Two months ago Napa Valley woke up in the aftermath of the ‘small’ one, an earthquake that damaged many wineries and their stocks. It is time to pay tribute to the estates and characters that turned the American wine dream into reality, and California as a must-visit wine destination.





  1. Rarely one plus one equals one. When Baron Rothschild (Mouton Rothschild) and Robert Mondavi joined forces in 1980, it was to create the single Bordeaux-style blend Opus One. Considered for a while as the cult wine of California, it has played a key role in elevating the quality perception of Napa Valley production. Opus One 2007 (95 RP) seats on top.


  1. Praised as one of the world’s 10 best wines of the century by Jancis Robinson, Harlan Estate was meant to become an icon of California. The wine is famous for its outstanding blend of four grapes Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot (as many as the times it received perfect 100-points rating) as well as its unforgettable label which took a 10 years to design.


  1. In many regards Jayson Woodbridge a man of hundreds. The Napa Valley Hundred Acre winery is dedicated to the production of 100% single varietals. If you’re among the lucky few, you will enjoy the opulent Cabernet Sauvignons “Precious” (harvested grape by grape!), or “Deep Time” (36 to 42 months oak ageing), many of which has attained the 100 mark by Parker.


Aperitif at Joseph Phelps



Insignia. One of California’s prominent wine profiles, Joseph Phelps, is a man of words. The businessman’s thirst for construction turned into a passion for viticulture with much success. Its hero wine, Insignia, was awarded “Wine of the Year” (2002 vintage) by Wine Spectator magazine and The Wine Advocate gave perfect point scores to the 1991, 1997 and 2002 releases.


Screaming Eagle. Currently America’s most expensive Cabernet Sauvignon, Screaming Eagle is the object of many praises and tears at auctions worldwide. However it all started in a discreet letter in which landlord owner Phillips unveiled that it had finally sold the magical 1-acre, host to a mere 80 vines. The rest need not be said.


Sine Qua Non. From the Latin expression meaning ‘without which there is nothing’, the Ventura County-based winery uses much creativity to name its wines: Poker Face, Red Handed, Twisted & Bent… Sine Qua Non specializes in Rhone Valley-style wines from Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, and the labels are also designed by winemaker-artist Manfred Krankl.





Robert Mondavi. Besides being now a well-known brand, this was first the name of one of the leading architects of Napa Valley winemaking. A winemaker at heart with an acute sense of marketing, his legacy stands in the status of Napa wineries as much as in his own estate which now hosts many vineyard tour options and testifies of his innovative and creative ambitions.


Quixote. The boutique winery, formerly owned by Stags Leap, has made the news more than once. It just passed to the hands of Chinese owner Le Melange (Gold Tower Group). It is known for its premium organic red wine of Petite Sirah, artistic label design, as well as its eclectic architecture by Austrian architect Hundertwasser.


Francis Ford Coppola. The movie director needs no introduction, but its passion for wine is a surprise to many. With unbeatable skills for entertainment, the Coppola winery in Alexander Valley, Sonoma county is a resort of choice, with a movie gallery, a swimming pool, a restaurant and winery receptions to discover their range including high quality Reserve wines.


Book your holiday with wine & lifestyle travel concierge The Experience Company ( at +852 3488 9565 or 10% discount for “HKGolfer” readers for any trip taking place in 2014.

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