POSTED ON March 14, 2010 | IN Wine News | BY Joe Becerra

Last week bad news came on two fronts for Napa. The first came from a Silicon Valley Bank report about a potential swath of Napa wineries on the verge of bankruptcy and land values dropping 15% from their peak in 2007. Then came more bad news with the European grapevine moth on the attack and quarantine orders in place for big portions of the Napa Valley. If that is not bad enough, other wine regions are trying to kick poor Napa Valley when it is down. We keep hearing the same old song when we visit other wine regions about Napa Valley’s overpriced wines finally getting their comeuppance. The truth of the matter is any wine that is currently priced over $20 is going to be a tough sell in 2010. In every wine region we travel, even lonely Lodi, there are many wines priced above the $20 and well beyond, from $40 to $60. All wineries, no matter where, are facing a very tough consumer frugality and need to take a new tack if they want to survive. Now for some pleasant news!

Mumm Napa — New Photography Exhibit
Paris-Icons-090If you have never visited the art gallery at Mumm Napa, March 20th to September 26th would be a wonderful time to do so. A new fine art photography exhibit, Paris Icons, is opening at Mumm Napa Winery on March 20th. The exhibit highlights the award-winning book of the same name, which focuses on the soul of the famous city. Both the author, Leslie J. Little, and the photographer, James Scholz, will be signing copies of the book on the night of the opening, March 20 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The reception and exhibit are open to the public. There is no charge to view the exhibit or attend the reception. For additional information on visiting the winery and its exhibits, call 707-967-7700 or access the Mumm Napa website at

Amgen Tour of California Stage 2 in Napa Wine Country
Mark your calendars now for May 17th. If you like wine country, cycling, and photography or just one of these, you won’t want to miss the Amgen Tour of California. The race has 8 stages and stage 2 will pass through Chiles Valley, Pope Valley, the Silverado Trail and then Oakville Cross Road. It continues up and over Mt Veeder and into Sonoma. Lance Armstrong and many other riders who will be in this year’s Tour de France will participate. The Amgen Tour website will give you complete details of the tour route and approximate times they will pass through each vantage point.

V. Sattui Winery is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
There are a number of events taking place at the winery in St. Helena throughout the year. The first celebration will take place on March 25th in North Beach in San Francisco, very near the spot at 722 Montgomery Avenue where Vittorio Sattui launched his wine business 125 years ago. Congratulations to this family-owned Napa Valley winery.

New tour company launches
Gears & Grapes is based in San Francisco and will begin offering a new type of cycling tour of the Napa Valley and Sonoma. Gears & Grapes will offer luxury type tours complete with tour guides that are certified sommeliers. “Tours consist of bicycling through the beautiful regions of Napa and Sonoma while stopping to taste wine, eat incredible meals and stay in luxury accommodations.” This sounds like fun but a cyclist always has to worry about big autos with drivers distracted from too much wine tasting.


  1. Mark's Wine Clubs says

    It’s funny, I’ve seen those 15% declines as well….realistically though if it is only 15% Napa is doing WAY WAY better then the rest of the state. If we looked at portions of San Diego that number would be close to 50% for comparison.

    Every other wine region in the world wishes they had the continued high price and quality that is currently being produced in Napa (well a few others would give them a run for their money).

    Consistently good vintages are almost always going to win out in the end.