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The Tasting Room: Regusci Winery

Regusci Winery
5584 Silverado Trail
Napa, 94558

Hours: 10-5 daily. Although the signs say reservations only, they’re just there to keep away tasters looking for happy hour. Anyone can walk in.

The three-story, heavy-stone buildings sit on a low hill above Silverado Trail and are one of Napa’s “ghost wineries” – original wineries built in the 1800s then later closed and abandoned. This simple-but-graceful, country-style structure was once the Grigsby-Occidental Winery built in 1878. It was decimated by phylloxera and shut down around 1900. Gaetano Regusci bought it in 1932, but used the land to farm and raise cattle. It was re-established as a commercial winery when his son, Angelo, and grandson, Jim, crushed their first vintage in 1996 and reopened in 1998.

They make an elegant Chardonnay and estate Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag’s Leap vineyards.

Atmosphere: The large, old-winery tasting room sits inside the original hand-cut, 2-foot-thick stone walls, and under tall ceilings bolstered by heavy wooden beams. Only the tasting bar, under bright, hanging spotlights, looks modern. The room is filled with old winemaking equipment and fairly reeks of Old World and stability. One wall is the dark wood tasting bar and the other has big windows looking out at an expansive view of the valley.

Service:Very friendly, very casual and yet very serious about wine. They leave the reservation-only sign out to slow down the traffic in the tasting room, because they want visitors to spend some time with their wines. They are not, however, wine snobs, and are happy to answer basic questions or chat about the wines and winery. They just want the experience to be a wine tasting, not a crowded party.

Tasting tools: Good crystal glasses. Spit buckets and bread (with custom olive oils they sell) handy. Good light.

Intangibles and extras:There’s a throwback feel here, more quiet and earnest than busy, and there’s a sense of calm about the grounds. This is a place where tasters feel comfortable talking about the intricacies of wine. Regusci also sells its own olive oils and offers them with the tasting.

Wine availability:Most can be found in restaurants and some stores. As with many smaller wineries, supplies can run low, so the winery or website are the safest bets. Prices range from $28 to $48.

Picnic prospects:  They have a few tables on a small lawn in front of the winery shaded by olive trees. These are not – in theory – public tables, but they won’t throw out someone sipping their wine with a bit of food.

Cost: $5 for three or four wines.

Directions: On the east side of Silverado Trail 1¾ miles north of Oak Knoll Avenue and about 2¾ miles south of Yountville Crossroad.

Recommended for:More serious tasters.


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