Judd’s Hill Winery is the first winery a traveler will come to driving north along the Silverado Trail from the city of Napa. Judd’s Hill is a small family-run winery that in our opinion offers some quality wines fairly priced when compared to most Napa Valley wines.
In addition to the winery, Judd’s Hill also runs a second business, that of a custom crush facility. They call it the MicroCrush and here the wine hobbyist or a serious vintner can make wine in various amounts and have the Judd’s Hill team at their disposal for advice. Whether one wants to make one barrel of wine or several hundred, MicroCrush can accommodate.
Art Finkelstein and his wife Bunnie are the owners of Judd’s Hill. They are the original owners of Whitehall Lane in St. Helena and sold that winery in favor of running a much smaller and more manageable winery. At a case production of 3000 cases of wine per year, Judd’s Hill provides a more personal touch to their wines and clientele. Son Judd and his wife Holly are also highly involved in the winery’s operation, with Judd doing the bulk of the winemaking and marketing of the wines.
The winery is open by appointment only but a sign on the roadside says open for tasting and the hours posted. We had not planned on visiting but the sign was too tempting and we wandered in. The tasting is done in a small room at a table. We were graciously greeted and welcomed to the winery by our host who made us feel at home. She kept us well informed as we tasted six wines. The tasting fee is $10 but was waived when we purchased some wine. Judd’s Hill makes two Cabernet Sauvignons. The estate Cabernet is made from their hillside vineyards in St. Helena. It is priced at $75 and is their flagship wine. The second Cabernet is made from organically grown grapes from a vineyard nearby the tasting room and sells for $45. Both are very drinkable now and are excellent wines. Judd’s Hill also makes Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir from Napa Valley vineyards. In addition they make two wines from Lodi grapes, a Petite Sirah and a Zinfandel.
We purchased a Sauvignon Blanc and the Chardonnay and had a glass of the Sauvignon Blanc with our picnic lunch at one of two picnic tables outside the winery. The surrounding views of their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards are very beautiful and provide a relaxing setting for a picnic.
The Good: Family owned, quality wines at fair prices, friendly and knowledgeable staff.
The Bad: Nothing that we could find, a great time at a family winery.