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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
Members, Email Dan to reserve your spot on this Road Trip.
Olivia Brion wines
With Kira Detko, Winemaker/Partner
At Palladian Vineyard, St Helena
Tasting of current releases and barrel samples with the talented, engaging Kira Detko. We’ll taste Rosé, White Blend, Tempranillo and more.
Dancing Crow Vineyard
With Tony Cartlidge, owner
At Dancing Crow’s Vineyard in Lake County
We have the pleasure of tasting in the vineyards (weather permitting) with the engaging Tony Cartlidge. We’ll taste the Dancing Crow Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon: current vintages and future releases.
What you need to know about Road Trips
- To attend, one must me a Member of DDWA and can bring one guest.Not 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.
“My wife and I are locals, who have been living in the Napa Valley for thirty years. About a year ago, we joined Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor Club as a way to learn more about some of the wonderful boutique wineries and winemakers that we are blessed to have as neighbors. Dan has not disappointed. We have had some great experiences traveling with Dan on some short road trips to learn about and taste a wonderful variety of excellent wines. The annual membership fee of $60 is worth every penny and much, much more. I was so impressed by our last road trip tasting that I just purchased two more memberships as gifts for our friends.”
Jim and Lori Haugen – Napa, CA
“My husband Bill and I have been lucky enough to have had many wine country experiences. In this light, the Road Trip to Oakville Ranch and Fortunati far exceeded our expectations and are now among our very favorite Napa moments. Thanks to you, Dan. We’re SO glad we joined your club and grateful for the thought you put into the day. Our DDWA Membership paid for itself on our first participation. I have and will continue to recommend the DDWA membership to my friends and colleagues as it is a great way to expand your wine knowledge and appreciation. Looking forward to the next Road Trip.”
Karen W of Napa, CA
“Just became a Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor member and joined Dan on his recent mid-July Road Trip to Robert Craig. This was an intimate group of wine enthusiasts who enjoyed an off-the-beaten-path wine experience in a gorgeous setting atop Howell Mountain. While the tasting would have been terrific on its own, being able to have real-time access to Dan’s insight and perspective made the experience even more enjoyable and educational. Look forward to the next tasting field trip!”
Robin and Michael from Atlanta, GA
“On a sunny July day, my wife and I got to accompany Dan and a group of like-minded wine enthusiasts to Robert Craig winery atop Howell Mountain. We enjoyed spectacular wines along with an expansive view of Napa Valley below us. It was truly extraordinary to be able to see each of the peaks that the mountain appellation cabernets came from as we tasted them. Thanks to Dan’s knowledge and connections for allowing us to visit wineries ‘off the beaten path’ – Sign us up for the next road trip!”
Alan and Lynn Johnson, Napa Valley
“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
First stop is the Carneros Estate of Truchard Vineyards, where GM Anthony Truchard welcomed us with wine, views and stories. We tasted Truchard Roussanne, Chardonnay, “Old Block” Pinot Noir, Syrah and “Cave Block” Cabernet Sauvignon.
Then we went to The Studio by Feast It Forward in Downtown Napa for a tasting of Coho Wines with Founder/Owner Gary Lipp. We tasted Coho Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and “Headwaters” Red Blend. We had our fill of outstanding wines on this Road Trip. Health and safety protocols were enforced. Enjoying oneself was absolutely required!
Friday, July 24
With Élan Fayard, owner
We enjoyed the summer in the vineyards with Azur Rosé, Azur Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Proprietary Red Blend. I brought the cheese along.
Saturday, July 25
With Lee Hudson, founder and owner
At Hudson Ranch Estate in Carneros
Lee Hudson led us on a tour of the Hudson Gardens then poured us six Hudson Ranch estate wines.
Purchase of the Hudson Ranch Grenache/Grenache Rosé 4 pack admitted two to this tasting.
Friday, February 28
1) Dirty & Rowdy Wines.
With Hardy Wallace, owner/winemaker.
At Sugarloaf Crush
They dynamic, great-guy Hardy Wallace welcomed DDWA members for a complimentary tasting of his Dirty & Rowdy wines. We tasted current release Chenin Blanc, “Familiar” Mourvedre, “Shake Ridge” Mourvedre, “Enz Vineyard” Mourvedre, GSM from Chalone and barrel samples of “Enz” and “Evangelho.” What a tasting! Best ever.
2) Apsara Cellars and Library Collection
With Robin Akhurst, owner/winemaker
At Clos Pegase Winery.
Robin poured us his current-release Sparkling Wine, Cabernet Sauvignons, Chardonnays and Syrah. We finished with barrel samples of 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon. It was a great tasting led by the talented, congenial, well-spoken Robin Akhurst.
Friday, January 31, 2020
1) ST. ROMEDIUS WINES
Owner/Winemaker Robert Pintacsi welcomed us to his winery where we tasted his current release wines and wines from barrel. Robert makes delicious and unique red and white blends. Read my reviews here.
2) NEIMAN CELLARS
Owner/Winemaker Drew Neiman welcomed us to his tasting salon north of Napa for a sit-down tasting of his current release wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, Merlot, Red Blend). Mr. Neiman has gone to great lengths to choose the perfect cheeses to pair with his wines…we enjoyed the cheese pairing as well.
Friday, November 15, 2019
We went to Poseidon Vineyard & Obsidian Ridge’s winemaking facility on 8th Street East, Sonoma. Winemaker Alex Beloz and GM J.J. McCarthy hosted us and poured current release wines plus barrel samples.
DAVID CLINTON WINES
Co-owners and winemakers Clint Holdsworth and David Huang welcomed us (in Napa) for a tasting of their just-released 2016 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandels “Mounts Vineyard” and “Teldeschi Vineyard.”
Friday, October 25, 2019
Owners Barry and Rosemary Murphy welcomed us at Farm Restaurant at The Carneros Inn for a visit and tasting of their just released 2017 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and 2015 Napa Valley, Bordeaux-style Red.
Friday, September 20, 2019
“From The Mountains To The Valley Below”
CLIF FAMILY WINERY
We’ drove up to Clif Family’s 10 acre organic Estate vineyard on Howell Mountain. Great visit with Clif Family winemaker Laura Barrett and a tasting of Howell Mountain wines and others let be host Tom Inners.
We coasted down Howell Mountain to Pestoni Family in Rutherford. Co-owner/winemaker Andy Pestoni poured us 2019 partially fermented Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel juice. Then a barrel tasting of 2018 Cabs before a tasting of current release wines. Loads of fun.
Tuesday, August 20, 2019:
OAKVILLE RANCH WINERY
Up the Vaca Mountain Range to Oakville Ranch Vineyard and Winery. Awesome vineyard tour and tasting with General Manager Shelia Gentry. The views at Oakville Ranch are ridiculous!
1 PM: FORTUNATI WINERY
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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
FARM COLLECTIVE and T-VINE Wines
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 and BEDROCK WINE COMPANY
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:
GREEN & RED VINEYARD
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:
GROUNDED 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:
Y ROUSSEAU WINERY
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.