This is a nice walk.
Start in Calistoga and take the bike trail to Dunaweal Lane. From here you can walk Dunaweal lane--passing by three very distinct wineries. These three wineries represent everything that is currently trendy and conventional in the Napa Valley. Snob Central.
Having lived in Calistoga, I have visited all three. Dunaweal Lane is a short bisector road of the Napa Valley. On Dunaweal Lane you will find: Twomey Winery, Sterling Winery and Clos Pegase Winery.
Fall is in the air. Still warm, but with a cool wind blowing. Blackberries are there for the picking on part of the walk. When I get to Dunaweal Lane, I turn right walking past Twomey Winery.
Twomey is devoted to Merlot. Owned by the same folks who run the cult Winery "Silver Oak", no expenses are spared in the making of this wine. Silver Oak is the Napa Valley Cabernet that dentists, doctors and folks with way too much money and free time, buy a few magnums of to celebrate their fiftieth birthdays (and yes, I will probably be superficially trendy enough to do the same). Twomey Handcrafts (literally) this wine. The Winery itself is simple. A decent sized house without fanfare. I saw a bottle of Twomey yesterday that sold for $100. Too expensive for my budget.
Turn around and walk a bit more and you come to the entrance of Sterling Vineyards. Sterling sits on top of a bit of a hill--so they have a ski lift type arrangement to whisk you up there. Sterling was purchased a few years ago by a mega Canadian corporation that makes Seagrams whiskey (I think they still own it).
Wineries in Napa like to promote the myth that they are a small family owned operation. Sterling attempts to pull this off with no mention of it's ownership on any bottles. In Sterling's defense, they have been a wonderful contributor to the daycare that both Jazzy and Kylie went to. They do share with the rest of the community. In addition, they do make a wonderful Sauvignon Blanc. I've had most vintages since 2002, and I can say that they are almost always very good and affordable.
Walk some more and you come to Clos Pegase. Every winery needs a hook to get you in the door. This winery uses art. Modern sculptures adorn the grounds. And this brings me to Dick Cheney.
I avoid this winery (although I have tasted there once). Why? Because of its snootiness. But the major reason has to do with Dick Cheney.
A couple of years ago, when Dick Cheney was still the Vice President and he was looking for another retirement home, he secretly visited Calistoga (back then he was so unpopular, he had to visit every thing secretly). The Grumpy Apologist for torture was looking for a place to relax. Drink red wine. Shoot another friend. Cheney visited Clos Pegase while doing his real estate ventures, and I haven't set foot in the place since then. Did Cheney buy a house? This I have not been able to substantiate.
Back to Calistoga.
I stop at the grocery store and purchase a bottle of Sterling Vineyards 2007 Sauvignon Blanc. Back to the Monastic Dorm for dinner, and sure enough, this is a decent wine. Full of flavor. A bit of an alcohol burn. But still smooth. Affordable. Those Canadians are smart folks...afterall, they did invent Single Payer Healthcare!