Go Inside Wine Country’s Coolest CavesAuthor:Annette Hanami
Formerly a silent repository for precious wines, today’s wine caves beckon with sparkling lights, mesmerizing art and the tinkle of wine glasses. Slip away from the summer heat with these cool wine caves you won’t want to leave!
Dripping with Style at HALL Rutherford (above)
Only an art collector extraordinaire and former Ambassador to Austria could fathom the possibilities for a jaw-dropping, showcase chandelier for Hall Winery’s Rutherford caves. Inspired by Donald Lipski’s hanging sculpture in Manhattan’s Grand Central Station, Kathryn and Craig Hall commissioned Lipski and Jonquil LeMaster to create “Chilean Red”—an anagram for chandelier. The result is a massive representation of an intricate grapevine root system breaking through the ground above with 1,500 brilliant and multi-faceted Swarovski crystals.
Befitting the grandeur of “Chilean Red” and the sculpture-filled alcoves along the way, the cave was hand-finished by Friedrich Gruber and his team with brick and limestone sourced from noble Austrian castles built between 1804 and 1918. 56 Auberge Road, Rutherford
Understated Elegance at Rudd Oakville Estate
The timeless quality of Rudd Estate wines resound in this restrained but impressive setting that exudes confidence.
Designed by Olle Lundberg, the cave’s discrete lighting downplays the beauty and gravitas of the two 20-foot reclaimed redwood slabs that anchor the space. By appointment only. 500 Oakville Crossroad, Oakville
Venetian Glam at Del Dotto Vineyards in Saint Helena
One is transported to the Veneto in Del Dotto’s grand, skylit tasting room meticulously designed with marble pillars, mosaic floors and stained glass. But the showcase pieces are the 12 gorgeous, hand-blown Murano glass chandeliers illuminating the main tasting room and the caves, including a fabulous black Murano above the tasting counter.
In the caves, the chandeliers are beautifully set-off by the rough-cut marble walls, antique terra cotta tiles on the ceiling and white crystalline marble trim, all from Italy. If you can take your eyes off the chandeliers, a wine educator will lead you on a barrel-tasting of wines from Del Dotto’s strategic Napa Valley vineyards. An added bonus: house-cured, melt-in-your-mouth salumi. 1445 South St. Helena Hwy., St. Helena
Industrial Modern at CADE Winery on Howell Mountain
The first thing that catches your eye in the cave at CADE Winery is a long and sleek blending table that anchors the great room. Designed and forged by Napa Artist Richard Von Saal from a defunct submarine and reclaimed steel from the former US Naval Base at Mare Island, the table echoes CADE’s sustainable approach and masculine aesthetic.
If you want to come up for air, the very modern winery serves up “modern” style Howell Mountain cabernet sauvignon, and a great view, in the lux tasting room upstairs.
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