I can’t wait to go back. This tasting / tour was one of the better experiences in wine country. The class “A” facilities and great wine make for a even better experience. Now I have to find a reason and a place to drink the bottle of wine that I bought. img_1162

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