June 24, 2010

Kal-e-for-knee-a Schramsberg and Benziger

Our journey through Napa included stops at the Schramsberg and Benziger wineries. Both were my favorites and had wonderful tours and tastings.

Schrmansberg sparkling wines are very often served at the White House at State dinners.

The ceiling of the caves at Schramsberg were covered with lichen - kind of reminded me of the Munster's house and Lily Munster blowing cobwebs with the vacuum instead of vacuuming up dust.
Our tasting was held in the caves. The caves were hand dug about a hundred years ago and the walls were quite rough. The temp in caves is constant 56 degrees - perfect for storing wine.

This was one of the original casks from the Schramsberg winery - it was lost in a poker game and many years later, the new owners were able to re-acquire it - in a poker game.

Bottles are loaded on a conveyer belt and filled. The pickers of the bottles load about 120 bottles in about 5 minutes.

On Friday, on our way to my girlfriend's house, we stopped in Glen Ellen, CA at the Benziger Family winery - it is the only certified biodynamic winery in California. The winery uses no fertilizers or pesticides in their production and any vineyards that provide additional grapes to the winery must be, at a minimum, organic.
A bottle brush plant at the Benziger winery.
Inside the caves was a large banquet room used for large tastings and receptions.

There is a small room in the caves for tastings for the wine tours.
More of those absolutely wonderful smelling casks of wine - you could almost get drunk just breathing.
The vineyard also has a small garden area where they grow fruits and vegetables for sale to local restaurants. One thing that amazed me was the amount of olive trees growing in the vineyards. Some wineries are also pressing their own olive oil.
Bird and bat houses draw insect eaters to the property eliminating the need for pesticides.

Rows and rows of grape vines.

There were ponds on the property for reclamation of water from drip irrigation and to catch rain water to use for irrigation. The pond at the top of the picture is covered with a fern that helps to filtrate the water and helps to prevent evaporation.

I was so impressed by this vineyard and their efforts to farm with out chemicals. Both vineyards are a must on your list of places to see in Napa.


Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Totally awesome Ellen and thanks for the tour!

Sue said...

Hi Ellen...your trip to Napa looked wonderful....I would love to go there one day and go hot air ballooning....the husband thinks I'm nutz...he says they always crash and burn...he's no fun!