(http://robertcraigwine.ewinerysolutions.com/ ) who was just sitting down to have her dinner. (Pictured here)
She had a long day at the winery tasting room preparing for the Saturday, December 3, 2011, celebration of their 19th anniversary of operations. We discussed their wines in general and the location of the vineyards and winery all of which certainly perked my interest to know more about the vineyards and winery. She invited me to attend the celebration and I quickly accepted. It was held for wine club members and other invited guests.
When I returned home I immediately went to their web site and learned that the event was also their 6th Annual Holiday Party to be held at their downtown Napa tasting salon (625 Imperial Way at the intersection with Jordon Lane), just a long block off Soscol Avenue and very close to Cuvee Napa. From the web site I learned that their winery facility is located high up Howell Mountain on Summit Lake Drive close to the town of Angwin.
The event started at 2 pm and by 3 pm it was filled elbow to elbow with well wishers and wine
tasters a bunch.
They were offering tastes of new releases -- the 2010 Durell Chardonnay, 2008 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and 2009 Zinfandel-Howell Mountain --, in addition to their current releases and some library wines all of which was presented with great appetizers and a four piece group playing soft jazz-like music in the background. The first wine tasted was the new release 2010 Durell Chardonnay, (Sonoma Valley) lightly oaked and no Malolactic Fermentation which was very much to my liking. This is the style of Chardonnay I find most enjoyable as the fruit is still recognizable.
All the rest of the wines I tasted were reds. They included from their current releases the 2008 Affinity Cab (Magnum), 2008 Howell Mountain Cab (Magnum), 2008 Mt, Veeder Cab (Magnum) and new release 2009 Zinfandel from Howell Mountain. From the Library wines I tasted 2006 Affinity Cab, 2006 Howell Mountain Cab and the 2006 Mt. Veeder Cab. To my palate I was wowed by the 2006 Mt. Veeder Cab. My next favorite wines where the Chardonnay, 2008 Mt. Veeder Cab (Magnum) and the 2009 Zinfandel from Howell Mountain. However, all of the wines tasted were very good.
From their web site I learned that the winemaker is Stephen Tebb. Tebb’s holds a B.S. Degree from University of California, Davis. Stephen started his winemaking career with atesa Vineyards & Winery located in the Carneros District within Napa County. He then moved to Clos LaChance of the Central Coast where he guided all winemaking and the estate vineyard programs. Stephen returned to Napa Valley in the Fall of 2008 to become winemaker at Robert Craig Winery.
If you would like to learn more about his philosophy, you can read an interview with him conducted by “Behind the Burner” at
“Behind the Burner is an emerging culinary media brand that creates expert-based content about food, wine, mixology and nutrition. We package the best tips, tricks and techniques from our network of over 500 master chefs, mixologists, restaurateurs and other culinary visionaries and serve them to our viewers in the form of videos, articles and blogs. Our videos are syndicated on TV to NBC New York Nonstop as well as 49 online media properties.”
Founder/Owner Robert Craig (pictured above talking with the guests) comes from a distinguished career in the wine industry. While he was serving as General Manager for the Hess Collection Winery on Mt. Veeder during the 1980’s, he developed 300 acres of vineyard land. While there he was a major player in developing the Mt. Veeder Appellation application and review process and then he provided consulting services on the development of the Spring Mountain Appellation. He started his own winery in 1992 with three others. His first wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon, was released in 1995. Seven years later in 2002, they completed their state-of- the-art winery on the summit of Howell Mountain. Tours of the winery site are arranged by appointment only and I am certainly anxious to visit the site.