Sterling Vineyards – Wine Tasting in the Napa Valley

Written by: Mary Shull

Enjoy wine? What better place to sample the multitudes than in the Napa Valley! A world-wide destination for wine tasting, Napa Valley is home to hundreds of wineries. Take a few weeks and you might be able to sample all their fares.


Vineyard - from grape to glass at Sterling Vineyards in the Napa Valley

Nestled outside the small town of Calistoga, Sterling Vineyards sits 300 feet above the valley floor. The entrance is graced by a gorgeous tree-lined driveway and surrounded by row upon row of magnificent grapevines. The road leads to the visitor area where beautiful rose bushes await your compliments. Then, you must make your way to the winery which is accessed through an aerial tram ride! Yes, a unique four-person tram whisks visitors away (for a small fee) and deposits them atop the hill for their self-guided tour and wine tasting journey. Make sure to take in the sights as you glide along. The splendor only increases as you near the top and prepare for your special treat. The views are simply amazing as you stroll through the wonderful winery buildings that were designed after the architecture on the Greek island of Mykonos. Listen to the tower bells toll their lovely melody as you begin to sample your wine selections. Your tour takes you through the inner workings of the winery and explains its history and the vinification process. Motion-activated flat screen televisions help explain the processes involved in taking a grape and making it into wine. Wine tasting stops are strategically located to showcase the best views as you sample your wine and bask in your surroundings. Sterling Vineyards’ wines include:

  • Merlot
  • Chardonnay
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sauvignon Blanc

Eventually, you find yourself at the Main Wine Tasting Room where you will sit down and relax while you enjoy your final tasting of wine selections. Winery staff assist you in final wine selections as you soak in your experience and let your mind wander.

Your final steps take you through the wine shop where you have the option to purchase any new favorites for home enjoyment. You then board the tram and let the view wash over you as you journey back down to the valley floor.

Sterling Vineyards is an experience you won’t soon forget. It has been called one of Napa Valley’s gems and has earned bragging rights. So next time you plan a trip to Napa Valley for wine tasting, visit Sterling Vineyards and prepared to be impressed.

Ready, Set, Action – Copolla’s Rubicon Estate Winery


Niebaum-Coppola Rubicon Estate Winery

Over a hundred years ago in 1870 the Finnish explorer Gustave Niebaum came to Napa Valley with the goal of creating a wine estate to rival those of France.  In the mid 1960’s his estate was divided and a decade later Francis Ford Coppola purchased 1,500 acres of the historic property.  Wine-making began again in homage to Niebaum and in 1995 Coppola purchased the remainder of the estate.

From making movies to making wine, are they so far removed, Coppola produces a wide variety of wine types but is best known for “Rubicon” named after the estate.  The first bottle was produced in 1978; it has a unique black cherry cola taste.  The rare 1979 vintage is now fetching $200.00 a bottle.

Coppola’s goal is to perfect Rubicon, to allow him the time to write and make another film that is more “him”.  There is no better place on this planet than Napa Valley for inspiration; it is filled with artists, great natural beauty and some of the best wines in the world.

The flagship wine of the Rubicon Estate is blended primarily from Cabernet Sauvignon grown from vines with the same genetic material that Niebaum brought from France in the 1880’s.

2006 is an excellent vintage for Rubicon; 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petite verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc.  Aged in 80% new French Oak for 22 months.   Release date is March 15, 2010. Suggested retail is $145.00.

Yes, it is Worth the Price – Silver Oak Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

Silver Oak Cellars

Silver Oak Cellars

Located in the Napa Valley of Northern California is the Silver Oak Winery.  They produce the best Cabernet Sauvignon I have ever tasted; it has been their specialty for over 35 years. 

Raymond Twomey Duncan first visited the Napa Valley in the late 1960’s, it seduced him as it does everyone who goes there and he began investing in vineyards throughout the Napa and Alexander Valleys.  Justin Meyer, a winemaker from Christian Brothers, agreed to help Duncan in 1972 under the condition they raise the standards of California wine and they certainly have succeeded.  Meyer has since left but Daniel H. Baron was selected as his replacement.

Silver Oak Cellars devotes all of their attention to only Cabernet Sauvignon, and from the day of release it is ready to be enjoyed.  The wine is a blend of Bordeaux varietals and Cabernet Sauvignon.  

Current releases:

2005 Napa Valley

.  80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot
.  Available in 750 ml bottle, 1.5L Magnum, 3L Double magnum and 6L Imperial
.  Released February 6, 2010
.  750ml $100.00

This wine has a complex nose of black pepper, soy, wild game, truffles and boysenberry with a dark garnet color.  It has a silky feel on the palate and a long finish with a slight tannic grip.  Correctly stored it should be enjoyable through 2032.

2005 Alexander Valley

.  100% Cabernet Sauvignon
.  Available in 750 ml bottle, 1.5L Magnum, 3L Double magnum and 6L Imperial
.  Released August 1, 2009 
. 750ml $70.00

Full-bodied with a dark garnet color and a nose of licorice, lavender, cinnamon, clove and black cherry.  Seamless on the palate it has an excellent length, velvety tannins and a solid core of berry fruits.  With the right storage it should be delicious through 2032.