Here is a bottle shocker. In July Jim Barrett announced that he had sold Chateau Montelena for better than 100 million dollars to a French wine company. Apparently, something went terribly awry and the deal is over, finished. Jim Barrett announced that he plans to keep the winery and make all the revamps needed to restore the winery to its former glory. This struck us as an amazing turn. Just a couple of days ago our latest Wine Spectator arrived and, in it, an article detailing how the new owners planned to revitalize Chateau Montelena. This apparently caught everybody off guard. Could this be a “Bottle Shock II” movie in the making?
Fewer Visitors to Napa Valley?
We are in the Napa Valley for a few days and the local Yountville Sun has an article about the recently released report on the economic impact of the Napa Valley Wine industry. The wine industry contributed a whopping 10.9 billion dollars to the Valley. This is based on 2006 data. You would never know it judging by the tasting rooms we have visited in the Napa Valley the last couple of days. We were the only visitors at Goosecross, William Hill, Havens, and Hopper Creek wineries. There was one other couple in Rutherford Hill, brought there by a van service that picks up tourists at the Napa hotels. The driver told us that business is down and the tour company is looking for new ways to drum up business. We asked at each tasting room how the economy was affecting visitor traffic. The answers were all the same. There are fewer visitors and they are buying less wine.
Rutherford Barrel Tasting
Could this be another sign of the sour economy? We just got a press release providing details on a first time “Roll Out the Barrels” passport weekend for the Rutherford Appellation wineries. The two-day event on December 6 and 7 will feature barrel tasting and wine and food pairings at several Rutherford wineries. We are just not used to seeing this type of event in the Napa Valley.
Gordon’s Cafe to Reopen Soon?
Leslie Rudd of Rudd Winery and also the owner of both Dean & DeLucca and Oakville Grocery purchased the cafe from Sally Gordon two years ago. The news was that the Gordon’s would be open shortly after the sale but mysteriously that did not occur. Here we are two years later and now rumor has it that suddenly work is going on at a fever pitch and that this cafÃ© will open within a couple of months. We hope it does open soon and that it will have the same character and feel of the old Gordon’s, a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.