Chimney Rock Winery
Summary: Chimney Rock Winery is on Napa Valley’s Silverado Trail. Traveling along the Silverado Trail, eyes are drawn to the bright white buildings set back from the highway. Anyone traveling on Silverado Trail Road will notice the vibrant vineyard in front of the facility.
Chimney Rock Winery is easy to find on the Silverado Trail. The stark white facility may well have the brightest buildings in the area. Vineyards cover the area between the road and the tasting room. Many roses are added to the surrounding landscaping. A large rectangular section in front of the tasting room is filled with many colors of poppies – red, orange, yellow, pink and white.
The tasting room is attractive for enjoying wines. The ceiling is A-shaped. The countertop is marble-style with a wood base. Artwork is displayed on walls and also available for sale. Visitors can browse the artwork, books and Riedel supplies. In the Chimney Rock tasting room, we met Jan Aksztulewicz an enthusiastic and passionate member of the Chimney Rock team. She noted that the winery is committed to quality. Previous to the winery, the location was the Chimney Rock Golf Course.
In 1979 Hack and Stella Wilson, a South African couple, were looking for property in Stags Leap District. The Wilsons searched the world but decided to settle in Napa Valley. According to Jan, Hack built the winery and tasting room in a Cape Dutch architecture-style because he wanted Stella to feel at home in Napa Valley. Notice the graceful curves in the architecture.
Vineyards and Winery
Vineyards consist of 110 acres with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Eight acres planted with Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris are in Rutherford Hills.
The winery’s first harvest was in 1984.The Chimney Rock winery was built in 1989 and the tasting room in 1990. In 2000 a new production facility was built.
The winemaker is Elizabeth Vianna. The winery has 52 stainless steel tanks. Whole berry reds are place in the tanks. Fermentation and extended maceration takes place in these tanks. The free run juice is then bled off. The wine is oaked for six months in French oak barrels, blended and then continues for another 12 months in French oak. Wines are bottled with a portable bottling line. Chimney Rock Winery produces 20,000 to 25,000 cases of wine. A barrel aging room can also serve as a special event area.
Elevage Blanc 2008 was a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris. The wine aged in wood and stainless steel offered a citrus aroma. The taste had caramel nuances. The finish, with very light tannins, had notes of citrus and caramel.
Elevage Stags Leap District 2007 was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The dark ruby wine offered an aroma and taste of blackberries, blueberries and cocoa. The wine had bold tannins and a fruity finish. Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 was a dark ruby color with notes of blackberries and blueberries. The fruity finish had tannins. The wine had a perceived sweetness. Cabernet Sauvignon Tomahawk Vineyard Stags Leap was a dark ruby. Blackberry and blueberry notes were on the nose and taste. The finish had bold, chewy tannins with a long chewy and fruity aftertaste.
While visiting and tasting wines browse the gift items. For those traveling with several bottles of wine, Chimney Rock has container meant for air travel. Cigar lovers should check out the Elie Bleu Green Sycamore 120 Cigar Humidor. Several pieces of pottery with scenes of Chimney Rock Winery are available in the tasting room.
Enjoy a visit to Chimney Rock Winery on the Silverado Trail.
Chimney Rock Winery
5350 Silverado Trail
Napa, California 94558
GPS: N38º 23.449’ W122º 18.847’
Visit these California organizations and wineries that partner with Wine Trail Traveler.