Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In Photos: A Trip to Inglenook

Summer is nearly upon us and if you're anything like me, visitors have been starting to arrive. Too often their visits, accompanied by a hurried day to fit in a brief trip to Napa, lack planning. But I would like to suggest...planning.

If you have but one day to show them Napa, Inglenook is an absolute must. Try to make your time there unhurried. Best of all, book ahead for a tour which is the best way to see this historic site.

Failing that, you can drop in at the Bistro for tastes and wine by the glass. You can also wander through the museum of Inglenook's past on the first floor which is an absorbing and wonderful display of artefacts, ranging from how Niebaum, the original founder, made his fortune (in the Alaska fur trade business) and what his hopes and dreams were for creating a great winery.

He had originally intended to create a winery in France, but his wife preferred Napa. He was the first Napa vintner to commit to the highest levels of quality, imported European vines, and achieved an international reputation.

Upstairs are several collections of Coppola's including early movie memorabilia and period costumes from the Niebaum era.

You can sift through what's Coppola and what's Niebaum and enjoy what you will.

But make no mistake - this is one of our country's greatest wineries. Its heritage is incomparable. Inglenook's commitment to organic viticulture is the icing on the cake.

So be sure to get there. Is it the wine geek's equivalent of Monticello? Visit and then you can tell me what you think.

The exterior - I wonder if it was originally painted yellow...
I managed to keep the very Italian fountain (added - not original) out of the photo

Enter here

While Coppola restored many wonderful aspects of this property,
this grand staircase is not one of them. This was a plain stone working
winery. The baronial stairway is a complete fabrication,
based on Coppola's aesthetic of theatricality.

There is a very fine collection in display of the winery'
past. This is just one of the many.

The historical gem at Inglenook
Niebaum's original tasting room,
which was never destroyed or messed
with by ensuing owners (who famously did
ruin many things on the  property)

Original tasting room

This section shows Niebaum's Alaska travels - where he made his
fortune in fur trading 
Chandeliers were installed in the barrel room to make a private space
for wedddings and other grand parties.
An original
A private tasting (for me!)
What you get when you buy this estate - lots of old bottles.
I hope the dust is original and not "movie dust"
Tasting our way through the Cabernets

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