“Wine gives a man nothing – it only puts in motion what had been locked up in frost .”

~Samuel Johnson

One of our favorite wineries we visited was Sterling Vineyards Winery.

A little background:

Back in 1964, British international paper broker, Peter Newton, visited California and, so impressed with the quality of California wines and inspired by the beauty of the Napa Valley, decided to broaden the interest of his company, Sterling International, and purchased a 50 acre piece of an already established vineyard that bordered Calistoga, California.

Between 1965-1967, he continued to acquire more property in the surrounding area. At that time, Napa Valley’s most popular grape grown was the Cabernet Sauvignon, but he made a bold and innovative leap and decided to cultivate Chardonnay, Cabernet Blanc, and Merlot. In 1969, Sterling Vineyards bottled the first Californian Merlot.

In 1977, Prince Charles of England, curious to see something of ‘interest’ built by an Englishman in the States, visited Sterling Vineyards. (If it is good enough for royality…LOL)

The winery continued acquiring land and in 1995 began a multi million dollar six phase renovation plan that has made it what it is today which increased production efficiency, improved quality, and met the exploding demand for ultra premium wine.

Pretty cool, huh? I am not sure why I get so involved in the history of each vineyard but I find it fascinating. When you are actually there, you tend to get caught up in each winery with their stories, their history, their uniqueness, and, of course, their wines. Each taste testing we did, each winery we visited was set up just a tad different and, like any customer related business, the people working there could make it fun or not. And we had fun at almost every one we visited.

I want to run a taste testing room in my next life, LOL!

To get to the winery, which was built on top of a mountain (they called it a knoll, but looked like a mountain to me), you have to take a tram ride to the top. Loved it! The countryside is beyond beautiful and loved that we could see Napa and Sonoma Valley from high up.

Once we got to the top, we were able to take a self guided tour through the winery and stop at certain points along the way to taste the wines. But the most favorite for all of us, was, once the tour was finished, we sat on the rooftop of the winery and tasted more wines.

It is really hard to describe the experience. The sun was shining brightly, the air cool and crisp, but not cold enough for jackets, the view absolutely breathtaking, the wines were wonderful and the company we were with were so much fun! No one had any issues about anything, everyone got along and was willing to try what the others wanted to do, and we never laughed so much!

We loved the Sterling Zinfandel and the Sterling Malvasia Blanca that we bought two bottles of each and actually joined the wine club with Sterling!

Sterling Winery

Entrance to the winery. Headed up the path to the tram.

Tram that takes you up the mountain to the actual winery

View of the lake from the tram

Up and up and up….

View of the bell towers on top of the winery

Oak barrels that store the red wine

Stainless storage for the white white

Rooftop we sat on to enjoy their wonderful wines

View from the rooftop

In the distance, you can see the Castello di Amorosa Winery (more on that later)

Isn’t the view gorgeous????

Headed down the mountain

Definitely looking forward to visiting this one again!

To be continued…


This entry was posted on Saturday, November 13th, 2010 at 1:44 pm and is filed under Traveling, Wine. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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