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Cab-lovers’ Merlot in Rutherford CA
Napa Valley & Sonoma Wine Tasting Tours
In 1985, successful media entrepreneur W. Clarke Swanson purchased 100 acres in Napa Valley. Although his land was located in what had become known as prime Cabernet Sauvignon territory, he planted Merlot grapes. He knew what he was doing though: Swanson Vineyards soon became famous for producing a Merlot with so much forward fruit and structure that it has become known as “the Cab-lovers’ Merlot.”
This family-run winery places an emphasis on stylish fun, and that’s exactly what you’ll have on a visit here. You get to choose your fun, though: either a formal tasting in the Swanson Salon, or a more casual experience in the Sip Shoppe.
In the lavishly-decorated Salon—captivating paintings and chandeliers, for starters—you’ll have one of eight seats at an octagonal table; the convivial tasting, led by a skilled social facilitator, will pair wine with caviars, cheeses, and chocolates.
In the Sip Shoppe you’ll choose your paired tasting from a menu: The “Oakville Irony” consists of two pours (Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay) paired with caviar atop a potato chip; the “Night Cap” is two dessert wines with Castello blue cheese and hot pistachio nuts. When the weather is warm the Sip Shoppe moves outdoors.
In 1953 W. Clarke Swanson’s father and uncle, owners of Swanson & Sons, successfully brought the first TV dinners to the marketplace—thereby changing the way America ate.
Amenities: Wine Club, Gift Shop