Starting a collection and going to Napa, which wines can I only get at the vineyard?

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gstrub
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Starting a collection and going to Napa, which wines can I only get at the vineyard?

#1 Post by gstrub » May 12th, 2019, 9:32 am

Hello all,

First post here and it looks like an awesome forum. I've always wanted to start collecting wine but haven't had the means until recently. I've purchased a La Cache cabinet and am about to embark on filling it up.

I have a trip t Napa coming up in September. I am wondering if I should be trying to buy and ship some wine to add to my collection, however this begs a question. Most of the Napa wines I like to drink I can buy either locally or online, so I am wondering if you all have any advice as to whether I should try to visit some vineyards that don't sell to major distributors? I am also wondering if there would be any significant savings in buying by the case at the vineyard itself.

Napa wines I have bought and enjoyed include Caymus SS, Kistler/Cakebread/Montelena chard, Mout Veeder cab, etc. I know I get can all of these locally. There is one I have visited before (Castello di Amorosa) which I believe is only available there.

So my questions are:
1. Which vineyards would you visit for the purpose of buying wines to ship home? I'm looking mostly for stuff I can't get online or at a local shop.
2. Would you ship from the vineyard or collect all wines and make one shipment in bulk, and if the latter, who would you use for shipping?

Thank you in advance for any feedback...I have a feeling I will get a ton of useful information from all the people on this forum.

-Graham
G r a h a m

Brian Gilp
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Re: Starting a collection and going to Napa, which wines can I only get at the vineyard?

#2 Post by Brian Gilp » May 12th, 2019, 10:02 am

Its rare these days for a winery to sell a wine only through the tasting room. The last time I recall that was at Babcock when they had a batch of Chardonnay with some unexplainable suspensions in the wine. It tasted fine but he couldn’t sell it through normal channels. So he put it in the tasting room at half price and sold it out that way.

For shipping it depends on how much you are buying at each stop. Shipping costs are lower per bottle on cases so if only buying 2-3 bottles per stop, I take them and consolidate. If buying a case then have the winery ship it to avoid the hassle and they may even discount it for the full case purchase. Plenty of shipping options in Napa. Everyone has their favorite.

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L.Cole
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Re: Starting a collection and going to Napa, which wines can I only get at the vineyard?

#3 Post by L.Cole » May 12th, 2019, 2:08 pm

Graham, Welcome to the forum. There are so many great wines and wineries in Napa / Sonoma. The area has been on a pretty good run lately and you will taste a lot of good wines when you go there. There are plenty of great cabs that you can buy while there and quite a few you can’t. Some of the best will require you to earn your way on to the top tier wines or be on a wait list until a spot opens. Over the years my wife and I have gone with many couples new to quality wine and have had some of our best experiences at Pride Mountain Vineyards and Del Dotto. I think Del Dotto is sold thru the winery only. We have also been to “The Castle” (Castillo) many times. It’s a fun stop. Pick a few wineries you like and get on their wine list/club. As far as shipping goes we usually just have the winery ship them. It’s not convenient to haul many bottles around and then try to find somewhere to ship. We will check a few when flying sometimes but not usually. Another recommendation is if you haven’t already create a Cellartracker account. Best way to keep track of your wine and get community reviews. A must have.
Larry Cole

gstrub
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Re: Starting a collection and going to Napa, which wines can I only get at the vineyard?

#4 Post by gstrub » May 12th, 2019, 3:13 pm

Thanks so much. I will definitely try cellar tracker.

Which wines can you think of that you need to be on a waiting list for, and what do you mean by earning my way up?
G r a h a m

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L.Cole
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Re: Starting a collection and going to Napa, which wines can I only get at the vineyard?

#5 Post by L.Cole » May 12th, 2019, 3:43 pm

Shafer Hillside Select is one example of a top end cab you can add yourself to the wait list. (I highly suggest doing so) Pride Reserve wines are sold to customers who regularly purchase their wines. I don’t know exactly what it takes to get on the list. Robert Foley wines can be purchase on line today.
Larry Cole

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L.Cole
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Re: Starting a collection and going to Napa, which wines can I only get at the vineyard?

#6 Post by L.Cole » May 12th, 2019, 3:46 pm

Graham, read this thread to get a better idea of what the majority think is the best CA has to offer.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=160648
Larry Cole

J. Rock
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Re: Starting a collection and going to Napa, which wines can I only get at the vineyard?

#7 Post by J. Rock » May 13th, 2019, 2:23 pm

If you see or taste a wine you like at the winery, perhaps you can look it up on wine-searcher.com or Google it to see if you can get it elsewhere or if you can get it elsewhere for a better price.
J o r d a n

gstrub
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Re: Starting a collection and going to Napa, which wines can I only get at the vineyard?

#8 Post by gstrub » May 13th, 2019, 3:16 pm

Yeah that was my plan, I just figured I’d poll some experts since I only have 2 full days of tasting:)

I haven’t tasted Shafer before so I reserved a time...I wish they would apply the tasting fee ($85) toward a purchase though!
G r a h a m

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Yao C
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Re: Starting a collection and going to Napa, which wines can I only get at the vineyard?

#9 Post by Yao C » May 15th, 2019, 12:16 pm

Shafer offers a port that they only sell to visitors. It’s not bad but a bit spendy
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mattccheung
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Re: Starting a collection and going to Napa, which wines can I only get at the vineyard?

#10 Post by mattccheung » May 24th, 2019, 1:35 pm

Get appointments at Hourglass, Anomaly, Larkmead, Bevan, Brand, and Morlet. Well worth the visit.

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PeterJ
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Re: Starting a collection and going to Napa, which wines can I only get at the vineyard?

#11 Post by PeterJ » May 24th, 2019, 4:04 pm

Is it naive to suggest asking the tasting room which, if any, wines are not available elsewhere. I’ve done that but not much since the number of wineries began multiplying like rabbits.
Peter J@ckel

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Randy Bowman
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Re: Starting a collection and going to Napa, which wines can I only get at the vineyard?

#12 Post by Randy Bowman » May 24th, 2019, 6:36 pm

There are a small number of wineries that make and keep wines available only at the winery. Most or all are family owned wineries, not those now corporate owned and run. Some make ports, dessert whites or small lot oddballs, while others make a one of a kind or one time only wine. If you like Zinfandel, drop into Caymus. Probably won't let you taste it, but will sell you a bottle or two. Prager Port Works usually has a still wine or two available at their facility.
IN THE BUSINESS SHILL: An associate of a person selling goods, who pretends no association to the seller and assumes the air of an enthusiastic customer.

gstrub
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Re: Starting a collection and going to Napa, which wines can I only get at the vineyard?

#13 Post by gstrub » May 24th, 2019, 7:07 pm

I didn’t know Caymus even made Zinfandel...I am planning on a tasting there, and will pick up a bottle if possible!
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dennis.coronado
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Re: Starting a collection and going to Napa, which wines can I only get at the vineyard?

#14 Post by dennis.coronado » May 25th, 2019, 6:51 am

gstrub wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 3:16 pm
Yeah that was my plan, I just figured I’d poll some experts since I only have 2 full days of tasting:)

I haven’t tasted Shafer before so I reserved a time...I wish they would apply the tasting fee ($85) toward a purchase though!
People at Shafer are very nice. I think they will open a Hillside Select which is $295.00. Maybe they would waive the fee if your purchase some there.
It does not hurt to ask.

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