Save The Family Farms
A Visit To Napa Valley Should Include A Tour With A Farmer
The creation of a Napa County policy that will allow limited wine tastings and Direct to Consumer sales on small family vineyards will secure Napa Valley’s competitive edge in the decades to come.
It will maintain Napa’s authentic image.
Napa Valley post-prohibition was a group passion-driven winemakers who sold their wine from the back of a pickup on their property. Through this outlet, they were able to secure their first wine club members. I still hear an occasional story from my dad’s friend of how he was able to try wine this way and it was only $2.50 a bottle. I never hear people bursting at the seams to tell me their experience tasting in the crowded salon of Beaulieu Vineyards. Unless they tried the Georges de Latour, which is an incredible wine and everyone should try at least once in their life.
To me, an ideal day tasting wine in Napa Valley is visiting three spots that let you see the diversity we have. The ideal agenda includes a gorgeously decorated, large winery off Highway 29, a hip and friendly tasting room in downtown Napa and then a rare gem in Napa-a vineyard tour with the actual grape grower, like Hendry Ranch.
A visit to Napa should include a tour with an actual farmer. It may be biased but we tend to have the best stories as we have the ability to wear all the hats, we are farmers first, winemakers second and tour guides third. At Hendry Ranch you have the pleasure of hanging out with legend George Hendry, a treasure trove of Napa Valley history and whose passion for farming and winemaking leaves a lasting impression.
It’s a rarity in Napa today to be able to taste wine and talk to the actual grape grower. With the creation of this new policy, we, the small family farms will be able to offer visitors more opportunities to do just that. That is what will keep visitors coming back to the Napa Valley for years to come.
Author: Hayley Hossfeld is a second-generation grape grower and a first-generation winemaker at Hossfeld Vineyards in Soda Canyon, Napa Valley. She was born and raised in the backwaters of Soda Canyon and obtained her Masters in Viticulture and Enology from the University of Pais Vasco, Spain. She plans on continuing her family's tradition of grape growing and winemaking for multiple generations to come.
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