When it comes to breathtaking wineries, it seems there’s no shortage in California’s Napa Valley. Whether it’s an impressive garden, a magnificent structure or a swoon-worthy view, it’s easy to find a winery that has at least a couple of these features free-flowing on the property. With that said, however, new winery ventures have to be especially creative to stand out. Here are three places to visit in Napa that combine gorgeous natural surroundings, striking architecture and well-crafted wines. We think they’re more than worthy of adding to your wine country itinerary in 2014:
Though their bottles have recently been earning high praise from national critics, the team behind B Cellars has quietly been creating fine wines for a decade. While they pour cabernet sauvignon blends, syrah and sangiovese at their current winery in Calistoga, the company is building a modern, 11.5-acre winery in Oakville. When it opens in July, B Cellars’ staff will welcome guests into a structure that resembles an angular, high-tech barn with expanses of glass, earth-toned woods and corrugated metal. Inside, visitors will find a large demonstration kitchen staffed by chef Christina Machamer, the winner of Season 4 of the Hell’s Kitchen reality cooking show and a certified sommelier. The most unique feature, though, may be the private tasting room dedicated to the six single-vineyard heritage wines made from grapes grown in pioneering grower Andy Beckstoffer’s storied vineyards.
Think of Odette as the newborn in the PlumpJack family of wineries famously co-owned by California’s Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Gordon Getty and John Conover. While big brother Cade is angular and masculine, Odette Winery is all about graceful curves and femininity. Set to open this June, the Odette building, designed by Mexican architect Juancarlos Fernandez, has a circular shape as well as a living roof, solar panels and 18,000 square feet of caves. While Odette is a pretty name that figures in famous artistic works (including Swan Lake), the female moniker actually alludes to the beguiling red wine that the Stags Leap District is known for. And speaking of grapes, the vineyards here are being replanted to support the 100 percent organic growing philosophy of the owners, with the first 2012 vintage Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon being released in 2015.
The Hall name is synonymous with eye-catching art installations and grand events such as May 18’s Cabernet Cookoff. They have only upped the ante at the redesigned visitor’s center and tasting room in St. Helena. Designed by local architect Jarrod Denton and sitting just across a grassy courtyard from the restored historic Bergfeld Winery, the gleaming LEED gold-certified structure is filled with all the essential ingredients for the good life. The building’s dramatic window walls, for example, offer a bird’s-eye view into the working winery while somehow still making it feel like you’re floating over the surrounding vineyards and Mayacamas Mountain landscape. Other visual delights include a 23-foot tasting bar of mirror-polished metal, a custom chandelier and pieces of 21st-century art that includes a shower of red glass teardrops, psychedelic pinwheels and a life-size camel.
Photos Courtesy of Tubay Yaput and Odette Winery