DRINK – Beyond the Tasting Bar

Last week I was at two wineries who have taken the wine tasting experience outside. What a great alternative to the crowded, standing room only, traditional winery tasting bars.


Frog’s Leap Winery in Rutherford is one of the most beautiful places in Napa Valley. They are organic and sustainable, and the ground around the winery features a working garden and hen house (they sell to local restaurants) and pond. The red barn is a wine country icon.


The seated tastings are something fairly new for Frog’s Leap, so if you haven’t been in a few years, be sure to check it out next time you’re in Napa. The tasting is four wines, and you sit outside on the big veranda of the Vineyard House, with a terrific view. Reservations not necessary, but in the summer you might want to make one. Cost is $15 per person. Of course you can go on one of two daily tours for free.

By the way, here’s a feature we did on In Wine Country a couple years ago about Frog’s Leap.

Have you heard of Elizabeth Spencer Wines?


This is a fairly new winery, with what just might be the smallest tasting room in Napa Valley. It’s housed in what was the original Rutherford post office. The building is a mere 300 sq. ft. We also featured the tasting room on In Wine Country.

Now there is a very cool garden outdoor seating area, where you can sit, relax and enjoy your wine tasting.

For Cabernet fans, you might want to go for the Appellation tasting.  Elizabeth Spencer is best known for its Cabs.


The tasting takes place in an open air room, with a view of the garden patio.  The Cabs are paired with chocolate and other small bites. The regular tasting is $15; the Appellation tasting is $40. Reservations required for each.

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