We are increasing production this coming year, 2009, and purchasing some additional equipment–barrel racks, macro bins and barrels. Uzi found some lightly used barrel racks and macro bins from a contact at Joseph Phelps Vineyards in Napa and made arrangements for me to inspect the equipment in person before purchase.
My trip to Joseph Phelps reminded me why Napa is such a sought after destination. Uzi and I tend to visit Sonoma or other wine regions more frequently than Napa. A drive on Hwy 29 is like a trip down the wine aisle at a large grocery store–Beringer, Mondavi, Sutter Home, Freemark Abbey. There are countless B&Bs, Auberges, tour buses and gift shops. Despite all that, the scenery this time of year in Napa Valley is spectacular. The grape vines are lush, full and green. There are mountains, country lanes and weathered barns amid the vineyards. And once you get off the beaten path you can find less frequented, more intimate wineries.
Unfortunately my business in Napa Valley this time did not include wine tasting or luxury accomodations. I was there to inspect winery equipment–which passed the test–and camp with some friends. Our big splurge was Taylor’s Automatic Refresher in St. Helena where you can enjoy Calera Pinot Noir in a proper glass with your cheeseburger and fries. A fine way by me to enjoy Napa Valley.