The Hess Collection Winery is a popular tasting room despite the fact that is off the beaten path, seven miles west of Highway 29, in the Napa Valley. It was remarkable how busy this winery was on a Wednesday when we visited a couple of weeks ago.
The first thing you notice as you walk towards the tasting room is the beautiful ivy covered stone building. This building was built in 1903 by Theodore Gier as a winery and then later taken over by the Christian Brothers. In 1986 Donald Hess took over the property, remodeled and added a modern winery.
Inside the Hess Collection Winery is an attractive tasting room and adjacent gift shop. Upstairs is the galley where Donald Hess displays a portion of his wonderful art collection. Visitors can view the gallery for free.
Now to the wines: For a $10 tasting fee you get to taste four wines from a selection of eight wines. What we did was taste all 8 wines by each selecting a different wine from each other and then trading glasses. The pour was enough for two good swigs of the wine.
Our server was well rehearsed and quickly gave us a concise description of each wine. We thought all the wines were well made and balanced but none of them really stood out as a “must have.” The best wine we tasted was the Melbec but at $36 it was priced too high for us.
We recommend a visit here because there is much to see and the area of Mount Veeder is quite beautiful. To get to Hess, take the Redwood Road exit off Highway 29. Follow Redwood Road for about 6 miles. At this point, you will see a sign for Hess directing you to the left. You will still be on Redwood Road for another mile.
The Good: Art Gallery, stone building, and the barrel room.
The Bad: $10 tasting fee, beautiful area for a picnic but no facilities.