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wine available at winery only

  • DonZ Nov 23, 2008 09:11 AM
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I'm looking to buy some wine for friends that live in various areas of the USA and I would like to take advantage of my proximity to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.
I would like to purchase some wine that is available only by visiting the winery.
Does anyone know of a list of such wineries?
I am hoping to avoid having to visit each winery's website.
I can drive to anywhere from Napa to Healdsburg and fortunately, I can accomplish some of my shopping during the week and away from hordes of traffic.

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  1. You will not have any trouble getting recent recomendation for a trip up Rt 29. I'll try a contrarian approach.

    I understand that Napa & Sonoma have the brand appeal; especially for folks back East. I would consider a (much shorter) drive to Livermore Valley. The wine making history there is rich and the values considerably better.

    Thos Coyne and Murrieta's Well are two of my favorie stops. I get a mixed case here of wonderfully delicious surprises (wines your friends have not heard of) for the price of 3 bottles in the Napa Valley

    www.thomascoynewinery.com
    www.murrietaswell.com

    -----
    Thomas Coyne Wines
    51 Vallecitos Rd, Livermore, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: neil

      I second the rec for Livermore. We belong to several wine clubs out there and always have something new to try. You might consider John Evans/Big White House winery. They make some excellent cabs as well as a really good sparking wine. Fenestra ia also good and known for their blend called True Red. Much more reasonable pricewise than Napa.

    2. Just about every winery has a selection of wines that are not available anywhere else. Just keep in mind that it may mean that they weren't able to get it distributed, so it may not reflect that wineries best offerings.

      1. I don't if any list of winery only wines exists. You may just have to choose your favorite wineries and see. I particularly like Meitz Cellars near Healdsburg. I enjoy their Petite Verdot, which I believe is winery only. This is also interesting because it is unusual to see this varietal bottled alone as opposed to being blended.

        1. Here is some information on Dutch Henry Vineyards. I like them for the name. It's probably not their reason for the name but he was the evil brother of Jimmy Stewart in Winchester 73.
          http://www.dutchhenry.com/
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5692...

          1. If you can go a little farther than Healdsburg, Navarro is a great winery that only sells to restaurants, at the winery and through their mailing list.

            I like the idea of checking out Livermore. We popped a bottle of Chouinard "champagne" on election night, and I was reminded how much I liked their wines.

            http://www.chouinard.com/index.html
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/23917

            The central coast wineries are up and coming (Monterey County/Paso Robles), Amador and Calaveras County also have some good but unknown wineries, and we had some nice dessert wines and port in Madera County (I think a good dessert wine makes a great gift, because it appeals to a wide range of people, somehow isn't as intimidating as table wine, and is usually a better bang for the buck). You can have a nice day exploring these regions, especially since in the less publicized wine regions, the tasting rooms are less crowded and the tasting fees are lower or even nonexistent.

            There are lots of small wineries that, although they technically don't sell only at the winery, have a very limited distribution. Most wine shops can only carry a small fraction of the wineries in California.

            1. Rafanelli Zinfandels & Cabernets are very hard to find in retail stores. Most are sold directly from the winery or off restaurant wine lists. The winery is off West Dry Creek Road near Healdsburg. I am not sure how much wine, if any, you can buy just by showing up at the winery. I would definitely call them in advance to make an appointment.

              1. My favorite wine is Round Pond, which I think is only available to members of its wine club and restaurants. They offer scheduled wine tastings and olive oil tastings, both which were among the best I've experienced in wine country.

                I'd recommend scheduling a wine tour during the week and selecting a few bottles of the type you like best--I don't think you'll be disappointed.

                2 Replies
                1. re: pane

                  K&L has Round Pond so looks like they have some retail distribution:

                  http://www.klwines.com/content.asp?&a...

                  1. re: baron45

                    surprise! last time i visited (maybe 4 months ago?) i thought they said they were limiting distribution to wine club members only.

                    maybe they opted against that?

                2. We belong to the Mayo wine club and I'm pretty sure they only sell to restaurants. They do a nice food pairing at one of the tasting rooms. Also, I'm a fan of the Siduri wines. I don't think they are distributed in stores either.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Pandora

                    Siduri wines are available in wine shops like K&L and the Wine Club. However, they will only carry one or two of the many wines that Siduri produces.

                  2. In Napa Valley I know of a couple places off the top of my head. V. Sattui and Castello de Amorosa near St. Helena both sell their wines at the winery only. In Yountville, Jessup Cellars has a tasting room. This is the only place you can buy their wines. I'm not much of a wine drinker, so I can't speak for the quality of their wines. You can always do a little tasting while you're there. :)

                    1. I have gotten superb winery/list only wines at Ridge, navarro, and Tulocay, all worth a visit. Tulocay's "tasting room" is the back porch, call for a visit appointment and directions (no signs).

                      1. I'm not sure what you're asking.

                        There are many wineries whose wines are so prized that none of them make it into retail distribution, and those wines are only sold to restaurants and sometimes at the winery.

                        That might be what you mean.

                        Then there are individual wines at wineries that are not made in large enough quantities to make it into retail distribution. Small case lots, that sort of thing.

                        There are wines that are only sold in Napa Valley or Sonoma County where they are made, but are not sold even in San Francisco, or throughout California or the United States.

                        Then there are wines that are so bad, or so weird, that they are not distributed.

                        So, lots of different ways to interpret what you mean. I'll try to help more if I know what you're looking for, and the type of wine.

                        You've received some great recs here, as well as some truly horrid ones.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: maria lorraine

                          Prized wines - YES
                          Small lots - YES
                          Sold only locally - YES
                          I personally prefer reds; Meritage, Pinot Noir, Zin, Cab.
                          My intent is to buy some good wine that they would otherwise be unable to purchase without coming to Northern CA.

                          1. re: DonZ

                            No list exists, as SF Dude says.

                            You can seek out boutique wineries, or do a Google search of Napa wines available only at the winery.

                            http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&am...

                          2. re: maria lorraine

                            maria lorraine, I appreciate your comments and would like to know which recommendations you liked

                          3. Plump Jack is only available at their winery and at a wine store in SF. The wine is fantastic and they are supposedly the "original" winery that brought the screw cap top to high-class wine.

                            1. Joseph Swan - I've never seen any in stores or restaurants. They only produce around 3000 cases total per year.
                              I also second Novy/Siduri.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jsgjewels

                                I've gotten some of Joseph Swan's production at K&L.

                                I'd recommend the OP just visit K&L in San Francisco and ask the staff for help finding obscure small production local wines. K&L's sales associates are very knowledgeable and you'll avoid buying something awful like Sattui.

                              2. Although occasionally (very, very occasionally) available at some local shops and restaurants, Cakebread Cellars (Napa) makes incredible, unique wine.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jdinsf

                                  Though Cakebread makes some good wine, by no means are their wines unique.

                                  They're very typical, good Napa Valley wines.

                                2. Field Stone Winery in Healdsburg has a very limited distribution, if any.

                                  Here's a link: http://www.healdsburg-california.com/...