POSTED ON March 29, 2010 | IN Hidden Napa Wineries, Tasting Rooms, Wine News | BY Joe Becerra

Spring is here in the Napa Valley, the sun is warm, and many of the vines are alive with recent bud break. It is a very enjoyable time to travel to the Napa Valley. Not only does spring bring tourists to the Valley but other creatures as well. We had just finished tasting some delicious Buehler wines and were on our way to the terrace to enjoy a picnic lunch. There it was basking in the beautiful sunshine, a rather long and ominous looking rattlesnake. John Page Buehler was the first to alert us and then quickly raced into the tasting room and returned with a shovel. Page with his handy long shovel was able to corral the snake and move it away from the picnic area. What a man!

calistoga-buehler-44Other than the rattlesnake incident, Buehler is a wonderful place to visit. It is far off the beaten path and open by appointment only, so visitors get a lot of attention at Buehler. The wines are all well made and when you consider the high cost of Napa valley wines, the Buehler wines perhaps give the biggest bang for the buck. The Buehler Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Napa Valley Cabernet won’t break your pocket book, while delivering delicious and full-flavored wines. We are not the only ones to think so; Buehler seems to always pull off a best value award or 90-point rating from Wine Spectator and others. It is a beautiful trip up to the winery and the views are stunning. Bud break had occurred about a week before our arrival and the vineyards looked young and vibrant.

Brannan’s – Free Corkage on Wednesday Night
The owners of Brannan’s restaurant have a special on Wednesday nights offering free corkage and a three-course meal for the price of one course. Brannan’s also owns Checkers, Flatiron Grill, and Borolo in Calistoga. The same special applies for those restaurants on different nights of the week. Free corkage is always a very nice idea. See the Website for complete details.

Name change for Taylor’s Refresher Creates Controversy
calistoga-buehler-104Taylor’s Automatic Refresher changed its name on Thursday, March 27, to Gott’s Roadside Tray Gourmet at its three locations. The next day, the two granddaughters of the original owner, Lloyd Taylor, were furious at the name change stating they had been promised the name would not be changed when they leased the property to the Gott brothers long ago. Nevertheless on that Thursday, even under raining skies, there were long lines and parking space arguments at the St. Helena location.

Robert Sinskey — Drops Picnic Area
One of the most beautiful and enjoyable winery picnic spots will no longer be available to visitors to the Robert Sinskey Winery. It’s now designated for use for wine club members only. The reason, and one we have heard from other wineries about their picnics spots, is shameful abuse by picnickers. They bring in their own wine, do not clean up after themselves, or are too loud and offensive to other picnickers. We love this spot and are sad to see it go by the wayside.


  1. Mike Beltran says

    The man behind the bar actually works at the winery. He is not a paid front person.. He also knows the history and current movement of the winery. Shaved or not he was very professional and informative. It is a bit of a drive but well worth the trip…

  2. The Hulaman says

    Taylor’s or Gotts.
    Being from Chgo. Where the best fast/junk food reigns; This place serves a greasy over priced burger. And you have to wait in line . I prefer
    A & W down the street. More variety & a super frosted mug .(Black Cow aka: Root beer float) And chicken too.

    Go to Petaluma for great Chgo. Pizza.

    I have spoken basic truisms. No opinions.


  3. gmo says

    young man should have shaven clean, before this picture, but yes buehler wines are delicious, no doubt about that !!

    • joe says

      But if he had been clean shaven, he would have been unlikely to deal with the rattlesnake.