I’ve been aware of Whetstone Wine Cellars by name and label, but this was my first visit to this Napa Valley tasting salon.
We were invited by friends, and when I asked them where it was I was told “on Atlas Peak road, just south of the Silverado Country Club.”
Huh? There’s no winery there. Is there? I’d driven that road plenty of times and had never seen a winery there. Hmmm.
Well, Google confirmed that my friends were right, which means this tasting room is located quite close to Downtown Napa. Winning!
So, after a quick trip across town we skidded into a narrow driveway on Atlas Peak Road. And what do you know? A winery.
Sheltered from the road by a line of foliage, driving in was like finding a new closet in your house. How have I not noticed this before?
We parked in the shade of one of the many towering live oak trees on the property and were immediately greeted by Ace, the Winery Dog.
Not a small dog, his loud bark and bee-line trajectory toward us was initially disconcerting. But his smile (yes, I swear he was smiling) assured us he was happy we were there.
After exhaling, we were able to take in our surroundings.
Before us was a wide, green lawn, with string lights strung all the way across.
At the far side was a shady stone patio set with tables. Beyond that, a games area set up with corn hole.
The whole scene made me want to plan a party. Or at least a picnic. Or play croquet. Any of the above, really.
The day was beautiful, so we selected an outside table under the huge live oak trees.
As it turned out, Ace’s barking had also alerted our host, Addie, that we’d arrived for our appointment.
Addie came out to welcome us and get us settled in. She brought us our initial tasting and dropped off some rosemary almonds and other snacks to accompany our wine.
Then she pulled up a chair.
You guys, Addie is DELIGHTFUL. Originally from the southeast US, her southern hospitably showed through from the first word.
Addie’s been with the Whetstone Wine Cellars for years and she knows her stuff. While she guided us through our tasting she educated us on the history of Whetstone, the winery architecture, and even the neighbors.
She gave us the background on the creation of their scrumptious Viongne and Pinot Noir wines that Whetstone winery is known for. She also told us how she met owner Jamey Whetstone, and when and how Jamey and his wife Michelle Whetstone came to occupy the historical stone building that is their tasting room.
She knew when to stick around and have a chat, as well as when to excuse herself to leave us to enjoy the experience on our own.
Knowledgeable and hospitable, Addie has it down. A true southerner.
So, back to that lawn…
Turns out, it does indeed get used for events.
During the warmer months, Whetstone hosts Fried Chicken Friday, an event held on the last Friday of the month where you can enjoy a casual fried chicken picnic dinner on the lawn with your friends and family. Then, toward the end of the summer they host their annual Harvest Party, a ticketed event that is open to the public.
Finally, you can hold your private events here — so maybe YES to that croquet idea after all, mmm?
Well, with no event the day of our visit, we relaxed in the peaceful shade and enjoyed the wine, the snacks and ourselves immensely. Had we not had an upcoming tasting at Cardinale Winery, we’d have spent many more hours relaxing on the patio (because, lucky for all of us, Whetstone also sells wines by the glass).
I don’t know if it was the wine, Addie’s southern drawl, or the dog asleep on my foot, but I wanted to stay for a while….
I know we’ll be back.
UPDATE: I really did enjoy this winery and wine quite a bit, so much so that I did return the following week to buy even more wine for a blind tasting I was planning.
We included Whetstone’s Pleasant Hill Pinot Noir in the blind tasting against other similar wines. It won.
Visit Whetstone on your next visit to Napa Valley.