Yesterday, the facility was nearly empty. There is a $25/person fee to enter the grounds. This fee grants you access to the Chateau and museum and a tasting of five Estate wines, including their signature wine -- Rubicon. My guests enjoyed the wines, but the experience was too regimented for my taste.
Upon entry to the grounds, a staff member briefly describes the new rules and gives you an audio guide that explains them in more detail as you drive down the entry way. A second staff member takes back the audio guide. You then go to the valet stand, where you hand over your keys and receive your passport. Upon entry to the Chateau, your passport must be stamped at the concierge desk. After your tasting and visit, you return to a different valet stand, pay your $25/person fee, and get your car back. (Designated drivers are not charged.)
While the wine may be top notch, the team at the winery forgot one rule -- Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS). Winetasting is a leisurely experience. While the absence of crowds is a real plus, the experience comes across too much like an army drill.
Rubicon Estate is located Rutherford. The Chateau is open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday between Memorial Day and Labor Day.)
If you want to take a private, custom tour of the Napa Valley, please call me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me by clicking here.