Napa Road Trip


Like the grapes themselves, every year seems to bring a new crop of wineries to California. And, while Napa Valley is no exception, we recently found a couple of not-so-newcomers to the region, Sommerston and Hidden Ridge, who have been doing some interesting things, if a bit undetected.

First, we’ll visit with Craig Becker, winemaker and General Manager for Somerston vineyards and winery. Located high in the eastern mountains of Napa Valley, this project came to together after proprietor Allan Chapman purchased the historic Priest Ranch and the Elder Valley east of Rutherford – creating one contiguous 1,628-acre property in 2006. With over 200 acres of vineyards, a winery built from a renovated 12,000 square-foot barn, and 1,500 head of Dorper sheep, the place practically has its own little ecosystem.

Next, we were off to Hidden Ridge vineyards, located on Spring Mountain. “ Hidden” is the operative word here, as this site is way off the main road, and practically hanging off a cliff. When Casidy Ward & Lynn Hofacket purchased the property in 1991, they thought the former site of a private hunting club was the perfect location for a home in the country – literally away from it all. However, they hadn’t realized how difficult it would be to develop such a rural property for residential use. Ultimately, it proved to be a better place for grapes than for people, and they found that Cabernet Sauvignon thrived on the otherwise inhospitable 55 degree slopes at elevations from 900 to 1700 feet.

Join us as we visit with Craig Becker of Somerston, and Casidy Ward of Hidden Ridge to hear about their trials, tribulations and experiences at growing grapes in the Napa Valley.

Sponsor: Wine Berserkers – Wine Board:

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Show #287
(34:58 min 25MB)

3 Responses to “Napa Road Trip”

  1. 1 Ted Jun 8th, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Congratulations on your 2nd james beard award!! Thanks for putting up a new episode–it had been over a month–you guys were killing me! keep up the great work!!

  2. 2 Michael P Jun 14th, 2011 at 5:27 am

    I would love to know that Craig Becker and Co. at Somerston Vineyards are going to eventually dry farm. All the talk about sustainable, environmental practices…and then irrigation. Seems like a truely sustainable farm would not irrigate. Save the water for the people. Grapes don’t need to be watered.

    With that, looking forward to trying Somerston wines, and thanks!
    Michael P

  3. 3 Gary Sep 27th, 2011 at 6:39 am

    I took my first trip to Napa last summer and it was an absolute delight – can’t wait to go back. I’ll definitely try to check out Hidden Ridge as it sounds like a nice place off the beaten path.

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