This will be the first in a series of blog posts reviewing and comparing three family-owned wineries in the Napa Valley. Dieter Tede and his family purchased Hopper Creek in 1996. By far, Hopper Creek Winery is the most unusual of the three wineries we visited on a recent trip and one of the most unusual that any visitor is likely to encounter in all of the Napa Valley. It is small, off the beaten path, with a very funky tasting room character. You absolutely will not find anything at this winery that is pretentious or smacks of wine snobbery.
When we approached the Hopper Creek winery, we were greeted by tasting room manager Dan Blach, working on his laptop at the winery’s one and only picnic table. “Hi” he said, “we are only open by appointment so would you like an appointment for 1:00 pm?” 1:00 pm just happened to be the exact time we arrived. Dan is wearing a sweat outfit, baseball cap, and saddles, not exactly what you would expect from someone who runs a tasting room in the Napa Valley. Dan hands us a wine stained tasting menu that looks like it has been in use for months.