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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

TAMBER BEY WINERY - NAPA, CALIFORNIA

TAMBER BEY WINERY
NAPA, CALIFORNIA

TAMBER BEY
SUNDANCE RANCH
1251 TUBBS LANE
CALISTOGA, CA  94515
707-942-2100
707-942-2104 FAX
EMAIL: wine@tamberbey.com

Life has its unexpected moments.  Some good and some bad.  When we arrived at the home of the owner of Tamber Bay little did I know that it would be one of life's coolest moments.  All I could think of is how I wish my Dad could be with me to experience the moment in time and experience.  As we entered the private estate of winery owner Barry Waitte we were not at the Ranch that is the home to his winery and tasting room, but at his residence which is nestled amongst 11 acres of vineyards.  Barry greeted us himself holding the coolest little wine holder filled with three glasses of wine for his guests.  We knew nothing about Barry and figured he was just a wine salesmen making us comfortable before the pour.  I don't think he even mentioned that he owned the house, land and vineyard but we soon figured it out after he graciously walked us through his vineyard and explained the grape growing process and fact that he had purchased 11 acres here and another 60 acres up the road in Calistoga.  Barry guided us to his back porch that was set amongst one of the most beautiful backyards you could ever imagine.  There was water and trees that looked like great fireworks exploding in the perfect Napa weather on a February afternoon.  Everything here was perfect.  The landscaping, the weather the table and the decor.  Barry proceeded to pour his wines one by one.  Each one was a banquet of flavor.  He demonstrated a new wine opener that reseals the bottle to preserve freshness and we walked slowly through the story of how be came to Napa and became a wine maker.  Turns out Barry met a guy named Steve Jobs and took a job with Apple.  From Apple he started his own business and then sold it to an Internet company called AOL.  All the time Barry followed his love for horses and traveled the world doing endurance horse racing.  He became quite famous and good at the sport and met his lovely bride while purchasing a horse in Los Angeles.  They both raced horses and had a love for wine so they did what anybody would do and bought a 60 acre horse ranch in Napa and established their own wine brand and also created a wine making facility that can make wine for dozens of other small vinery owners.  What a story and here we are drinking wine with Barry at his home.  On his back porch, in his back yard on the most perfect of Napa days.  As the sun began to set I did not want this day to end.  Luck for us Barry invited us to his ranch the next day for a private wine tasting with about six other wine makers.  
Click link below to visit the Tamber Bey Winery and Ranch

TAMBER BEY OWNERS VINEYARD
ENTER THE PRIVATE ESTATE OF TAMBER BEY
BARRTY WAITTE - THE OWNER OF TAMBER BEY GREETED US WITH A GLASS OF CHEER
LANDSCAPING WAS BREATHTAKING
TAMBER BEY VINEYARDS
TAMBER BEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON GRAPES GROWN HERE
NOT A BAD FRONT YARD
BARRY EXPLAINS THE NAPA SOIL AND GRAPE GROWING PROCESS
THE FRONT PORCH OVERLOOKING THE VINEYARDS
TREES LOOK LIKE EXPLODING FIREWORKS
FEBRUARY COLORS IN NAPA
WE HEADED OUT BACK TO BARRY'S BACKYARD
WINE TASTING ON THE BACK DECK WAS INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE
TABLE SET FOR A DELICIOUS WINE TASTING
TAMBER BEY WINES
TAMBER BEY WINE TASTING WILL SET YOU BACK $45 AT THE ESTATE
HORSES ARE A BIG PART OF WINERY OWNERS LIFE
WISH TIME HAD STOOD STILL SO WE COULD STAY HERE LONGER
BEAUTIFUL VIEW FROM OUR WINE TASTING TABLE
OUR HOST AND WINERY OWNER BARRY JOINS US FOR A TASTE
BARRY POURED AND WE HAPPILY CONSUMED
HANGIN WITH BARRY MADE OUR DAY
POSTCARD PERFECT SETTING TO ENJOY WINE AND NEW FRIENDS

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

FORTUNATI VINEYARDS, NAPA, CALIFORNIA

FORTUNATI VINEYARDS
NAPA, CALIFORNIA

FORTUNATI VINEYARDS
986 SALVADOR AVENUE
NAPA, CA  94588
707-255-9300

We arrived at Fortunati Vineyards not knowing what to expect.  This was my first private Napa Valley wine tour set up by Shelle Wolfe who owns an events company in Napa called Wine and Dine Events.  Shelle sets up intimate or large wine tastings, dinners and events for small groups or large parties who want to experience Napa in a very special way.  We were a party of three and she set us up with a driver named Bill that was professional, courteous and a joy to cruise with.  Bill rolled us up to a house in the middle of a beautiful vineyard.  Out came a smiling lady and three dogs.  The dogs and Ellen (the estate owner) greeted us and then we all went inside the home where Ellen and her husband Gary live.  The table was prepared with various wines, glasses and a few snacks.  We were actually in their living room and it was really like being over to a friends house.  These friends however just happen to own a vineyard in Napa and make wine.  Ellen gave us a history of the valley and her life with Gary.  They met in San Francisco and traveled to Napa regulary to taste wines.  Gary had a knack for wine tasting and was winning events where you pick the variety of grape, vintner, age and other characteristics just by blind tasting.  Ellen joined in the taste tests and soon they both were winning competitions.  Gary met a local winemaker and the rest is history.  They bought a vineyard and began making wines.  Last year they celebrated their 10th anniversary making wine in Napa.  We laughed continually during our tasting, joking with Ellen every time she got serious about a particular subject.  Time flew by as we sampled at least six different wines.  Gary appeared and joined us for some light conversation and more laughs.  Loved the wines and hospitality of Ellen and Gary.  Also loved the dogs who hung out with us in the living room.  This was the perfect wine tasting and something I will never forget.

WE ARRIVED AT FORTUNATI IN OUR PRIVATE ESCALADE DRIVEN BY BILL
TASTING WAS AT THE HOME OF ELLEN AND GARY LUCHTEL WHO ARE THE OWNERS OF FORTUNATI VINEYARDS IN NAPA, CALIFORNIA
HAPPY TO BE IN NAPA ON A WARM FEBRUARY DAY
THE FORTUNATI VINEYARDS ARE NESTLED IN THE VALLEY BETWEEN TWO HILLS
ESTATE VINEYARDS OF FORTUNATI
SYRAH GRAPES BEING GROWN AT FORTUNATI VINEYARDS
FORTUNATI VINEYARDS
AMONGST THE VINES WAS JUST DEVINE!
GARY AND ELLENS PORCH OVERLOOKING THE ORCHARDS
WE ENTERED THE HOME AND IMMEDIATELY WERE RELAXED AND TAKEN CARE OF BY ELLEN
BEAUTIFUL LIVING ROOM WHERE WE TASTED WINE
LOVED THE BOOT WINE HOLDER WITH A BOTTLE OF THE ESTATE JUICE
LIKE RELAXING AT HOME
ENJOYING WINE IN THE VINEYARDS OWNERS HOME WAS PRICELESS
LOVED THIS PAINTING IN THE LIVING ROOM
THE TABLE IS SET AND READY FOR THREE THIRSTY WINE DRINKERS
CELEBRATING OVER 10 YEARS IN NAPA
ELLEN AND GARY LUCHTEL - OWNERS OF FORTUNATI VINEYARDS
ELLEN HAD EVERYTHING PREPARED FOR OUR PERSONAL VISIT AND SHE DELIVERED
A GREAT NAPA VALLEY EXPERIENCE RIGHT IN HER LIVING ROOM
I WAS TOTALLY INTO MY WINE TASTING AT FORTUNATI
ELLEN POURS THE WINE AND GIVES YOU HISTORY OF GROWING REGION AND THEIR ESTATE WITH A LOT OF HUMOR AND BACKGROUND ON HOW THEY CAME TO BE WINE MAKERS IN NAPA
MAP OF NAPA WINE GROWING REGIONS
SURH LUCHTEL VIOGNIEIR STARTED OUR TASTING
FORTUNATI ALSO HAS SURH LUCHTEL LABEL OF LIMITED EDITION WINES
ASSORTMENT OF SNACKS TO COMPLIMENT EACH WINE
LOVED THESE TWO WINE DOGS
THE FORTUNATI DOGS WERE FEATURED IN WINE DOGS USA 3 BOOK
MY NEW PAL AT FORTUNATI 
THESE TWO DOGS HAVE A PRETTY GOOD LIFE LIVING IN THE VINEYARDS AT FORTUNATI
A FEW BOTTLES UNCORKED HERE
FORTUNATI AWARD WINNING WINES FROM NAPA VALLEY