A couple of months back I had the opportunity to taste some of the wines from Newton Vineyard in New York City alongside their winemaker Chris Millard. To say the least I was incredibly impressed with the lineup of wines that he presented that day. So naturally when I was planning a trip to Napa Valley, they were on the short list of places to visit that I’d not been to prior. The bottom line is that I’m quite glad I made them a priority. While Newton Vineyard has a history that stretches back just about 35 years it’s only over the last couple of years that they’ve been open to the public for tours and tastings. Each day they have two set times for those who want to tour and taste. Times are 11:00 AM and 2:30 PM for a tour and tasting at a cost of $40. This option lasts around 90 minutes but will vary based on group size and how interactive everyone on the tour is. For those who simply want to taste the wines, they offer that option each day at 1 PM for $30; the tasting only choice lasts about 45 minutes. Advance reservations are required; check their website for specific details on how to make your reservation. I’m sure that the tasting alone will be fun and rewarding, but I urge you to set aside the extra time to take the tour too, it’s a very good one, and I’ve been on hundreds of them.
Driving up Spring Mountain is always a treat. Even though it’s not that far I feel as if I’m being transported to a land far removed from the relative hustle and bustle of Highway 29. Once you reach the gate for Newton Vineyard you’ll notice a British style phone booth which is a nod to the winery’s co-founder Peter Newton and his heritage. You’ll immediately note that the property itself is stunning, with views to die for.
Visits at Newton start by checking in at the office. Just off to the side you’ll spot the room which will serve as the setting later to taste the wines. The tour of the property includes a magnificent garden that is painstakingly maintained. The garden itself is so stunning that it alone could warrant a trip to Newton Vineyard. Its design as well as that of the overall estate is the brainchild of Su Hua co-founder and wife of Peter Newton. After walking the grounds we saw some of the barrel rooms and winemaking facilities that are on property.
Then it was time to make our way back to the main building where we sat down at a large table in the midst of a beautiful well lit room to taste the wines. The room is gorgeous in its own right and is accented by pieces of art, commissioned each year by the winery from different artists. This is one of those little touches, like a lingering bit of spice on a wine's finish that stay with you long after you leave the winery. Each of the wines we sampled was paired with bites of food. The pairings were well thought out and flawlessly executed. On their own, the wines are terrific, but showcasing them with perfectly paired morsels allows whoever is sampling to experience them at their absolute best. The four wines we tasted were all part of their Unfiltered Tier of offerings which also amount to their reserve wines. These wines are generally distributed and available around the country but not as widely as their Red label wines. The Newton Unfiltered wines are distinct, fruit driven selections that show off their sense of place as well as the varietal used to make them.
There are quite literally hundreds of choices when you visit Napa Valley to go wine tasting. Many of the possible destinations are beautiful and have gorgeous, well made wines. Taking all of that into account Newton Vineyard still stands out. This is a place you want to set aside time for and make an extra effort to be sure you visit. There isn’t anything about it that isn’t lovely, delicious or impressive. This was my first time there and I’ll no doubt go back on a future trip so I can re-experience the perfectly decadent pairings, enjoy the noteworthy views and bask in the great hospitality they provide. If you want to experience the best Napa Valley has to offer, Newton Vineyard needs to be on your itinerary.