POSTED ON October 12, 2009 | IN Tasting Rooms | BY Joe Becerra

Two Contrasting Family-Owned Wineries

Now that we have visited the wineries on the north side of Carneros in Napa County, we can head over across Highway 121 and to Old Sonoma Road and visit Artesa and Truchard Vineyards. Both are family-owned wineries but that is about the only thing they have in common. There are other wineries in the area but these two are not to be missed.

Old Sonoma Road enters Highway 121 on the north about a quarter mile east of Domaine Carneros. Go up Old Sonoma Road and watch for Dealy Lane. Take a left onto Dealy Lane and a slight right onto Henry Road to arrive at Artesa. This winery belongs to the Codorníu Family of Spain, a 450-year-old sparkling wine producer in Spain’s Cava region near Barcelona. Artesa was completed in 1991 and like many of the new Spanish wineries, this is big, bold, and beautiful winery both outside and inside the winery. Plan on spending a good amount of time at Artesa; there is a great deal to see in addition to tasting wine. The outside views span Carneros, the Napa Valley, and the San Pablo Bay. There are beautiful sculptures by artist Gordon Hunter and just the most amazing views of the Carneros vineyards. Inside, you can sit at a table to taste wine and when done visit exhibits on the Carneros wine region and one on the history of winemaking.

Artesa is a favorite among tourists, so the only down side of visiting the winery are the crowds. Quite the opposite is true for Truchard, where you will likely be the only visitor. Remember, Truchard is open by appointment only, so call ahead the week before to reserve your time slot.

From Artesa head back on Dealy Lane and take a left turn onto Old Sonoma Road. Drive about two miles and look carefully on the left for small sign for Truchard. The address is 3234 Old Sonoma Road. The Truchard family began their winemaking adventures in 1973. Over the years, the family has expanded its Carneros vineyards from 20 to 160 acres. Truchard makes about 18,000 cases of wine per year so that means many of the grapes are sourced to other wineries.

What we loved about this winery is homey atmosphere that prevails. Our tour guide was Tony Truchard II and their original family home is just across from the barrel room. They have a crew of about 15 workers that are hired on a permanent basis. When we were at the winery, they were sitting at a couple of picnic tables enjoying lunch. They looked like a very happy bunch and that tells you a lot about this winery.

We tasted five wines all estate and very well made. The Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir wines are favorites of the tasting. The next day after our visit, we got chance to walk through one Truchards Chardonnay vineyards and watch the harvest. The views from this vineyard are some of the most beautiful in all of Carneros.

Other wineries along the way are Madrona and Filio. Both of these wineries have picnic facilities so you might want to bring along a lunch and enjoy the vineyards.

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