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Tank Garage Winery
 
May 23, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

A Morning in the Vineyards with Bertus

What's Happenin' in the Vineyards?

In the heat of May, vines are transitioning between flowering and fruit set. Each tiny flower has the potential to form a single grape berry. How powerful is that? The pollinated flowers are starting to drop, emerging a tiny green sphere at the end of the stem. 

Sierra de Montserrat

Barbera, Mourvedre, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Zinfandel, Primitivo, Tempranillo, Graciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Vermentino, and Verdelho

I rolled up to our first vineyard at 7:30 AM sharp as Bertus was already leaned against the truck, sunhat, and glasses in hand.

This is the Sierra de Montserrat vineyard in Loomis, CA. This vineyard is wild because you essentially turn into a residential community and boom: rolling hills of Tuscany? In between the endless rows of vineyards are huge custom-designed homes. This area is also dedicated to the conservation and preservation of about 200 acres of protected oak woodlands, wetlands, and wildlife habitat.  The days are significantly warmer here than in Napa so fruit set has already begun in some parts of the vineyard. Understandably so since the sun was already roaring in full force by 8:00 AM. Bertus predicts in just a few weeks' time that these tiny green spheres will become pea-sized berries! This vineyard is approximately 28 acres of Barbera, Mourvedre, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Zinfandel, Primitivo, Tempranillo, Graciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Vermentino, and Verdelho.


Tiny flower clusters ready for bloom.

Clos du Lac

Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot, Grenache Noir, and Counoise

A few twists and turns down the road and we ended up at Clos du Lac, another unique vineyard community modeled after the southern region of France. From this hillside vineyard, overlooking dozens of wildflowers, you can see the itty bitty base of Folsom Lake. In French, Clos du Lac means “Walled Vineyard by the Lake" so take it literally! This vineyard is nestled in the Sierra Foothills at an elevation of 500 ft. 30 acres in the gated community have been set aside for vineyards planted with Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, and Petit Verdot. Also, several acres of Grenache Noir and a small amount of Counoise have been planted on a private estate vineyard. 

Stampede

Zinfandel and 2% combined Mission, Mourvedre, and Cinsault

Lastly, we trekked out to the Stampede vineyard just outside of Lodi where we met with Jeff Perlegos, who walked us through the rugged site. Jeff and his brother, John, farm the Stampede Vineyard near the Clements Stampede Rodeo grounds in the Lodi AVA’s Clement Hills sub-AVA. The rodeo still competes and is the biggest amateur rodeo in the country. Jeff is warm and easy-going and walking his vineyards feels like he’s invited you into his backyard. These old vines were originally planted in the 1920s, are head-trained, and were planted in a diamond pattern. Jeff expressed that the fruit takes on qualities from both the areas it straddles: Amador in Amador County and Lodi in San Joaquin County. The acidity in the grapes hails from Amador and the fruit aroma and flavor is derived from Lodi. The vineyard consists of 98% Zinfandel and 2% combined Mission, Mourvedre, and Cinsault.

What's next?

In June and July, young clusters will begin to appear. Over roughly the next 60 days, berries undergo rapid cell division and grow larger. These clusters will eventually become berry bunches. The green berries will start to change and ripen, undergoing a process called veraison. For red grapes, this is when the color changes from green to purple! Stay tuned ✌️

Time Posted: May 23, 2021 at 9:00 AM Permalink to A Morning in the Vineyards with Bertus Permalink
Tank Garage Winery
 
May 12, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs

“Since 1952, Dr. Wilkinson’s has been providing wellness, relaxation, and good times. Home to healing mineral waters, "The Works" mud bath, and a backyard that keeps you connected—we’re Calistoga’s original wellness resort. And now, we’re all brand new.”

Hello, sunshine! Calistoga is calling!

To say we're stoked for the summer season is an understatement and this year, you'll want to be kickin' it poolside at Dr. Wilkinson's Resort. Founded in 1952 and re-imagined in 2020, Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs is Calistoga‘s most iconic and historic resort and spa in the heart of Wine County. 

"The Doc" Will See You

 In 1952, Dr. John Wilkinson took Calistoga mud and turned it into the star Napa Valley attraction that has existed for 60 years. "Doc and Edy founded the resort with wellness in mind all the way back in 1952. Our goal is to embrace Doc's pioneering spirit and time-honored, stress alleviating, and health balancing treatments in a completely reimagined environment, with every element of the resort experience designed with integrated wellness in mind. Dr. Wilkinson's will continue to be the resort destination where wellness meets happiness." Doc studied alternative medicine and practiced wellness before these ideas became popular. Doc tapped into Calistoga's famous waters, sharing the healing benefits of mineral soaks and mud baths with over a million travelers and wellness seekers from around the world.

A spa attendant hard at work in 1962

 

Spa & Baths

Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort and Mineral Springs is going to be your new favorite place with relaxing massages, mud baths, and mineral springs aplenty. The new spa features four mud baths, three geothermal mineral pools, eight new mineral baths, falling water treatments, CBD and aromatherapy experiences, and new outdoor treatment rooms in the reimagined spa garden. Fed by geothermal hot springs, three mineral-rich pools are yours to enjoy before and after your spa treatments, and throughout your stay. If you want the full spa experience, go with "The Works:" relax in the volcanic ash mud (a secret family recipe mixed with Calistoga's famous warm mineral water), then dip into the natural healing mineral pools and finally refresh with a full body massage. Afterward, you'll feel energized, squeaky clean, and ready to take on all the wine Napa Valley has to pour.

Good Eats

Dr. Wilkinson's Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs launched House of Better, a new restaurant in partnership with Trevor Logan, best known for the popular Green Chile Kitchen in San Francisco and Chile Pies Baking Co. in Sonoma County, CA.

Consider House of Better as a spa treatment for your taste buds.

The restaurant will feature dishes including wood-fired flatbreads, "booster bowls," salads, and traditional New Mexican fare. The beverage menu will feature a beer and wine selection highlighting boutique local partners, and a collection of healthy and fermented beverages such as water kefir, kombuchas, adaptogen teas, and agua frescas. The restaurant will also feature Chile Pies Baking Co.'s famous seasonally-rotating pies.

(There is literally a pie vending machine y'all.)

How to Visit

Straight from the source:

The resort is currently accepting limited reservations and has taken precautionary measures guided by recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure the safety of guests and staff. Additionally, state and county health and safety COVID-19 guidelines will be implemented.

Guests will have the option to check-in by using their cell phones as keys and can check-in online without stopping at the front desk. The majority of the guest rooms open directly to the exterior, which will also enable guests to access their rooms without entering the lobby. The entire staff will practice social distancing, use personal protective gear, and implement enhanced cleaning and safety measures.

https://drwilkinson.com/
1507 Lincoln Ave, Calistoga, CA 94515
(707) 942-4102

Time Posted: May 12, 2021 at 11:00 AM Permalink to Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs Permalink
Tank Garage Winery
 
April 16, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

Storing & Opening Sparkling Pét-Nat

What is Pét-Nat?

So you’ve heard of it. But what the hell is it? Pét-Nat is short for petillant naturel (aka “naturally bubbling”) and is a sparkling wine made according to the traditional ancestral method. Pét-Nats are bottled while the wine is still fermenting, which results in trapped CO2, creating bubbles. This process requires minimal intervention from the winemaker and, like most wine made naturally, it typically ranges from 10-12% ABV (alcohol by volume). Thanks to their natural yeast, Pét-Nats are exciting and produce funky aromas and characteristics unlike any other style of wine. The traditional method produces the bubbliest of sparkling wines at a whoppin' 5-6 atmospheres of pressure. The result is a rustic and lively wine true to its roots.

How to Store Pét-Nat?

While all sparkling wine should be served cold—both for the best flavor and to keep those bubbles suspended in the wine—the wilder, less-filtered styles especially require it. Essentially, like any wine, you’ll want to store the bottle in a cool, dark spot. Because of the sediment in the bottle, you want to keep the bottle standing upright so that the sediment settles to the bottom. Pét-nat isn’t meant to be kept in a cellar – it can last a year or two if stored properly, but generally speaking, isn’t meant to be aged. In other words, pop a bottle and start enjoying ASAP! Put in the refrigerator to chill before serving, and serve as cold as possible. It is important to put the bottle in the fridge as opposed to an ice bucket because the neck should also stay chilled. If your wines have been shipped, this next part is super important! First, wait 3-6 weeks before opening. We know it’s hard but it’ll be worth the wait.

How to Open Pét-Nat?

Open quickly as most Pet-Nats have lots of bubbles that can spill over. Use a continuous pour into several glasses or into a decanter so as to not kick up the lees at the bottom of the bottle. Stop pouring when you start to see a little sediment pouring out. Leave the lees in the bottle. It is a good idea to pry the crown cap slightly and let the pressure fizzle out before fully opening the bottle, to avoid explosion.
 

Our Pét-Nats?

The first two times we attempted to make a Pét-Nat, things didn't go as planned. Two years of learning and refinement later, we finally perfected the craft and the result was Space Crush in 2018. How'd it turn out? OH MY GOD. We nailed this one. It is fresh, crisp, and complex with a floral perfume and green apple, peachy notes that endlessly orbit around your mouth. The texture is fascinating, the bubbles so satisfying and the finish extends to the moon. 

In 2019, we released the wildly popular Pop-Nat. Tart raspberries and strawberries hit your palate on the first sip, with tiny bubbles that dance across your palate and make way for a wave of crisp acidity.

We released Come, Saints and Sinners  the following year. Come, Saints and Sinners is a Carbonic Macerated 100% Petite Sirah Pétillant Naturel sparkling wine made from the legendary Rorick Heritage Vineyard in Calaveras County, California. It's interesting, but not too weird. Complex, but so damn drinkable. Honest to god, this is one of the coolest wines ever produced by Tank Garage Winery.

In April of 2021, we released Tokyo Love Hotel. Big mouthwatering aromas of wild cherry and blackberry candy bubble from the glass. In your mouth, it’s got a zangy intensity of flavor with those fresh flavors of blackberry, raspberry woven into small delicate bubbles. It’s like a Lambrusco plus skittles and we love it!

Introduction to Tank

Hey there! Welcome to Tank Garage Winery, the coolest winery in Napa Valley. No... really. Visiting the tasting room is like taking a trip back in time to a 1920s gas station turned speakeasy, pouring rad as shit wines and playing bomb as hell music. Cool California vibes mixed with vintage decor bring to fruition the most quirky encounter you’ll get at a winery. Every day, we celebrate this crazy dream turned into a movement where we get to do cool shit and you get to come along for the ride. We celebrate the adventurers, the dreamers, the weirdos, the free spirits, and the misfits. So next time you’re in town, you won’t want to miss out. In addition to red wine, white wine, and rose, we also dabble in the dazzling worlds of orange wine, sparkling pet nats, natural wine, carbonically macerated wines, and so on. We collaborate with tattoo artists, digital artists, and photographers to create some of the most eccentric labels you’ve seen on a bottle. So if you’re adventurous and love trying new things, we’re the winery for you. 
If you’re game, join the club and get to know our wines, the vineyards we source our fruit from, and the rad folks who bring them to you. It’s one you won’t forget.

Time Posted: Apr 16, 2021 at 11:00 AM Permalink to Storing & Opening Sparkling Pét-Nat Permalink
Tank Garage Winery
 
April 8, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

Getting Closure with Wine Closures

A bottle of wine is representative of the winery and the folks behind its creation; it is the product of viticulture, winemaking, and marketing. This makes the choice between wine closures so critical. Wine closures are a term used in the wine industry to refer to the object used to seal the bottle and avoid unfavorable contact between the wine and oxygen. There are endless options made from both natural and synthetic material. Corks are the most traditional and common type of closure and they come in the form of natural corks, plastic corks, and technical corks. The closure can tell a great deal about the wine it encompasses in regards to longevity, quality, and tradition. The best way to choose your wine closure is to determine how much time you expect the wine to live in the bottle before opening. 

OG Cork

The OG cork dates back to the 17th century when glass bottles replaced clay amphorae and wooden barrels. Cork is typically the preferred method for consumers. Corks are 90% natural cork and 10% natural glue mixed with cork granules. This combination provides strong, high-quality corks with elasticity that hold the cork in place. These are the best corks to use if you are looking for a strong sealer that can be stored for a long time. Keep in mind that corks can be fairly expensive to make and when using them, there is always a risk of cork taint. Using alternatives can be cheaper, avoid the risk of cork taint, and can be more practical. Once fitted with a cork, bottles should be stored on their side or upside down. This will keep the cork from drying out and losing its seal. Once it’s bottled, make sure to store the wine on its side.

Synthetic Corks

Synthetic corks are significantly cheaper than their OG counterparts, costing about a dime to 15 cents each; Let’s just call it the low-budget brother. They are designed to look, function, and “pop” like the natural cork. Synthetic corks are made from plastic compounds called polyethylene (polyethylene is also used for milk bottles and plastic pipes) which eliminates the risk of cork taint. Although, because they lack elasticity, it’s easier for oxygen to get through and for the wine to leak. Synthetic corks are best suited for wines you intend on opening within 6-12 months. Unlike natural corks, most synthetic corks are made from material that is not biodegradable but it is recyclable. Synthetic corks are very consistent in oxygen transmission, allowing the winemaker to tweak the oxidation rate of the wine by choosing from a range of synthetic corks with different rates of known oxygen transmission. 

Screwing Around with Screw Caps

Many Americans believe screw-caps are indicative of low-quality wine but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Screw-caps are made from aluminum materials that thread onto the bottleneck. There are actually two parts: the metal cap and the liner inside the top of the cap that seals to the bottle lip. The liner is the important piece controlling how much oxygen can get into the wine. Screw-caps are used predominantly in Austria, Australia, and New Zealand. Many of these producers believe that screw caps are the solution to cork taint, benefit aging, and preserve the aromatics. Screw caps have only been around since the ‘60s but have become increasingly popular as an alternative wine closure. According to Wine Spectator, “A 10-year study done by the Australian Wine Research Institute indicated that wine retaining the most freshness over time had screw cap closures.” Interesting stuff, right?

Sparkling Muselets

A muselet is the wire cage that fits over a bottle of champagne, sparkling wine, cider, or beer to prevent the cork from emerging under the pressure of its carbonated contents. The name is derived from the French museler, or to muzzle. The wire cage secures the cork in the bottle, keeping it sealed until it is ready for consumption. Muselets traditionally require six half-turns counter-clockwise to open. Legend has it that Dom Perignon first had the idea to replace the original Champagne stoppers which were wooden bungs wrapped in oil-soaked hemp then sealed with wax and a cork stopper. Muselets are now machine-made in the millions, varying in size, color, and design. Many folks even like collecting their muselets, as different manufacturers will feature their emblems. 

Bottle Caps

Crown caps (aka crown seal, crown cap, or just cap) were the first form of a crimped bottle cap, invented by Charles Robert Spencer. Spencer was a machinist that sold the patent to another company that quickly began mass-producing the product. The crown cap was the first highly successful disposable product that allowed soda bottles to be stored upright. Bottles that can accommodate crown caps can usually handle a bit of pressure. You don’t typically see a lot of wine sealed with a crown cap but it is becoming increasingly popular. At Tank, we’ve used crown caps on all of our Pet-nat sparkling wines. Not only do they look cool, but they also seal the vessel that undergoes a secondary fermentation inside the bottle.

Time Posted: Apr 8, 2021 at 11:00 AM Permalink to Getting Closure with Wine Closures Permalink
Tank Garage Winery
 
March 31, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

What the hell is Pét-Nat Sparkling Wine?

What is Pét-Nat?

So you’ve heard of it. But what the hell is it? Pét-Nat is short for petillant naturel (aka “naturally bubbling”) and is a sparkling wine made according to the traditional ancestral method. Pét-Nats are bottled while the wine is still fermenting, which results in trapped CO2, creating bubbles. This process requires minimal intervention from the winemaker and, like most wine made naturally, it typically ranges from 10-12% ABV (alcohol by volume). Thanks to their natural yeast, Pét-Nats are exciting and produce funky aromas and characteristics unlike any other style of wine. The traditional method produces the bubbliest of sparkling wines at a whoppin' 5-6 atmospheres of pressure. The result is a rustic and lively wine true to its roots.

History of Pétillant Natural Sparkling Wines

Despite seeming like the latest and greatest, Pét-Nat was first developed in the 16th century (pre-Champagne) and is the oldest way of making sparkling wine. In the 1500s a monk in Saint-Hilaire, France, noticed that his bottled and sealed wine had formed bubbles. The wine most likely had stopped fermenting in cold winter temperatures, been bottled, and started fermenting again when the weather warmed in the spring. Therefore Pét-Nat was born. In the early 1990s, Christian Chaussard, who then had an estate in Vouvray, found that one of his wines with some residual sugar had begun re-fermenting inside the bottle. After tasting this delightfully accidental fizzy wine, Chaussard researched the méthode ancestrale and began experimenting with the process. In the 1990s, Loire Valley winemakers all began experimenting with Pét-Nat as well, following in Chaussard's steps. 

What’s the difference between Pét-Nat and Champagne-style Sparkling Wines?

Traditional Champagne and other sparkling wines are the product of combining one or more still, dry wines. These finished wines are bottled and aged and CO2 is created during a second fermentation in the bottle, unlike Pét-Nats, which do not undergo a second fermentation. While it’s true that the ancestral method predates the Champagne method, Pét-Nat only shot up in the last decade. The Pét-Nat method isn’t limited geographically like Champagne but is most commonly found in the Loire Valley and Limoux in France as well as Italy. Traditionally Pét Nats are cloudy, unfiltered, and capped with a crown cap (like beer), compared to the mass-produced products from larger Champagne and Prosecco houses that use characteristically large corks. Classic Champagne may require several years of aging, Pét-Nats are often released and meant to be consumed young. This also isn’t a high roller situation like Champagne; You can easily find a bottle of Pét-Nat for a reasonable $20-$40 compared to their more expensive sparkling counterparts.

Our Pét-Nats (so far)

All the cool kids are drinking Pet-Nats.

Back in 2017, we released our very first Pét-Nat called California Love. Shout out to Deutschland for the amazing grapes that made this sparkling wine possible. For the core of this blend, we chose Lake County Riesling (65%) for its acidity and perfumed aromas. As a compliment, we added this rad Mendocino Gewürztraminer (33%) and Pinot Gris (2%) that Bertus found us for some pop and flavor. We used several old-school techniques to make this wine and decided not to filter it, because we know you like it a little dirty. In the end, we got a sparkling wine with amazing texture and notes of honeydew melon, honey blossom and jasmine with some nuttiness from the lees contact. The finish is crisp, dry and unforgettable. We love California and it has given all of us so much. This past year has been trying and difficult for this beautiful state, so we dedicated this project to California and make a wine so full of love that it can only be described as “right on.”

The first two times we attempted to make a Pét-Nat, things didn't go as planned. Two years of learning and refinement later, we finally perfected the craft and the result is Space Crush. Our friends from Babcock Ranch in Solano County hooked us up with a few small lots of their celestial Riesling. After some manual foot-stomping and a run through the basket press, the fermentation process began. After a few weeks, we moved the juice to bottles where the fermentation continued. How'd it turn out? OH MY GOD. We nailed this one. It's fresh, crisp and complex with a floral perfume and green apple, peachy notes that endlessly orbit around your mouth. The texture is fascinating, the bubbles so satisfying and the finish extends to the moon. Space Crush is a natural wine and was not fully filtered. Because of this, there will be sediment inside each bottle from the Pét-Nat process that tells you it is legit. It's dirty, embrace it.

In 2019, we released the wildly popular Pop-Nat. We picked the grapes from Rubidoux Ridge Vineyard, a family-owned property located at 2000-2100 ft. in the rolling hills of the Fiddletown AVA in Amador County. Though this particular vineyard isn’t that old, the area’s grape-growing history can be traced back to the mid-1800s when the population swelled with European settlers chasing the gold rush dream. Honoring the old-school vibe of the area, we decided to pay homage to the vintage popsicle of yesteryear. The label for this fun summer wine replicates popsicle wrappers from the 1960s and 1970s. Just like that cool popsicle on a hot summer day, this wine is refreshing AF on a hot summer day. Tart raspberries and strawberries hit your palate on the first sip, with tiny bubbles that dance across your palate and make way for a wave of crisp acidity.

    Lastly (but not really…), we released Come, Saints and Sinners. Come, Saints and Sinners is a Carbonic Macerated 100% Petite Sirah Pétillant Naturel sparkling wine made from the legendary Rorick Heritage Vineyard in Calaveras County, California. When we first started checking on this wine, we knew we had a unicorn on our hands. It's like Pop-Nat made out with a Cherry Otter Pop while Love Now More Than Ever watched. Come, Saints and Sinners is ungodly special. Big cherry and juicy strawberry fizzes with brisk minerality, and hints of nectarine and citrus. Our resident Somm, Aaron, compares it to an Italian Lambrusco made in a frizzante style. It's interesting, but not too weird. Complex, but so damn drinkable. Honest to god, this is one of the coolest wines ever produced by Tank Garage Winery.

Introduction to Tank

Hey there! Welcome to Tank Garage Winery, the coolest winery in Napa Valley. No... really. Visiting the tasting room is like taking a trip back in time to a 1920s gas station turned speakeasy, pouring rad as shit wines and playing bomb as hell music. Cool California vibes mixed with vintage decor bring to fruition the most quirky encounter you’ll get at a winery. Every day, we celebrate this crazy dream turned into a movement where we get to do cool shit and you get to come along for the ride. We celebrate the adventurers, the dreamers, the weirdos, the free spirits, and the misfits. So next time you’re in town, you won’t want to miss out. Come by our little garage and celebrate with us.

 

Time Posted: Mar 31, 2021 at 7:00 AM Permalink to What the hell is Pét-Nat Sparkling Wine? Permalink
Tank Garage Winery
 
March 30, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

5 Reasons to Visit Napa Valley Right Now

Old Faithful Geyser

Did you know that there is a geyser in little Calistoga?
In the early days of the National Geographic Society, Old Faithful Geyser of California was declared one of only three “faithful” geysers in the world because of its regular eruptions. This geyser has also proven itself to be a good predictor of earthquakes. When the geyser’s regular eruptions are delayed or diminished, an earthquake is likely within the next couple of weeks in the 500 miles surrounding the geyser.
Old Faithful Geyser of California soon became one of the most visited places in the American West. The rainbows that form in the predictable sprays of mist are a wonderful feature in this serene setting at the top of Napa Valley. To this day, Old Faithful Geyser of California remains one of the most photographed places in the State of California.

1299 Tubbs Ln, Calistoga, CA, 94515
707-942-6463
 

Ride in a Hot Air Balloon

Experience Napa Valley like never before as morning winds carry you gently above corridors of grapes and between the mountains of one of the most magnificent valleys on Earth. If you book through Calistoga Balloons, soar 2,000 feet above the valley, vineyards, and mountains for an inspiring way to get a birds-eye-view of Castello di Amorosa, Palisade Cliffs, Mount St. Helena, Old Faithful Geyser, Sterling Vineyards, and Chateau Montelena, the winery featured in the movie Bottle Shock. Your adventure begins just after sunrise when the morning sunlight enhances the natural beauty of Upper Napa Valley. Flights depart at sunrise, between 6:00 and 7:30 am, and last 3 - 4 hours.

1458 Lincoln Ave #15, Calistoga, CA, 94515
707-942-5758
 

Grab a Bite at the Farmstead restaurant at Long Meadow Ranch

Housed in a former nursery barn, the restaurant at Farmstead is the heart of Long Meadow Ranch with modern American farmhouse cuisine, a lively open kitchen, and indoor and outdoor seating. This farm-to-table experience revels in the talents of chefs, farmers, cattle ranchers, winemakers, and restaurant managers that create a Napa Valley experience like no other (we’re lookin’ at the Dungeness crab cioppino). They also have a general store, where you can find fresh produce and artisanal provisions.

738 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574
707-963-4555

 

Check out Napa Valley Distillery

We may be home to the best wine around, but there are dozens of breweries and a number of distilleries that you won’t want to miss. Located in true 'speakeasy' style, this is the first Distillery in the City of Napa since Prohibition. Engulfed in a sea of wine, Napa Valley Distillery is truly a hidden gem. family-owned and operated by Arthur and Lusine Hartunian. After working as a limo driver, a Las Vegas stickman, a professional poker player, and insurance salesman, Napa Valley Distillery founder and frontman Arthur Hartunian began Napa Valley Distillery in 2009 over a Poker bet! They create a variety of rare and unique artisanal spirits, bottled cocktails, and cocktail ingredients in very limited quantities.

2485 Stockton St Napa, CA 94559
707 265-6272

 

Stay at the Calistoga Motor Lodge

The Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa is an epic ode to the Great American Road Trip of the '50s, '60s, and '70s, and the spirit of exploration it evokes. Whether it's backroad wine country or a relaxing mineral bath, their backyard can be your backyard, and it's anything but ordinary. Framed by vineyards and bike trails, their stylish Mid-Century Modern digs are the perfect foundation for those looking to find their next great adventure from the perfect home base. Perfectly placed at the head of the Silverado Trail, in the heart of California's scenic wine region, the Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa feature 50 rooms and suites, two Mineral Water Pools, and a Mineral Water Hot Tub, and a Full-Service Spa.

1880 Lincoln Ave, Calistoga, CA 94515
707-942-0991

 

Time Posted: Mar 30, 2021 at 10:00 AM Permalink to 5 Reasons to Visit Napa Valley Right Now Permalink
Tank Garage Winery
 
March 23, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

Dopamine and Stir Fry

Go bold or go home with this unconventional food pairing. We decided to pair Dopamine with one pan beef stir fry. A little bit of savory, a little bit of sweet, and a little bit of spice from the garlic-soaked noodles marries perfectly with the smokiness of the wine. Dopamine can take a little heat so don't be shy! 

The wine: 
We asked our winemaking team to go for bold on this one and bold they went with 61% Tempranillo, 26% Graciano, and 13% Syrah. The Tempranillo and Graciano clusters were de-stemmed and spent about 20 days on the skins prior to finding their homes in neutral oak for 15 months. We employed extended maceration during fermentation  And, because we’re cool like that, we blended in a small percentage of foot-stomped and whole-cluster fermented Syrah that adds a faint whisper of smoke and bold bramble-berry characteristics.

The Ingredients:
1 pound flank steak
Choose your noods (soba, udon, egg, rice, and even spaghetti noodles will work)
1 white onion
5 shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup minced garlic
1 cup shredded carrots 
2 stems bok choy
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 cup green onion

The sauce:
Minced garlic
2 tbsp sesame oil
As much soy sauce as your heart desires 

The process:
Heat a medium to large-sized pan on medium heat with a little bit of sesame oil. Sear the flank steak on both sides until desired temperature is reached. Once cooked, add in a whole sliced white onion. Next up, add your shiitake mushrooms. Drizzle in some of the pre-made sauce. Let simmer. 
Add in the shredded carrots, bok choy, and noodles and stir until fully cooked. 
Once plated, sprinkle green onions on top and voila! You just made one pan stir fry.

Time Posted: Mar 23, 2021 at 8:13 AM Permalink to Dopamine and Stir Fry Permalink
Tank Garage Winery
 
March 17, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

10 Cool Things to Do in Napa Valley

Grab a Burger from Gott’s Roadside

Gott’s Roadside was founded in 1999 in Saint Helena by brothers Joel and Duncan Gott. Gott’s California-inspired dishes and seasonal specials use locally sourced ingredients and purveyors such as Niman Ranch beef, Zoe’s bacon, Panorama Bakery bread, and Osprey Seafood. Gott's modern approach to American roadside classics has something for everyone including dishes like the California Burger with a fried egg, Zoe's bacon, and balsamic onions, Ahi Poke Crispy Tacos, Chicken Kale Caesar, and hand-spun organic shakes. There’s something about their cheeseburger, fries, and shake combo that will rock your world.

Located at 933 Main St, CA-29, St Helena, CA 94574
(707) 963-3486

Enjoy a Mud Bath at Solage, an Auberge Resort 

Come to Solage to detox, retox, and repeat. Solage is home to an award-winning 20,000 square foot Spa Solage, which showcases the renowned Calistoga mud and mineral water therapies that have attracted spa-goers to this northern stretch of Napa Valley since the 19th century. The Bathhouse at Solage delivers the ultimate wellness experience, featuring exclusive geothermal pools with temperatures that range from icy cold to a comforting 98°, and a soothing 103°. They use mineral-enriched mud personalized with essential oils. The best part? You’re not sharing your mud. Instead of a communal mud bath, expect a private, three-part detoxifying treatment that begins with mud combined with volcanic ash, geothermal mineral water, and an aromatherapy blend of essential oils that you select yourself. Treat yo’ self.

Located at 755 Silverado Trail N, Calistoga, CA 94515
(707) 226-0800

Hike the Beautiful Trails of Skyline Wilderness Park

Lake Marie via Skyline Trail is a 6.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Napa, California that features beautiful wildflowers and is rated as moderate. The park opened on April 5th, 1983. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, horses, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. The park has 25 miles of multi-use fire road and singletrack trails of various skill levels. Later additions included an RV camp area, a tent camping area, and a picnic area with a cook shack. Local horsemen proposed a riding arena, show office, and bleachers, and money was raised to construct these. Now, Skyline holds a series of horse shows each year. Napa Valley is so green right now, the flowers are blooming, and daylight savings just hit so it’s time to get out on the trail. The views here are endless. 

Located at  2201 Imola Ave, Napa, CA 94559
(707) 252-0481

Shop for Vintage Clothes at Wildcat Vintage Clothing

One of the best shops for vintage clothing is Wildcat Vintage Clothing. Wildcat is a unique vintage and retro clothing store for guys and gals who want some sass and class on their ass! This store rocks its own style and encourages customers to do the same. 

Located at 931 Coombs St, Napa, CA 94559
(707) 224-3162

Ride a Bike through The Napa Valley Vine Trail

Take advantage of the sunshine for a ride through the valley on the Napa Valley Vine Trail. The coalition that built the trail is a local nonprofit that aims to construct a walking/cycling trail system that will connect the entire Napa Valley. Upon completion, there will be 47 safe and continuous miles of level, paved, dog-friendly trails stretching from the ferry terminal in Vallejo to Calistoga. More than 300 trees have been planted that will eventually shade trail users. At present, the continuous section goes from Kennedy Park in south Napa to the north end of Yountville in the valley’s center. If you want to do the entire trail, start your ride at Kennedy Park, a public space on the Napa River with softball fields, sand volleyball courts, picnic sites, and a formal garden. If you ride 2.5 miles north on the trail, you’ll hit the Oxbow Public Market, a bustling food hall that features restaurants, vendors, local produce, and a riverside deck overlooking the “oxbow” in the Napa River. This is the perfect place to stock up on snacks for your ride.

Located at 3299 Claremont Way #4, Napa, CA 94558
(707) 252-3547

Pose for an IG Pic in front of the Napa Valley Welcome Signs

Nothing says “you are here” like a photo at the Napa Valley welcome sign along Highway 29. “Welcome to this world-famous wine-growing region... and the wine is bottled poetry...” it reads. There are actually two matching welcome signs in the valley. The south sign is located near Oakville, south of Robert Mondavi Winery on the edge of the historic To Kalon vineyard. The north sign is just south of Calistoga. These iconic signs are beloved. I mean…did you really go to Napa if you didn’t take a photo with the welcome sign?

Pretend you’re in OG Napa Valley at Turtle Rock Bar & Cafe

The world’s best egg rolls, according to Napa locals, can be found at Turtle Rock, a 1960s institution that’s one part bar, one part general store. Hundreds, if not thousands, of dollar bills, hang from the ceiling of this divey biker’s haven, which is a popular stop-off for locals heading to and from Lake Berryessa. In fact, it’s really the only place to pull over for a snack in the rural area. Turtle Rock’s giant egg rolls are so notorious that they sell over a thousand on summer weekends, but they often have other specials too, like burgers, tri-tip, pulled pork, and monthly Taco Tuesdays. 

Located at 2000 Capell Valley Rd, Napa, CA 94558
(707) 966-2246

Chill by the Pool at the Calistoga Motor Lodge

Designed by New York-based design firm AvroKo and inspired by the Great American Road trip, the Calistoga Motor Lodge is the best version of a classic roadside boutique hotel. There’s a pretty good reason why travelers have been coming to Calistoga for over 150 years to soak in the geothermal pools. There are three located at the Calistoga Motor Lodge, all fed from nature’s own underground hot springs. Post-soak, chill out by the outdoor pool with cabana beds and loungers. They also recently introduced Adult Swim Only to enhance social distancing while ensuring that all guests receive their own time and space at the pool. 

1880 Lincoln Ave, Calistoga, CA 94515
(707) 942-0991

Grab a slice of Pizza from Pizzeria Tra Vigne 

In-The-Know locals go to Tra Vigne Pizzeria and Restaurant, a wood-fired pizzeria in the heart of St. Helena Wine Country. Casual spot for Northern Italian cuisine with a quaint, old-world feel & tree-covered courtyard. Thin-crust, sourdough pizzas star on the menu, which also includes an incredible array of delicious salads, fun, tasty, Italian small plates (think made to order mozzarella), sandwiches, pasta, and other wood-fired specialties. Tra Vigne Pizzeria and Restaurant is a beverage oasis, boasting a seasonal craft cocktail list, an increasing selection of craft-brewed Northwest-focused beer, and an eclectic, affordable selection of local wine on tap and in the bottle. Tra Vigne Pizzeria and Restaurant offers wine country flavors at friendly, affordable prices.

1016 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574
(707) 967-9999

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.

 

Time Posted: Mar 17, 2021 at 9:00 AM Permalink to 10 Cool Things to Do in Napa Valley Permalink
Tank Garage Winery
 
March 3, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

Tenacious Tempranillo

You’re getting into red wine. You’re craving something different. Something savory. Enter Tempranillo, Spain’s #1 wine grape.” - Wine Folly

Where is Tempranillo From?

Tempranillo is a red grape varietal from Spain. The name means “little early one” referencing its earlier ripening than many other Spanish red grapes. The first official mention of Tempranillo was in 1807. Although, Tempranillo is thought to have originated in the Iberian Peninsula and has been around since Phoenician settlement, over 3,000 years ago. In 2015, Tempranillo was the fourth most widely planted wine grape variety worldwide with 232,561 hectares (574,670 acres), of which 87% was in Spain where it is the most planted red grape variety.

Why we love Tempranillo

Tempranillo can be light and fresh, luxuriant and profound, or sophisticated and worthy of aging. Tempranillo grapes have moderately thin skins, creating a ruby-colored red wine. On its own, tempranillo is typically medium-bodied but it is often blended with other grapes to make a more full-bodied wine. It is found primarily in Northern and Central Spain and Portugal. Tempranillo is more neutral than it’s bigger bodied red counterparts so it is known for acting as a blending grape with Grenache and Syrah. 

All of our Tempranillo Wines

We’ve tackled Tempranillo quite a few times. From our vault, our very first wine ever released in 2014 was called Never Dream Alone, a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Zinfandel. The Tempranillo was grown on “extreme terroir” 1,600 feet up on Atlas Peak in Napa Valley. The Zin is old vine goodness from Chiles Valley. This combination produces inspiring notes of wildflowers, black cherry, butter, cinnamon, plum, peach and dried cloves.

In 2015, we created Las Californias, a blend of 67% Tempranillo and 33% Graciano. Lets face it, California doesn’t really need another Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot blend, so we decided to let Tempranillo play the part of Cabernet Sauvignon and provide the framework, backbone, structure and ageing ability, while the Graciano (loosely playing the part of Merlot) brings deep color and strong aromatics.

Fast forward to 2016 with the release of Jonny Oro. Tempranillo, Syrah, and Mourvedre prove to be a match made in heaven, which sometimes looks a lot like Calistoga, CA. Sweet red raspberry on the nose, with hints of tobacco and rich leather, bravely followed by a juicy palate full of red fruits, white pepper, and a little bit of brown sugar.

Lick is next on our Vault journey, released in 2017. Big, expressive Syrah from Calistoga comes together with Tempranillo and a touch of Carignane to make a wine so good you'll want to lick the glass clean. There's no doubt that Lick is one of our richest and most seductive blends to date. The notes of freshly cracked pepper combined with flavors of dark berries and silky tannins are what make this wine completely irresistible.

Last but certainly not least is The Art of Surfing, recently released in 2019. For this blend, Bertus starts with Tempranillo from Shake Ridge Ranch, a vineyard in the Sierra Foothills that straddles the ridgeline at 1,700 feet above sea level. Tempranillo is a Spanish varietal and Bertus loves its tannins and cherry flavors. To complement tempranillo’s lush tannins and cherry flavors, Bertus added a small lot of Sangiovese and Barbera, two lighter Italian varieties he feels will add additional brightness to our sun-kissed blend. One thing is for sure, Bertus got something very right with this one. Juicy aromas of cherries and cocoa make way for a smoother ride across the palate and mouth watering finish. 

DOPAMINE

The moment you’ve been waiting for. Enjoy your dose of Dopamine, a ferocious 2019 Sierra Foothills red that packs a punch with 61% Tempranillo, 26% Graciano and 13% Syrah. We asked our winemaking team to go for bold and bold they went. The Tempranillo and Graciano clusters were de-stemmed and spent about 20 days on the skins prior to finding their homes in neutral oak for 15 months. We employed extended maceration during fermentation  And, because we’re cool like that, we blended in a small percentage of foot-stomped and whole-cluster fermented Syrah that adds a faint whisper of smoke and bold bramble-berry characteristics. The Tempranillo in Dopamine went through two delestages during early peak active fermentation. So how does it work? First, separate the juice from the solids by racking, where the wine is drained off the fermentation bin into a clean tank. Then take some of the seeds/stems out and gently pump the juice back onto the solids. Warmer temperatures are better for extracting tannin so this process softens the tannins and helps to create a juicier wine.

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.

 

Time Posted: Mar 3, 2021 at 11:00 AM Permalink to Tenacious Tempranillo Permalink
Tank Garage Winery
 
February 22, 2021 | Tank Garage Winery

The Beaujy Backstory to Gamay

On the hunt for an inexpensive alternative to Pinot Noir? Then let’s get beaujy. 

What is Gamay?

Gamay is a light-bodied grape originally thought to have first appeared in the village of Gamay, south of Beaune, France, in the 1360s. It most likely arrived from Germany with unenthusiastic welcome; the dukes of Burgundy even tried to outlaw its presence as they were unenthused by its unfamiliarity. It is a cousin of Pinot Noir and today grows primarily next to Burgundy in Beaujolais, France. It has become increasingly popular in France, Canada, Switzerland, Oregon, and New Zealand. DNA analysis shows that Gamay is actually a cross between Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. Gamay is easy drinkin’ and typically has lively acidity and low tannin. Gamay offers fruit-driven, candied characteristics with notable flavors of black currant, raspberry, banana, potting soil, and violets. If you find that you’re into Gamay and Pinot Noir, also give Grenache and Barbera a try. You won’t be disappointed. 

Background of Beaujloais wine region

You simply can’t mention Gamay without talking about Beajolais, France, where 75% of the world’s Gamay is produced. It is located immediately south of Burgundy in eastern France. There are three major classifications to the wines produced in Beaujolais. Beaujolais or Beaujolais Nouveau, Beaujolais-Villages (slightly less tart, intense fruit, earthy, banana), and Beaujolais Cru (bold, complex, dark fruit, violets). The region's highest-quality wines are those of the ten Beaujolais 'crus' – ten vineyard areas long recognized as the finest in the area. The Gamay grape used to produce these distinctive wines is an early ripening, acidic variety. For this reason, carbonic maceration has become the accepted method for making most red Beaujolais wines. Whole clusters of grapes are sealed into fermentation tanks and pumped with carbon dioxide. Without any oxygen, fermentation begins inside the individual berries and the grapes end up crushing themselves from the weight of the alcohol produced during said fermentation.

What is a Beaujolais Nouvau wine?

As far back as the 1800s, it is French tradition for Beaujolais growers to gather and celebrate the end of the harvest by toasting the vintage with some of the young wine produced that year. Beaujolais Nouveau is a separate category outside of the regional classification system. Beaujolais Nouveau is released to the public annually on the third Thursday of November, just a few weeks after Gamay grapes are harvested. It’s not a wine to be cellared or saved and is instead best enjoyed while its vibrant red fruit character and high acidity are fresh. By law, all grapes in the region must be harvested by hand. 

How is Gamay different from Napa Gamay?

A more obscure French varietal, Valdiguié, was misrepresented in California as “Napa Gamay” for decades. This mistake wasn’t corrected until 1980, when the ampelographer Pierre Galet identified it as Valdiguié. Californians continued to bottle Valdiguié as “Gamay Beaujolais” until 2009. So it’s not uncalled for that a Gamay lover might have a bone to pick with Valdiguié.

Tank's first Gamay, Little Secrets

Like passed love notes during spring bloom, our very first Gamay is full of Little Secrets, not meant to be unveiled. But we’ll make an exception with this bottle. Because we’re talking about carbonic macerated Gamay, Beaujolais Nouveau style. It takes approximately 5-15 days for carbonic maceration to complete and our Little Secrets spent 7 days carbonically macerating. You heard that right. On the nose, experience rose petals, dried cherries, and Hawaiian Fruit Punch. On the palate, this wine is fresh as hell with notes of herbaceous membrillo, blood orange, juicy peach, and Hubba Bubba bubblegum. With bright acidity and a satin texture, this wine will enamor you. 

Gamay is hard to find, but that didn’t stop us. And after several years of searching, we finally landed at the Barsotti vineyard sitting pretty at 2,800 ft above Placerville in the El Dorado appellation of the Sierra Foothills. The grapevines were planted in 2005 by badass local stonefruit grower, Ron Mansfield for Bay Area winemaker, Steve Edmunds. Together, Steve and Ron envisioned growing the first true Gamay Noir in California in the decomposed granite soils of Barsotti. Days are warm and dazzling with cool and crisp evenings that ensure the fruit ripens slowly while preserving freshness. There's something about the combination of Gamay and Granite that creates a wine with a huge personality.

Introduction to Tank

When we opened Tank Garage Winery in 2014, we didn’t know if it would turn into Napa’s coolest winery, or work at all for that matter. In fact, for a while, it seemed like it wouldn’t. Napa Valley just didn’t seem ready for an old garage pumping out eclectic wine blends and vintage vibes. The people that drove by looked confused and if they ever stopped, it was to try and get gas. Nobody seemed to get it. But then, we found you. If you are reading this, thank you for sharing our dream. Thanks for helping us build Napa’s most fun wine tasting experience. Thanks for supporting us when the odds are stacked against us. We’ll keep pushing boundaries in winemaking. We’ll keep doing cool shit. And we promise to keep rockin’ and rollin’.

Time Posted: Feb 22, 2021 at 2:45 PM Permalink to The Beaujy Backstory to Gamay Permalink