Stags’ Leap Winery is situated in the hills of Napa Valley, and to get there requires driving on a lot of winding roads. The estate is spectacular, and the tour of Stags’ Leap Winery is worth the drive. Built in 1892, the Manor House has been the venue for many parties for more than a century.
The Chase family (of Chase Bank fortune) built the Manor House, and hosted dignitaries for years in the home until they sold it to the Grange family. After a tragic accident, the widow was left with a large estate, wine business, vineyards, and two young children. Frances Grange was a smart businesswoman, and made a few savvy changes including making the decision to invest in the vineyard and abandon the wine-making business. She sold the grapes, and others made the wine. This was extremely profitable for her.
Then, she turned the mansion into a resort and guests paid $7.50 a night. She loved to entertain, and had large dinner parties with plenty of Napa Valley wine. When Prohibition threatened to stop the party, like the rest of America, they just moved the party downstairs. She created a Speakeasy underneath the stone mansion, which was accessed by a secret trap door in the check-in entrance. Our host noted that it was “the first man cave ever constructed by a woman.” Now, the Speakeasy has an entrance on the outside of the house and is a little lounge with a bar, but during the Prohibition years, it was concealed by the Manor’s stone exterior.
We continued the tour of the property and visited the wine caves. Caves have a natural temperature of 55 degrees, perfect for aging wine. The first wine cave, about 150 feet deep, took many years to build because men spent 10 hours a day with pick axes digging into the side of the mountain, only to move about 18 inches a day. The new Stags’ Leap Winery Cave is 27,000 square feet, and the centuries-old temperature control method holds true today: it does not require electricity to cool.
We ended our tour by the very popular bocce ball court, which is bordered with beautiful old stonework and overlooks the vineyards. Will and I played a few games while sipping on Rose after the tour, before our dinner at Mustard’s.
The property also has a lawn tennis court, gorgeous gardens, and an old pool surrounded by a stone trellis.
After a tour of the property, we went back to the Manor House for a tasting, and enjoyed several wines that we know and love, and several exclusive to the winery. All, of course, are amazing.
The winery only offers 40 tours a day, so if you’re planning a trip to Napa, you need to make a reservation to take a tour of Stags’ Leap Winery.
Photos of our Stags’ Leap Winery Tour
(click on the photos to scroll through)