This is a guest post by Bettie Infante.
Our recent trip to beautiful Napa Valley was filled with awe inspiring views, architecture and wine tastings. It is easy to be overwhelmed with this area. There are literally hundreds of wineries across the valley. Therefore, we chose to visit 3-4 wineries per day. This allowed us to appreciate the gorgeous views, unique wineries and fabulous wine.
O’Brien Estate Winery was by far our favorite for several reasons. Most importantly, this winery is the real deal. All of their wines are made from grapes grown on their vineyard without pesticides or herbicides; they do not purchase grapes from other vineyards or outsource any of their wine productions. They are an “Estate Winery” simply because their wine is made from start to finish at their winery. Today there are over 700 wineries in Napa Valley but less than 200 are “Estate Wineries.”
One of the unique basics of O’Brien wines is that each bottle tells a love story. Bart and Barb O’Brien have written a poem on the back of each bottle representing the romantic name of the wine. With names like Fascination, Attraction, Flirtation, Romance of the Heart, Seduction, Passion of the Soul, Devotion, and Reflection describe a beautiful and unfolding love story of two people.
We quickly became wine club members after enjoying our tour of their estate and tasting their wines. Our tour was casual but sufficiently explained their unique winemaking. Our tour began outside overlooking forty acres of vineyards from their backyard. Afterwards we moved inside to the winery to see the winemaking process from crushing the grapes, storage in the French oak barrels to bottling the wine. We enjoyed a very relaxed friendly experience and an especially memorable time.
Our tasting experience included several wines which progressed through the love story of the owners. The story is told through the names of the wines beginning with “Seduction” a Sauvignon Blanc and continuing with “Attraction” a Chardonnay, “Flirtation” a Merlot, “Romance of the Heart” a Merlot Bordeaux Blend, “Seduction” a Cabernet Bordeaux Blend, “Passion of the Soul” a Cabernet Sauvignon, “Devotion” a Cabernet Franc/Merlot, and finally “Reflection” a Late Harvest Cuvee. While we enjoyed all of the wines our favorites were the reds, especially the Merlots.
Two philosophies exist at the O’Brien Estate Winery. First, low yields make better wine and second, wide spaced rows make great wine. Low yields are achieved by dropping fruit to maintain quality. Their average yield is approximately 3 tons per acre. The rows in the vineyard are 12 feet wide and each grape vine is 8 feet apart. This unusually wide spacing allows the afternoon sun to reach the grapes improving the rich flavor and deep color of the grape skin. This approach improves the quality of the wine even though the yield is smaller. You can definitely taste the quality of their wines in every bottle. At O’Brien Estate Winery the wine is made in the vineyard.
This story of romance and wine began more than 20 years ago and has a fairytale ending. Their passion for winemaking shines through in every aspect of the winery. From production of authentic wines made without artificial techniques to their traditional wine making techniques O’Brien Estate Winery is truly a dream come true.
Bettie and Nuch Infante are proprietors of Wineablegifts, a small business ecommerce site that sells unique upscale and unmatched hand painted wine glasses and flutes. Learn more about them at the Wineablegifts blog.