POSTED ON August 26, 2015 | IN Napa Valley, Wine art, Wine Information | BY Joe Becerra
train napa

To ride or not ride the train in Napa

Is Wine Tasting in the Napa Valley a Whites only activity?

The recent Wine Train debacle where a women’s book club of 10 Black women and one white woman were kicked off the wine train brought something clearly to my attention. We visit many tasting rooms in the Napa Valley and Sonoma, as frequently as any wine country travelers. The wine train incident made me realize that wine tasting in the Napa Valley and elsewhere in California is largely a White activity. Rarely in a Napa Valley or Sonoma tasting room does one see people of color enjoying a wine tasting flight. The only people of color I see in a tasting room are Latinos who work in the cellar or in the vineyards. We occasionally see Japanese visitors, but they are usually with a large tour group from Japan. I realize there are a few Latino and African American vintners in the Napa Valley, but why are there so few who come to the wine country to wine and dine? Are we intimidated or just not interested? We’d appreciate some feedback on this question.

The works of Ben Nixon at Mumm Napa Art Gallery

The works of Ben Nixon at Mumm Napa Art Gallery

New art exhibit at Mumm Napa

The very cool Mumm Napa art gallery has a new exhibit opening this Saturday, August 29, called “Timeless California & The Sierras: Photographs by Ben Nixon.” Ben Nixon creates landscapes using a 19th century, wet-plate collodion process. As you can see from the above photo, the images are very different and striking. A Mumm Napa Sparkling Gallery Opening Reception with Ben Nixon is scheduled for Saturday, August 29, and is open to the public. Details: “Join us and Ben Nixon for an evening of sparkling wine, stunning art, and the opportunity to learn about Ben’s unique photography style, all while sipping Mumm Napa sparkling wines. August 29, 6:30-8pm. No fee to attend, RSVP Required. RSVP at 800.686.6272.” Cabernet harvest

Harvest activities

The harvest of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc is nearing completion, with the red grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon at the forefront nearing harvest. So far it looks like yields are down but, according to many in the vineyards, the quality is high.  Cabernet Sauvignon will be harvested very shortly. Vintners who like a lighter style will harvest their Cab grapes within a week or so. Those who like a more robust Cabernet style of wine will harvest in two to three weeks. Cairdean Estate Rousanne

Cairdean Vineyards introduces “Whites in Flight”

Cairdean Vineyards is offering a taste of five unique white wines inspired by the wines from around the globe. These are Gewurztraminer, Picpoul Blanc, Riesling, Rousanne and Fume Blanc. It is very interesting that a Napa Valley winery would undertake the production of a 100% Roussane and the obscure Picpoul Blanc grape. I tasted all these wines; they are delicious and a welcomed change-of- pace from the usual fare of Chardonnay. At the winery, one can purchase these wines for $125 in a six-pack with a bonus bottle of the Cairdean Estate Rosé. Tasting this flight is $25 at the winery’s elegant tasting room.


  1. mike beltran says

    You are right there are very few people of color that do the wine trails of California. As you pointed out there are a few people of color who produce quality wines and well know that if it were not for the qualified labor of the field workers the quality of regional wines would be average at best. I think part of it is cultural and the other is economic. The Wine Train issue was handled very poorly and reeks of not having competent people run and manage the event. I smell a law suit and I think they have a valid case for personal injury. I also note that as a group they appeared to be at first very happy to enjoy a day on the train—-after all it is not inexpensive. Great post.

  2. mike beltran says

    At $21 a bottle this is not a bad deal. If the wines are of high quality it would seem to be a no brainer. Love Roussanne if it has the body to balance its natural acidity. Is the fruit estate bottled? Chateau Beaucastel makes a great old vine Roussanne.