Wine Country Agenda: WALT Wines, Trefethen Now, Doug Aitken Install, Meet At La Calenda


The Pinot Option at WALT Wines New Tasting Room in Downtown Napa

All WALT Wines photos by John Bedell Photography

Across the street from Oxbow Public Market in Downtown Napa is a darling cottage where WALT Wines has opened a second, convenient location to taste its range of Pinot Noir wines originating from the Willamette Valley in Oregon to the Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara. Inside, SF interior designer Carol Padham creates a calming, airy design with a selection of owners Kathryn Walt Hall and Craig Hall’s personal art collection, showcasing the Hall’s love of modern with a custom, 3-dimensional tasting bar with Italian porcelain countertop, under faceted LED globes. The renovated 1,500 square foot tasting room is designed with green features by Jarrod Denton of Signum Architecture.

Pinot lovers have the option of a $30 pp tasting of current release regional Pinot Noir or a more extensive “Root 101” tasting ($60 pp) with prior booking, a seated food and wine pairing of single-vineyard Pinot Noir and bites prepared by local eatery Carpe Diem. The new tasting room also offers portfolio tasting of the Hall’s brands of WALT, HALL Cabernet and BACA Zinfandel ($30 pp). Open daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 605 1st Street, Downtown Napa.

A Restoration of a Landmark Launches the Next Generation at Trefethen

The 2014 earthquake triggered major changes at Trefethen Family Vineyards, one of Napa Valley’s 20th Cent. pioneers established in 1968, including a fully restored winery damaged by the tremor, new hospitality spaces and programs, and a new generation guiding its direction. But the core values of this family-owned winery remains the same with its all-estate wines, food and wine lifestyle and sustainable practices. The original 19th century winery, the last surviving wooden winery in Napa and listed with National Register of Historic Places, was designed by Hamden McIntyre whose other iconic works include Far Niente, Inglenook, Chateau Montelena, Beaulieu Vineyards and the CIA’s Greystone Cellars. Post-earthquake, SF architect Taylor Lombardo undertook the restoration and retrofit, maintaining the original Douglas Fir balloon-framing and all-redwood siding. A new loft tasting room was added where visitors can taste a variety of their famous Riesling and Chardonnay wines, and cooler-climate reds.

The Villa, photo by Robb McDonough

Under the direction of 3rd generation siblings Hailey and Lorenzo, Trefethen has also expanded its hospitality spaces by opening up the former family ‘villa’, a ca. 1920s craftsman with beautiful interior details, hidden from the main winery with lush, mature gardens and lawns planted over 40 years ago. Here, two new luxury food and wine experiences begin in October Taste the Estate ($100 pp), a 90-minute discovery of the family’s early adoption of culinary programs since the 1970s, over an acre of bountiful culinary gardens and pairing of four wines with garden-to-table bites.

Lorenzo Trefethen, photo by Robb McDonough

The Legacy Tasting ($175 pp) is personally hosted by Lorenzo Trefethen showcasing the arc of the family story and values illustrated by a visit to Katie’s Acre Chardonnay vineyard, the restored winery, gardens and ending at the villa with the ultimate tasting of their smallest production, distinctive wines including the inaugural 100% Merlot, The Cowgirl and The Pilot, paired with seasonal delicacies by Winery Chef Chris Kennedy.

Trefethen Family Vineyards, open daily. The Taste the Estate (daily at 3 p.m.) and Legacy Tasting are by advance reservation only. 1160 Oak Knoll Avenue.

New Doug Aitken Commission at Donum Estate

Photos courtesy Doug Aitken and The Donum Estate

Adding to the world-class, monumental outdoor sculpture collection at Donum Estate in Carneros is a new installation by LA artist Doug Aitken Sonic Mountain (Sonoma). Mimicking wind chimes, the work is stirring and interactive within a lush grove, changing constantly during Carneros’ daily weather patterns and evolving seasons. In its movements and harmonies, the work explores the fluidity of time.

Officially opening September 8, Donum Estate owners Allan and Mei Warburg said of the new work, “Donum means ‘gift’ in Latin and working with some of the world’s greatest artists, such as Doug, is just that. His sculpture perfectly embodies our mission to harmoniously weave art throughout the Donum landscape and creat new perspectives and experiences in unifying art, wine, and the environment.”

Sonic Mountain (Sonoma) is one of ca. 40 mesmerizing, statement-making sculptures created by renowned artists such as Keith Haring, Ai Weiwei, Yayoi Kusama, Jaume Plensa, Subodh Gupta and many more, popping out against 200 acres of rolling landscape and SF architect Matt Hollis’ modern, all-white tasting room and winery. Donum Estate is open daily by prior reservation only. Wine and art lovers can experience Donum with a 90-minute tasting and walking tour ($95 pp) or a two-hour private experience via RTV ($150 pp).

A Can’t Resist New Happy Hour at La Calenda in Yountville

La Calenda’s Taco de Barbacoa

Happy hours are at their best when they’re relaxed, casual and Margarita-bound, and infused with fresh, organic ingredients. Thomas Keller’s new Mexican restaurant La Calenda in Yountville recently began offering Happy Hour Mondays-Thursdays from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. where friends can gather and enjoy special pricing on select drinks like their signature Margarita, and $5 tacos like the Taco de Barbacoa.

If you come for meals, La Calenda now also takes reservations for parties up to 10 online, or larger parties booked direct with the restaurant. On the menu are plates, as well as ala carte tacos, enchiladas and tamales including a strong selection of vegetarian and vegan options such as the seasonal Aguachile Tatemado, a really refreshing, light and vegan version of the classic with charred tomatillo, jicama, cucumber and avocado; and the Hoja Santa leaf-wrapped Tamale with beans. Open daily 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. 6518 Washington Street, Yountville

La Calenda’s Vegan Tamal de Frijol y Hoja Santa

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