Having been back one week from our four-week trip to Spain we needed to get a Napa Valley fix. So, off we ventured for a day’s outing. What a difference when you know your way around and are not fearful of getting lost.
We did not set out to visit Copia but there it was on our way to lunch at the Bounty Hunter in Napa. We decided to stop in to see what was new. Besides, we had been to an amazing wine museum in La Rioja wine region of Spain and wanted see how Copia measured up. We have been to Copia twice before, once when it first opened in 2001 and then again in 2006 when we participated in an excellent wine and food pairing class.
On our visit, we spent about an hour browsing around the various exhibits. New from our last visit was a set of wine dispensing machines. You pay for a card and use it at any of the dispensing stations and what ever the price of the pour is deducted from your “cash card.” Many of the new wine bars in San Francisco use these clever wine dispensers.
We do love the gardens at Copia. If you are a vegetable gardener, you will find the gardens very interesting. Julia’s Kitchen in Copia is one of Napa’s finest restaurants. The Copia gardens provide Julia’s Kitchen with a plethora of herbs, spices, and veggies. We know that Copia always has a very fine schedule of food and wine classes and events. We are on their email list and find their offerings cover a wide range of food and wine topics. But, after leaving Copia, we realized that none of the exhibits on wine really “wowed” us. It was fun and enjoyable but we found none of the exhibits to be very compelling or exciting.
In contrast, our visit to the Museo De La Cultura Del Vino in Briones, Spain, left us in utter amazement and awe. It was a totally fascinating and memorable experience. Just to list a few examples of the exhibits that captivated us: the history of wine making through the ages with artifacts of wine making equipment on display; a powerful video depicting a year in the vineyards presented with the latest media techniques on a collage of screens; a vast collection of wine serving vessels, glasses, and bottles from ancient times to the present; a sensory evaluation station that covered the spectrum of the most common aromas in wine; and an amazing vineyard plot with 200 grape varietals.
We are not saying that Copia should reinvent itself but there needs to be some zip and more absorbing exhibits added. Perhaps the Copia staff and Board can get some ideas from the Museo De La Cultura Del Vino.
For visitors to the Napa Valley Copia is a good place to start their wine country trip. The price of admission is inexpensive, $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and children under 12 are free.