Have A Private Wine Tasting in Napa Valley

There are several wine related perks to owning a restaurant; sales reps are consistently leaving you full bottles of wine from the vineyards they are currently promoting, you receive dozens of comped passes to a variety of wine events, wine tastings and freebie promotional wine swag. I now have a corkscrew for every room in my house. Bathrooms included.

But, nothing has been as impressive as the exclusively private wine tasting at Napa Valley’s Trinchero Family Estates in Northern California that included an overnight stay at the Sutter Home Victorian Inn.

We arrived at Trinchero Family Estates for our wine tasting and entered the quaint public tasting room where several folks were already indulging. We would not be tasting there. They quickly shuffled us to the separate Hospitality House.
Trinchero Wine Tasting Room

Hospitality was located on the same lush grounds, but not in the same building.

Sandra greeted us and welcomed us into her ‘home’.  A place she comes to work every day to entertain trade visitors like us. Bummer. That is sincere sarcasm and you will see why.

We walked through the foyer to the Restoration Hardware-esque sitting room. The couches were so deep they could have doubled for a bed. Perfect for the after wine buzz nap. I will refrain. Probably.Trinchero Sitting Room
Old Books at TrincheroWine Tasting at Trinchero

We started our pre-tasting tasting on these couches, sipping Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc and getting an introduction to the Trinchero family history. 

The Trinchero Family passion for winemaking started more than 60 years ago when they purchased Sutter Home Winery. Today they represent over 27 brands in the United States and Australia.

Moving off of the couch and into the dining room, the stately table featured a game that they had created called Aroma Wheel of Fortune. Perfect, I like games. In this one you spin the wheel and guess the wine related scent that you land on.

Let’s play. Round One. I lost on the first spin with pineapple. Really? Pineapple? Just a wee bit embarrassing since I had recently spent an afternoon touring a pineapple farm in Maui. Maybe more wine will ease the pain.
Dining Room at Trinchero
Aroma Wheel of Fortune

We made our way through the kitchen. Damn them for having this commercial-style kitchen filled with dream equipment. Some that I had never seen before. Oh, the things I could cook in there.
Commercial Kitchen at Trinchero
Kitchen Decor at TrincheroKitchen Decor at Trinchero

After viewing the top floor Sandra invited us into the ‘basement’. Calling the lower floor simply a ‘basement’ did not do it justice.

There was nothing plain about this floor, from its candle wax wall to the over-sized rusted chain links to the hat mold wall.
Dripping Candle Wax at Trinchero
Basement Decor at TrincheroBasement Decor at Trinchero

Can I live here? Really.

We did our official tasting in the sun room with a view only Napa Valley could have. Six wines were at the table, none of which I had tried before. We worked our way from whites to red, some of us spitting, some of us dumping and some of us gulping. I did a little of each.
Wine Tasting at TrincheroVineyard View at Trinchero

The show stopper for me was the Trinchero Cabernet Franc. It was gulp worthy.
Wine Tasting selection at Trinchero

After a lovely, wine-filled two and a half hours, it was time to check into the Sutter Home Victorian Inn which was just a few miles down the road. 

Unfortunately, just as with the wine tasting, the Inn is private and only open to invited guests, mostly industry related members. I have never been so happy to be one of them. Or to see my name first on the list.
Sutter Home Victorian Inn Welcome Annette White

The Bed & Breakfast, just south of downtown St. Helena, was reminiscent of my recent stay at the Dresser Palmer House in Savannah, Georgia. Quaint and charm found in Northern California. Our overnight lodging also came with a free bottle of wine, specifically selected for our taste buds, a Grenache by Shatter. Drinking is promoted in Napa Valley. I like Napa.

Have you ever done a private wine tasting? Have you been to Napa?

Disclosure: My visit was sponsored by Trinchero Family Estates and Sutter Home Victorian Inn, but all the words I write come straight from my, sometimes distorted, mind. Just as it should be.

. . . Read More . . .

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2018-12-21T22:53:32+00:00September 21st, 2012|Categories: California, FOOD, North America, TRAVEL|Tags: , , |


  1. CeCe September 21, 2012 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Wow so jealous, I love Napa, but it can get real crowded.  There is one vineyard I went to that was like Disneyland with long lines and people in every corner.  How lovely that you had such a private and more intimate view of Napa.  Next time if they allow you to have guests….TAKE ME, TAKE ME!!!

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey September 21, 2012 at 1:39 pm - Reply

      Ha Ha! I’ll see what I can do 🙂

  2. cosmoHallitan September 21, 2012 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    What a treat! I've been to Napa probably half a dozen times, and while I definitely enjoyed each visit, I was never so lucky as to have a private tasting. We did score private tastings in Santorini and Budapest, though that was because we happened to be the only people visiting the winery at the time. I seriously hope to have more!

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey September 22, 2012 at 2:22 am - Reply

      Tasting in Santorini and Budapest would be such a treat too!

  3. Madaboutravel September 22, 2012 at 3:57 am - Reply

    Wow! Sounds like something I should do next time i'm in the States 😉

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey September 22, 2012 at 7:25 am - Reply

      Absolutely! Wine tasting in general is great, but in Napa Valley it is truly an experience!

  4. Jenna September 24, 2012 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    Wow, this looks like SO much fun. And what a pretty setting!

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey September 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      It was so pretty. Sometimes I take for granted what a beautiful area I live in!

  5. Sandra September 26, 2012 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Hi Annette.
    I remember you ! I am glad you enjoyed the visit to Trinchero. Meeting enthusiastic people like yourself makes my job the best.

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey September 26, 2012 at 10:25 am - Reply

      How could you forget the annoying one taking hundreds of photos 😉
      Thank you for your hospitality at Trinchero, it truly was a wonderful day.

  6. Stephanie - The Travel Chica October 7, 2012 at 8:25 am - Reply

    You're living my dream 🙂

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey October 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm - Reply

      Does that mean your dream is to drink a lot of wine? 😉

  7. I'm Going to South America With a Wine Importer. Today. May 6, 2013 at 6:53 am - Reply

    […] are so many incredible wine perks to owning a restaurant, like the private wine tasting at Napa Valley’s Trinchero that included a stay at the invitation-only Sutter Home Victorian Inn. That was pretty great, […]

  8. Kerry July 9, 2014 at 1:25 am - Reply

    I like Niagara On The Lake for wine around where I live. Have you been there? It’s a magical little place.

    • Annette White July 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      I have been to Niagara Falls, but not for wine at Niagara on the Lake!

  9. Tina kemp March 4, 2015 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    How wonderful, Napa – california

    • Annette White March 4, 2015 at 10:04 pm - Reply

      Yes, one of the most beautiful places in the world with tasty wine!

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