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Wish you could be a wine-tasting insider?

You know, taste wine with the winemakers. Maybe a little barrel tasting. Really get to know the wine that’s in your glass. A little less wine country pomp and circumstance and more about the wine and the vineyard from which it comes. How would you like that?

Here’s your chance.

I often hit the wine road to taste, catch up with friends in the wine business and find new wines to recommend to the wine-world. I got to thinking the other day that my members would really enjoy these tastings, and the more the merrier! What do you think? Care to join me at these tastings? After the calendar is information about how these tastings work.

Members of Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor are welcome to join me on Road Trips at no cost.
It’s easy to become a member. Join Here.


Road Trip Calendar

Tuesday, August 20, 2019:

We’ll twist and turn to the top of the Vaca Mountain Range and end up at Oakville Ranch Vineyard and Winery. Private tour of the big property and tasting with GM Shelia Gentry. The views at Oakville Ranch are ridiculous!


Husband/wife owners Gary and Ellen Luchtel will welcome us their new winery on Salvador Avenue in north Napa. We’ll taste current releases and if we’re lucky some barrel samples too.

2nd Road Trip stop this day to be determined. 

What you need to know about Road Trips

  • To attend, one must me a Member of DDWA and can bring one guest.Scott Schultz Jolie LaideNot a member yet? JOIN HERE.
  • Please contact me to reserve your spot(s) in the tasting. Space is limited.
  • There is no cost to attend.
  • The hosting winery and I reserve the right to change the date and/or time of the tasting. Just being honest: things happen sometimes. I don’t expect changes, but super-intimate tastings like this are vulnerable to date changes compared to large-scale events. 
  • Purchasing wine is not required but the winery and I request that you do consider buying if you like what you taste.
  • It’s up to you to get to the tasting venue (usually the winery). I’ll meet you there.
  • I want you to have a good time, but no partying!
  • Regarding having a good time – I’ve done countless such tastings, and I’ve found those in attendance who are not in the wine business have a great time because a) they learn so much about the wines tasted and wine in general, and b) it’s such a unique experience.

“In late October, I got the chance to accompany Dan and others on one of his road trips. Being able to taste Bohème’s single-vineyard Chardonnays and Pinots with vintner/owner Kurt Beitler in the redwood-studded privacy of the Stuller vineyard as well enjoy the uber-boutique wines of Jolie-Laide poured by vinter/owner Scott Schultz with his hands still stained from incoming Syrah grapes from the acclaimed Halcón vineyard is something mere mortals rarely get to do. Thank you to Dan for providing a truly unforgettable day!”
Robert from Calistoga, CA

Past Road Trips

Friday, August 2, 2019:


Owner/winemaker Mike Hirby welcomed us for a tasting of current release and a barrel taste of Relic Charbono. Outstanding. Everyone brought a hunk of cheese which I cut and assembled for a grand cheese platter.

Friday, July 12, 2019:


A dozen DDWA Members enjoyed the Robert Craig “Howell Mountain Experience.” A drive to the top of Howell Mountain, a visit to their Estate Vineyards, and then an al fresco tasting at their winery. A very special trip.

Friday, June 7, 2019:


John and Ashley Derr

We drove up near the top of Mt Veeder for a tasting at Lampyridae Vineyards, owned and farmed by John and Ashley Derr.

Walk to the top of the property where you can see Napa Valley to the east and San Francisco to the Southwest. Then a tasting on the deck with lunch. Great way to spend lunchtime!

Friday, March 29, 2019. Two visits.

Tres Sabores Winery

With Julie Johson, Owner/Winemaker
Tucked up against the Mayacamas Mountains on the Rutherford Bench, Tres Sabores is beautiful, small slice of Napa Valley.  Julie Johnson greeted us and shared her story of Tres Sabores. Tasted her current releases. Doesn’t get much better than this, folks.

Palladian and Miss Olivia Brion

With David Mahaffey, Winemaker Emeritus
Almost directly across the valley from Tres Sabores, on the Silverado Trial, is Palladian Vineyard and Winery. David greeted us and poured us the latest Estate Cabernet and library wines from Palladian plus Miss Olivia Brion Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and white blend from “Heron Lake Vineyard.”

Friday, March 1, 2019:


With Geoff Davies and Rachel Stellareese-Davies, co-owners/winemakers, Stellareese
Up Howell Mountain we went to Outpost Winery, the wine production home of Stellareese Winery.  Rachel and Geoff greeted us with their 2015 “Marcey’s Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon from Calistoga, then Grenache and Chardonnay from barrel.

And John Giannini, owner/winemaker, Cresta Velia
After our Stellareese tasting, John poured and told us about his Cresta Velia Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast and Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon.

Friday, February 1, 2019. Two visits:


With Robbie Meyer, co-owner/winemaker.
We tasted with Robbie his current-release Sonoma County Chardonnays & Pinot Noirs and Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Red Blend.
At Brasswood Winery, 3111 St Helena Highway, Highway 29 between St Helena and Calistoga.


With Michaela Rodeno, co-owner.
This microscopic family winery specializes in Sangiovese. I think they make the best Sangio in California. Michaela Rodeno hosted us and poured us their current releases and their yet-to-be-released 2018 Rosato di Sangiovese.

Friday, December 14: two visits
Dan Dawson and Bertus van Zyl


With Chris Hansen, General Manager
We spend an hour with Chris and learn about the importance and craft of  oak wine barrels.
Seguin Moreau: 151 Camino Dorado, Napa

Friday, December 14, 1:15 PM:

With Bertus van Zyl, winemaker.
We’ll taste current releases and barrel samples of soon-to-be-bottled Zinfandels with Bertus.
Tasting is at the winery: 396 Devlin Road, Napa.


Friday, November 30:
Sonoma Square for two visits
Odisea/Cochon Wines  

11 AM  (Visit #1):
BOHÈME Wines in Occidental

Owner/Winemaker Kurt Beitler will lead a tasting of his Sonoma Coast wines. We’ll have a vineyard tour, current release tasting and maybe some barrel tasting.

Thursday, October 25
1 PM  (Visit #2)
JOLIE-LAIDE Wines in Sebastopol 

Owner/Winemaker Scott Schultz will greet us at his winemaking facility located at The Barlow in Sebastopol. We’ll taste his four fall release wines: Trousseau Gris, Grenache and two Syrahs. All will be available for purchase.

Monday, September 17:

We’ll meet Neyers winemaker Tadeo Borchardt for some barrel tasting and current release wines in a very casual atmosphere. Neyers makes wines from all over Northern California, so this is a particularly good tasting to learn about NorCal Wine Country.

Monday, September 17:

Owner/Winemaker Jay Heminway will taste us on the Green & Red current release wines. The vineyard, tucked away and secluded on the side of a hill in Chiles Valley, is a true wine-insider’s visit.

Monday, July 23:
Dan Petroski LarkmeadGROUNDED WINE CO.
with Josh Phelps, Owner & Winemaker 
Tasting was at Clos Pegase Winery, Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga.
My first tasting of Grounded wines. Read my reviews here. I’ve known Josh peripherally for a few years. Great guy…super hospitable and savvy.

Monday, July 23:
with Winemaker Dan Petroski.

Dan poured us barrel samples of the 2017 Larkmead wines and filled us with knowledge and insight of Larkmead and the 2017 vintage.  Dan is a wealth of wine information and has a skill of blending science, art and romance in his wine explanations. This was a perfect example of a unique, priceless DDWA Road Trip.

Tuesday, July 17:
With Yannick Rousseau, Owner & Winemaker
Tasting was at Y Rousseau Winery, 902 Enterprise Way, Suite O, Napa.
Yannick, born and raised in Gascony, France, has mastered two grapes of his homeland: Colombard and Tannat.
Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are also part of his repertoire. Read my reviews of his wines here.
All his wines are delicious, honest examples of their grape and place.

Sunday, September 2, 2 PM:

We’ll have a quick vineyard tour then a tasting of Navarro’s delicious and great-value wines (see their site for all the wines they make). Be prepared, you will want to buy at least a case, maybe more!
Tasting is at Navarro: 5601 Hwy 128, Philo, CA  95466
*Since Navarro is 2+ hours drive from Napa, there will be another winery visit either in Anderson Valley or Northern Sonoma County. Ask Dan what else he has in mind.