Monday, January 28, 2008

Stunning Napa Winery

A couple of months ago a tour guide friend told me he had been to the most beautiful winery he'd ever seen: Palmaz Vineyards. Since he has been leading wine country tours for more years than me, I figured I better seen this winery. Last week I had the chance.

Palmaz sits on a hillside overlooking the southern end of the Silverado Trail, just outside of the city of Napa. The winery is built into the side of Mount George in a five-level cave that is equivalent to the height of an 18-story building. The five levels enable the grapes and wine to move by gravity; thus, making pumps unnecessary. This gentle handling of the wine improves its quality says Palmaz, and other winemakers.

The fermentation dome is the world's largest underground reinforced structure at 54 feet high and 71 feet in diameter. The fermentation tanks sit on a carousel that enables the tanks to rotate into place to catch the grapes as they drop from the crusher-destemmer. Each fermentation tank is connected to a central computer so temperatures can be monitored constantly. These high-tech features are unlike any I had ever seen.

If you visit Palmaz, you will get to tour the winery and taste their current release wines paired with cheese or hors d'oeuvres. Palmaz produces two Cabernet Sauvignons, a dry Riesling, Chardonnay, and a sweet Muscat Canellli. The entire experience lasts about 90 minutes and costs $60/person.

While, Palmaz may not be the most beautiful winery I've ever seen, it certainly is one of the most stunning and certainly the highest tech winery I've visited. If you would like to take a private tour of the Napa Valley that includes a visit to Palmaz, please call me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me by clicking here.

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