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There’s another way to taste in Wine Country, wherever that may be, than the tried & true methods. I have bellied up to many a wine tasting bar and had a fine time. I have also enjoyed the talents of hospitality staff at medium to large wineries in Napa and beyond. Respects to all methods of hospitality. If the wines are good and your “wine ambassador,” if you will, is a pro, you’re sure to have a great time. Today I’m promoting a different kind of experience.

Yannick Rousseau Tasting

Below the grandeur of Napa Valley wine and the famed lifestyle that goes with it are the modest-sized wineries run by passionate, hard-working, humble winemakers and proprietors. A visit to these wineries is (usually) a sit-down with the owner. There is no tasting staff beyond family, and that’s rare. Sporadic tasting appointments and tighter-than-most-realize margins equate to no budget for tasting staff. And that’s OK for most winery owners because they like to know their customers and tell their stories.

I’m reminded of this OTHER WAY to taste in Wine Country by my visits to Coho and Y Rousseau Wineries this week. Gary Lipp (Coho) and Yannick Rousseau (Y Rousseau) are the respective co-owners and faces of these family-owned, outstanding wineries. Granted I’ve known Gary and Yannick for many years, so arranging my visit was a snap. That said, anyone with a love and desire for delicious wine can do the same…if you’re a DDWA Member I’m happy to help arrange your visit.

Free wine advice from a former Napa wine shop owner & sommelier

I just reviewed 4 Coho Wines and 5 Y Rousseau Wines, all current releases and available from the winery. Each wine stands on its own for being unique, tasty and an excellent value among its peers. Please spend a few minutes to read my reviews and contact the winery for a visit and/or wine order. Be sure to tell them I sent you.

Back to wine tasting. There’s a shared energy I find with owner-hosted, up-close tastings that I find guests universally enjoy. It’s calm, mellow like a spa treatment, stripped down to the essence of the wines and how they came to be. The wines lead the tasting and the owners escort you down the path the wines lead you. I submit the reason for this is that the owners have put their souls into the wine, and that’s where we find them as we imbibe.Gary Lipp Tasting

The Coho Wines are available for tasting and purchase at the just-opened Feast It Forward Studio in Napa’s Oxbow District. Contact Coho directly to arrange a tasting with Gary (he travels a lot, so advance notice and a flexible schedule is helpful). You’ll find Gary has a little insight on just about everything from baseball to politics (if you dare) to music to wine.

Yannick welcomes guests to Y Rousseau Winery in South Napa’s light industrial district. Along with delicious Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay, Yannick makes wines of his homeland, Gascony, France: Colombard and Tannat. He’s such a nice guy and full of information on his wines and how they compare to their French counterparts. The cheese and charcuterie he includes in the tasting is nice touch too.

If you’d like more suggestions on how to visit Napa Valley and other wine regions up close, become a DDWA Member. By joining, you get access to more wineries like Coho and Y Rousseau, winery-direct discounts and deals on wine tastings. Join today!

Thanks for reading. Drink well!