What new winery in the Napa Valley can boast that they have a restaurant, a bakery cafe & deli, extended tasting room hours, a separate merchandise store, and an event center for hosting weddings and corporate events? None, except for Cairdean Estate. Stacia and Ed Williams purchased 50 acres next to the old St. Helena Outlet Stores in 2010. The Outlet closed several years ago and when the property was recently put up for sale, Stacia and Ed jumped in and purchased that property. They applied for and received the existing Outlet business permits, allowing them grandfathered rights to build the Cairdean facilities. We toured the property last week, and we’re sure it will be an amazing wine and food complex. It will probably become the envy of many a Napa Valley winery and certain to be a popular destination for wine country enthusiasts.
Right now the tasting room and the restaurant, Farmer & the Fox, are open. The tasting room is open from 11am to 8 pm, and the restaurant from 5 to 10 pm. In one week a classy and modern bakery cafe and deli will open, to be called Butterscots Bakery. The bakery is separate from the restaurant, and it has a stylish terrace for outside picnicking. In that same complex will be a combination event center and art gallery. Finally in this area, the Rosgal Mercantile will be stocked with boutique and one-of-a kind merchandise. According to Ed, “Things you will not find anywhere else.”
Sitting above all this and up against Spring Mountain is the winery. Although the facility will not be completed until early 2015, it should be ready for the 2014 Crush. The 17,000 square feet of caves have been dug into Spring Mountain and will be the focal point of the winery. Another tasting room with glass walls and valley views will be located at the southern end of the winery. This tasting room will be used for tastings by appointment and, I assume, special guests. It is a stunning-looking winery even though it’s not complete. Oh yes, the roof will be “green,” as in plants. That will certainly be a cooling factor for the winery. The winery is capable of producing 50,000 gallons of wine per year.
The Cairdean Wines
We did some wine tasting with Stacia and Ed. All previous vintages have been made at the Laird custom crush facilities in Napa. Stacia is the winemaker and Ed is the vineyard operations manager. They own two vineyards, one in the Russian River Valley, the other in Coombsville. The rest of the grapes are soured from various vineyards. Stacia makes several different wines; we counted 21 on the tasting list. We tasted six wines and, as you might guess, all were well made and delicious. Prices range from $22 to $88. We purchased the Russian River Valley Chardonnay, a medium-bodied Chardonnay nicely balanced with oak; The Carneros Pinot Noir, rich in spice and lush in the mouth; and a stunning (our favorite) Sangiovese from Atlas Peak that was layered with flavors.
Cairdean is a Scottish Gaelic word that means “friends.” Cairdean Vineyards and Winery is sure to have plenty of friends once this entire project is completed.