A Visit to Vine Cliff Winery’s New Tasting Room


Vine Cliff Winery is no longer one of Napa Valley’s best-kept secrets. The 100-acre family-owned, historic estate recently opened a new satellite tasting room on Napa Valley’s high-profile Highway 29. The challenge—how to translate the feeling of the majestic Oakville property with rolling hills and wine caves into an intimate space on Napa Valley’s busiest thoroughfare.

Main Tasting Room

Enter Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects. The renowned Northern California firm worked with Vine Cliff Winery to renovate the site, a 1940s masonry building that had become a warren of dark rooms. “It was a mess,” says principal John Taft who headed the renovation with principal Howard Backen. Leaving only external walls, the team created what Taft describes as “internal space” by designing a soaring great room with an expansive skylight. A large pocketing steel-and-glass door transitions to a screened porch flanked by two petite gardens— the central fireplace makes the indoor-outdoor space perfect for a picnic any day of the year.

Screened Porch With Fireplace

Vine Cliff Winery also has two private tasting rooms for small receptions and catered events. The interiors are “comfortable and not intimidating,” says winery owner Nell Sweeney, who brought a personal touch to sourcing all the furnishings. Ready to visit? Try some of Nell’s favorites—the 2009 Proprietress Reserve Chardonnay and the 2009 Private Stock Cabernet Sauvignon.

No secret—they’re delicious.


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