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Chase winery is a tiny, family owned winery, and we drove right by and had to make a U-turn. We pulled in and Katie Simpson, the owner of Chase Family Cellars, greeted us. She took us inside and poured us a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and then she took us outside and asked us where we would like to sit for the rest of the tasting. I chose a table that had a stellar view of the vineyards. She sat down and poured us all a glass of red wine. I would be lying if I said I remembered which red wine. I do remember Katie, because she is adorable, and you can tell she loves her winery.
Chase has a long history and you should check out their website: https://www.chasecellars.com/history.html
Recently it was run by her brother and sister-in-law. When they split up, she decided it needed to stay in the family and quit her job selling paper and started running a winery. They do everything here, they grow the grapes (she talks about the vines like they are her children), they make the wine.
They are in beautiful bottles. This picture was taken in my family room. The bottle says Chase. I didn’t realize it until Katie pointed it out. Then, of course, it is obvious. She is troubled by the fact that it is not obvious, without being told. This is a business, and everything is important.
The three of us sit and drink wine and chat, and it is like visiting with an old friend. It is an intimate, amazing first experience. I have been anticipating this whole Napa trip with a bit of trepidation because it is so different from my usual vacations or any others I have taken. I am so happy that this is our first experience, because it has completely put me at ease.
She takes us out into the vineyards and we learn a bit about growing grapes. These are very old vines, planted in 1903. She has been told the money is in cabs, but she is not at all ready to dig up these old zins.
We took a look at the price sheet and experienced our first sticker shock. Not everything was super expensive, but the good ones were. Well, “super-expensive” was a term, as it relates to wine, that would definitely become relative by the end of the trip.
I took a deep breath and bought 4 bottles of the really lovely 2009 Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel Reserve. This was really the only time I showed restraint. She obviously did not make us drink enough wine, or surely I would have bought a case.
It was such a lovely experience. If you go to Napa, I highly recommend it. It’s a little off the beaten path, but worth the effort to find it. Well, actually, now that you have the website, it’s not hard to find it at all.
It is by appointment only. If I recall correctly, there was no tasting fee.
We said good-bye and got in our car and headed to Napa, to our hotel. Traffic is insane. This is an incredibly busy time for the area. We pass what looks like a vineyard graveyard, big piles of dead vines. It’s kind of sad.
In the space of about an hour, my birthday has gone from train wreck to delightful. The experience with Katie at Chase has completely turned my day around and it just gets better.