There are several wine related perks to owning a restaurant; sales reps are consistently leaving you full bottles of wine from the vineyards they are currently promoting, you receive dozens of comped passes to a variety of wine events and freebie promotional wine swag. I now have a corkscrew for every room in my house. Bathrooms included.

But, nothing has been as impressive as the exclusively private wine tasting at Napa Valleys Trinchero Family Estates that included an overnight stay at the Sutter Home Victorian Inn.

We arrived at Trinchero Family Estates for our tasting and entered the quaint public tasting room where several folks were already indulging. We would not be tasting there. They quickly shuffled us to the separate Hospitality House.

Hospitality was located on the same lush grounds, but not in the same building.

Sandra greeted us and welcomed us into her ‘home’.  A place she comes to work every day to entertain trade visitors like us. Bummer. That is sincere sarcasm and you will see why.

We walked through the foyer to the Restoration Hardware-esque sitting room. The couches were so deep they could have doubled for a bed. Perfect for the after wine buzz nap. I will refrain. Probably.

We started our pre-tasting tasting on these couches, sipping Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc and getting an introduction to the Trinchero family history.

The Trinchero Family passion for winemaking started more than 60 years ago when they purchased Sutter Home Winery. Today they represent over 27 brands in the United States and Australia.

Moving off of the couch and into the dining room, the stately table featured a game that they had created called Aroma Wheel of Fortune. Perfect, I like games. In this one you spin the wheel and guess the wine related scent that you land on.

Let’s play. Round One. I lost on the first spin with pineapple. Really? Pineapple? Just a wee bit embarrassing since I had recently spent an afternoon touring a pineapple farm in Maui. Maybe more wine will ease the pain.

We made our way through the kitchen. Damn them for having this commercial-style kitchen filled with dream equipment. Some that I had never seen before. Oh, the things I could cook in there.

After viewing the top floor Sandra invited us into the ‘basement’. Calling the lower floor simply a ‘basement’ did not do it justice.

There was nothing plain about this floor, from its candle wax wall to the over-sized rusted chain links to the hat mold wall.

Can I live here? Really.

We did our official tasting in the sun room with a view only Napa Valley could have. Six wines were at the table, none of which I had tried before. We worked our way from whites to red, some of us spitting, some of us dumping and some of us gulping. I did a little of each.

The show stopper for me was the Trinchero Cabernet Franc. It was gulp worthy.

After a lovely, wine-filled two and a half hours, it was time to check into the Sutter Home Victorian Inn which was just a few miles down the road.

Unfortunately, just as with the wine tasting, the Inn is private and only open to invited guests, mostly industry related members. I have never been so happy to be one of them. Or to see my name first on the list.

The Bed & Breakfast, just south of downtown St. Helena, was reminiscent of my recent stay at the Dresser Palmer House in Savannah, Georgia. Quaint and charming. Our overnight lodging also came with a free bottle of wine, specifically selected for our taste buds, a Grenache by Shatter. Drinking is promoted in Napa Valley. I like Napa.

Have you ever done a private wine tasting? Have you been to Napa?

Disclosure: My visit was sponsored by Trinchero Family Estates and Sutter Home Victorian Inn, but all the words I write come straight from my, sometimes distorted, mind. Just as it should be.

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