The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2016

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80  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2016 A nyone in the wine and spirits industry knows Napa Valley: the heart of California winemaking, home to some of the most famous AVAs in the world. But how many people can say they know Napa Valley, visiting the vineyards, meeting the winemakers and—most important— tasting the wine in its birthplace? Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) is a non-profit organization made up of 525 wineries that aim to promote Napa Valley wines around the world, as well as host the renowned Auction Napa Valley, which raises funds for local charities. Earlier this year, they invited a group of off- premise wine buyers from around the country to visit and look beyond already well-known wines like Napa Cabs and get an in-depth look at all Napa Valley has to offer. It was the perfect time: Harvest was about to start, a time when Duckhorn Vineyards' Director of Estate Viticulture PJ Alviso shows the soil varieties in their vineyards in Napa Valley. DIVING INTO EXPLORING WINES WITH NAPA VALLEY VINTNERS by Jesse Hom-Dawson Napa Valley wineries are buzzing with activity in preparation of picking. Monday began with an introduction to Napa Valley at The Hess Collection Winery with sips of 2015 Albariño and Grüner Veltliner, both from the Mount Veeder AVA, and a tour of the impres- sive modern art collection of Donald Hess. We were treated to facts and figures that were much more fascinat- ing than your typical history class: Napa's unique AVAs (16), it's surpris- ingly limited wine production (Napa only produces 4 percent of California's wines) and its viticulture, soil and topography. For many California natives and Napa wine connoisseurs this is old news, but for those attending who live in the Midwest, Canada and England, it was only a brief look into the complexi- ties of what makes Napa Valley such a perfect wine-growing region. Winemaker Gustavo A. Gonzalez and proprietor Jim "Bear" Dyke, Jr. of Mira Vineyard. PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRA VINEYARDS N A PA

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