Friday, November 13, 2009

Walk #317: Stags Leap District and Stelzner Vineyards

Inside the wine cave...

A walk around the vineyard...

This is the area that put the Napa Valley on the Vinticultural map: Stags Leap. When the Stag's Leap Winery beat the French in a blind taste contest back in 1976--a new destination was born for the Cultural Elite: The Napa Valley.

I've never been to the winery that started it all, so after work I drove down to check it out. My intentions were to take a walk and to have a taste of wine.

I missed the turn for where the visitors are supposed to park, and ended up parking where the workers park. A good mistake because I could walk around the grounds and winery where I wasn't supposed to be. "No Admittance" signs don't say that on the back of the sign.

I managed to sneak into the wine cave of Stag's Leap. An opulent wine cave if there ever was one. Still, I feel like I am violating a law (I was) and I stay for only a minute to take a quick photo.

After fifteen minutes of sneaking around where I wasn't supposed to be, I managed to make it over to the tasting room. The place was packed; too many people. I leave without having a taste.

Instead I found a nice little road still in the Stags Leap district. I drop in to a small winery to have a taste. Steltzner Vineyards has been around since 1965. A small vineyard run by a farm family.

I bring out my hospital badge and manage to get a free tasting. The wine is good with a variety of wine I have never heard of before (the name escapes me as I type this). Pinotage, I think. The star of the show was definitely their Cabernet Sauvignon---which has the appropriate big bold Napa County taste. Their Claret is made of 65 percent Napa County Cab--at a very reasonable price. The host tells me that Food and Wine Magazine picked their Claret as the best bargain of Napa County Wines. I agree---and buy a bottle.

Just before I leave, I ask the host if he minded if I left my car in their parking lot, while I took a walk around the vineyard. He politely tells me: "Go ahead"...then he adds---"just watch out for the coyotes and the rattlesnakes".

Wow. Permission to walk the vineyards! And done with a smile.

I walk the perimeter of a vineyard...enjoying the coolness of the day as the sun begins to set. Stelzner Vineyards is a class act in my book!


Ian Woofenden said...

More adventurous of a lawless, sponging wino! ;-)

On this end, yesterday my walk was vertical -- I spent five hours in a tree, repairing a PV mount 60 feet above the ground. First time I've ever rapelled down a PV array to clean it.

Today I rode about 12 miles. Into town it was pouring and blowing in my face. Careful with challenging me, Allan -- I can take bait. ;-) I need to buy some decent rain paints; my top was soaked with sweat and my bottom was soaked with rain. Rode home with the wind behind me and no rain, and two forks -- spading and pitch -- bungeed to my bike rake.

lph said...


Your acts of conscience, harmless disobedience are always priceless.

Still reading everyday, still enjoy reading about your joyful tramps, just too swamped under piles of adolescent essays to have many words left myself.

Walk On(ward)!


Allan Stellar said...

Ian, :) More like a clueless, curious wino...

Thanks for reading Larry...this has been a fun year. :)