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Tank Garage Winery
February 17, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

History of Calistoga

History of Calistoga

fog over Calistoga hills

Calistoga, California is situated at the northernmost tip of Napa Valley in California’s Wine Country. It is Northeast from Santa Rosa and south from Clearlake. On this end of the valley, living is easier. It’s small and quaint and the roads are quieter. The 5,000 folks who live here retain the town’s rustic charm. Wineries here are farther and fewer between. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city occupies a total of 2.6 miles. Calistoga is the perfect segue from Napa Valley Wine Country to Sonoma County Wine Country. With Calistoga being such a small town, walking and bicycling are the best ways to get around. Calistoga is the closest Napa Valley town to Knights Valley and Healdsburg.

History of Calistoga

Napa Valley was once the home of many indigenous people. The Wappo lived in Calistoga during the Spanish colonial era of the 1700s. In this era, Napa Valley was controlled by the Mission San Francisco de Solano in what is now called Sonoma. After mission properties were disposed of by the Mexican government following their Independence, Napa Valley was divided into Ranchos in the 1830s and 1840s. At the same time, the first American settlers began to arrive. Samuel Brannan was the leader of a settlement expedition landing in what is now San Francisco in 1846. Brannan purchased 2,000 acres in 1885 to develop a spa that reminded him of Saratoga, New York. When the railroad completed construction in 1868, Calistoga became a destination and a proponent of transportation.

Where did Calistoga get its name from?

The town’s name is derived from Brannan’s tipsy mistake of wanting to call it the Saratoga of California, which instead came out as the “Calistoga of Sarafornia.” 

Calistoga differences vs. St. Helena, Yountville, and Napa

Calistoga and St. Helena are both lovely towns only about 15 minutes away from each other. As you move further south, you’ll hit Yountville and then Napa. All three cities have their own charm. Compared to St. Helena, Calistoga is more picturesque with mountain and vineyard views surrounding the town from all angles. The largest distinguishing factor of Calstoga versus its neighboring towns is the geothermal hot springs. To get a nice soak in, Indian Springs Resort is highly popular for its spa services, including mud baths. St. Helena has been referred to as the Beverly Hills of Napa, featuring the most exclusive shopping. Yountville is very folksy and has more Michelin star restuarants per capita than any other US city. Hit all three cities to experience the best of what Napa Valley has to offer. 


mustard between vines

Fun things to do in Calistoga

Calistoga is home to countless wineries, restaurants, hotels, boutique shops, and spas. Calistoga is the perfect place for hiking, biking, golf, swimming, horseback riding, or simply strolling the downtown strip. Calistoga is a haven for geothermal activity and many of the spas use the area’s natural mineral hot springs. It’s also known for the Old Faithful Geyser of California. Back in the day, The National Geographic Society declared the Old Faithful Geyser of California one of three “faithful” geysers in the world because of its regular eruptions. The geyser is known to be a good predictor of earthquakes; if the eruption is delayed or lessened, it’s pretty likely an earthquake will occur in the following few weeks in the 500 miles surronding the geyser. Millions of years ago, a nearby volcano erupted and lava buried the surrounding trees, essentially fossilizing them in the Petrified Forest, located on Petrified Forest Rd. 

Featured Wines


We’ve used famed Calistoga fruit in several of Tank bottles. Most recently, we used 69% of Petite Sirah from Kalin Vineyard in Calistoga in our retired Bring Black Roses. Exposed to sinisterly hot summer days, and chilly nights, this stuff concentrates deep, dense flavor and color. To round out the blend, we turned to our old friend with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon from Temple Ranch to add a bit of lush opulence, and lastly, 14% Zinfandel for some spice. Together these forces deliver a wine that’s oozing with black fruit character. The dark ruby color is sexy, but the black cherry and rose petal aromas really make this wine seductive. On the palate, we get these silky smooth, round flavor reminiscent of blackberry cobbler plus raspberry, huckleberry, and some cocoa for good measure. Really, though, this wine rules.

We also used Calistoga fruit in our uniquely blended 50% Syrah and 50% Skin-Fermented Viognier to create one of the most exceptional examples of winemaking to ever come out of our garage. We began with Syrah from one of the best sources in our state, Calistoga’s own Frediani Vineyard. This fabled vineyard is home to some of Napa Valley’s oldest vines, which thrive under the hot Calistoga summer days, producing fruit with opulent black fruit flavor and pepper spice. The first thing you’ll notice once you pour Reborn is the pronounced tropical aroma overflowing from the glass. Trust us, you’ve never smelled a red wine like this before. Once you take a sip, the Syrah’s lush blackberry and blueberry flavors intermix with apricot, peach, and vibrant acidity from the Viognier. The tension between these two grapes create something that’s almost indescribably delicious, like a floral cherry cola with tanning, structure, and pepper spice. Bertus’s gambit paid off once again.

Introduction to Tank

Welcome to Tank. A home away from home where you never dream alone. At Tank, we’ve set out to do something different. We specialize in the art of the blend and we only release limited one-offs so we never put out the same thing twice. Our winery is set in a 1930s gas station turned tasting room aka your next favorite place to hang. Tank started out as a dream to make wines with soul and purpose. No business plan, no exit strategy, just a mission to do cool shit. We source fruit from California’s most sought after vineyards (and some obscure ones, too) to make the most unique wines you’ve ever experienced. Come on by and hang with the Tank crew while we pour you through limited release wines! If you’re reading this, thank you for being a part of this crazy ride.



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