Wine caves and cave tours
Wine caves are the perfect places to store and age barrels of wine. Well out of the sun, they’re cool but not freezing all year. They also have a relative humidity of at least 75 percent. This reduces the loss of wine through evaporation that would otherwise happen when storing a non-airtight barrel for years at a time. Winemakers have used natural caves and quarries for centuries. With the growth of the wine industry in California, winemakers couldn’t always find natural caves tours in the mountains of Napa Valley. So they made their own, hiring the same workers and explosives experts that dug the silver mines in Nevada and tunnels through the mountains to create the best places for wine storage.
Cave tours of a winery near St. Helena
Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley, not far from downtown St. Helena, holds tastings in its barrel caves, where current releases and library wines may be sampled and visitors can learn how they make and store the wine. One of the wines in its library is the dark red 2009 Éloge. A fine blend from an excellent growing year, the ’09 Éloge has an aroma with a core of concentrated dark fruits, with cedar, violets, toast and streaks of red currants. Its flavor is similar — deep and full-bodied with concentrated dark fruits, spice and mocha. Cave tastings are $65, but one tasting fee can be waived by joining their wine club or making a $100 purchase. Join today.