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Oct 8, 2012 09:00 AM

Best Wine Club with Over-the-top Food and Wine Events ?

When at the Pink Mansion last year we met a couple who just raved and raved about V Satui's wine club and their fabulous food and wine galas.

Does anyone know of any other wineries who, of course, make good wine, but also have great (over the top) annual events?

For those of us who are not lucky enough to live in CA, a great event would be a wonderful thing to plan a trip around

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  1. I don't know personally of any (Ridge's Montebello subscribers get a pretty good party every year - but it's a subscription to futures in one wine - not sure if that would be of interest).

    Personally, every where else I'm interested in is rather low key (or is more of a mailing list than a club). Try Mondavi, BV, Silver Oak, Duckhorn, Chateau Montelena, Joseph Phelps etc. It's usually the bigger producers who do those type of events.

    1 Reply
    1. re: goldangl95

      thanks goldang, will check into those you mention

    2. Many moons ago I did a tour at Jarvis and during the tour they took us into a ballroom with huge geodes and mentioned that every year there is a big gala bash for the wine club members. I am not sure if they still do it as the tour was more than a decade ago and money was flowing in the Bay Area.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Scott M

        I just checked the website and it is called the Harvest Ball. It appears that they now do it every other year instead of every year. Wine club members get two complimentary tickets. It is happening this year (actually this Saturday) so that would mean no event next year.

        1. re: Scott M

          thanks so much for the lead Scott. Timing is everything, huh. Are you a big fan of their wine?

          1. re: Ambiance

            The only time I had the wine was on the tour. It was well made and had enough structure to cellar. I don't see it much on store shelves. It was solid wine and the tour was entertaining. Worth checking out to see if it is the style of wine you like. I have really moved away from drinking Napa/Sonoma wine over the years. I guess living out here for so long you start to explore different wine regions after you saturate yourself.

            1. re: Scott M

              I understand. It's just that I don't get any real satisfaction unless it's a cab. I like a lot of other kinds of wine and regions, but don't love them.

              If you have someone visit who wants to go to Napa - check out Caldwell Vineyards. Like I posted below - fabulous wine, beautiful setting high above Napa, and you sit with the owner who is a very colorful character who smuggled Italian vines in an scammed the USDA by finding local vines to show the inspectors when they came.

        2. Gotta be honest and say that V. Sattui is apparently an acquired taste wine-wise. Of ALL the wineries in Napa it seems to get the lowest marks from true oenophiles. That's not to say you won't enjoy the wine there, but it has never really been of the quality it should be for where it is and the "company" it keeps in that neighborhood. I've been there several times and have found the wine sub-par and the staff really rather pushy. I call it the Wine Walmart of Napa.

          The owners were smart enough to be get the permitting to allow tour buses, a deli, and picnic certification for their property and are (AFIK) the only ones who have. So they're VERY popular, but something like the Two-Buck Chuck of Napa, in terms of wine quality comparison.

          It's profitable enough to allow the owners to build the Castello di Amorosa up the road, which doesn't get much more respect. But................... the best wine is the wine YOU like, so ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Just my 2ยข

          1 Reply
          1. re: Midlife

            Thanks for the warning. I had never heard anything good about V Satui...but this couple (mafia types who flew in from Jersey) just made the gala sound so spectacular. It even lasted all through the night with breakfast at the end. No, definitely don't want to join a club without great wine. What's the point?

          2. Merryvale and Ceja do very nice pickup parties for their members. Merryvale events tend to be catered, while Ceja features amazing Mexican food cooked by the family. Check out their websites for more information.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Ian F

              thanks Ian, will check out. Do you like their wines? So many of the great wineries don't sell their wine to the masses. Our favorite is Caldwell Vineyards high above Napa. Fabulous place, fabulous wine, by appointment only. The owner is a real character and he takes you into his cave for generous tastings and hors d'oeuvres with him. He tells the story about smuggling vines in from Italy. Check it out if you ever have a chance. My favorite is Rocket Science cab

              1. re: Ambiance

                For Merryvale, I am in their reds only club, and do love their wines. They are a bit overpriced but their pickup parties and liberal policies for bringing guests for tastings takes the sting out.

                For Ceja, I love both their reds and whites as well as their recently introduced sparklers. It is a family business so there is a decidedly non-corporate feel.

                I will have to check Caldwell out. Thanks for the recommendation.

            2. Bella not only makes great, reasonable zins and cabs but also have nice events for their club members like wine dinners in their caves. As an aside, you don't need to be a club member to attend some of the nice wine dinners at various properties. Just need to look up various wineries and their events to see what is coming up. We did a fabulous harvest lunch with the winemaker and his staff at Failla. They o these through oct. we did a cooking class/wine dinner outside at Hartford which was incredible. Arista has a winemakers dinner coming up. I'd suggest getting on an mail list at our favorite wineries or just doing some research.