Italics Winery - No roof, no walls, no bar to belly up to. Just what kind of tasting room is this?

No roof, no walls, no bar to belly up to. Just what kind of tasting room is this?

A tasting room is a place to sip and swirl and meet new people and make new friends. But there’s no reason it has to be a room. Not when you can walk among the vines and feel the crunch of soil beneath your feet, the sun on your face and the soft spirals of tendrils at your fingertips.

Right now we’re building our tasting room, so the great outdoors is our classroom, our playground, our hospitality center. As you walk the rows you can learn about vine spacing, trellising and pruning – things that effect vigor, yield and quality. Or you can sip your wine and tune it all out. It’s not like it’s going to be on the mid-term.

What happens when it rains? We visit the caves where our wines are resting. Nothing illuminates the winemaker’s art more than a cave tour. Here, all the barrels are laid before you. Every varietal from every block, every component of every blend. It’s quite a sight.

One day soon we’ll have a tasting room of our own, with comfy chairs and floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the view. But our attention will always remain in the vineyards.

Italics Winery - You could tell from the start this wasn’t going to be your typical winemaker dinner.

You could tell from the start this wasn’t going to be your typical winemaker dinner.

Wine dinners have a certain protocol. Guests are assembled, name tags are applied, and with the arrival of each course, the winemaker offers insights into his wines, his craft, his personal genius. You would expect a glass of Champagne to begin the proceedings, or maybe a Chardonnay. But tequila?

Anyone who’s enjoyed Steve and Taylor’s hospitality knows their penchant for tequila and their disdain for protocol. To Steve, these dinners are for the guests’ enjoyment, not the winemaker’s vanity. Tequila helps take things down a notch.

And while Taylor will tell you that a shot before dinner stimulates the appetite, the true inspiration for these toasts has always been to acknowledge the farmworkers and all of the staff that labor behind the scenes. The sacrifices they make, especially at harvest, are enormous and yet they do it year after year without complaint. To them we say, “¡Arriba, abajo, al centro, pa' dentro!" (Up, down, center and inside!)

As it turns out, tequila and wine have a lot in common and Steve and Taylor will often conduct a highlands-versus-lowlands tasting to demonstrate the role of terroir. The tastings have gotten more elaborate over the years and the toasts have gotten longer, but the spirit remains the same. Maybe that's why there’s never an empty seat.

Italics Winery - A basket press exerts 29 pounds of pressure per square inch. And if you’ve ever joined a wine club you know exactly how that feels.

A basket press exerts 29 pounds of pressure per square inch.
And if you’ve ever joined a wine club you know exactly how that feels.

Every winery wants you to join their club; we're no exception. But we understand that sometimes wineries can go overboard. That’s why we’ve structured our wine club – and in fact our entire hospitality experience – to be as low-key as possible.

It starts the moment you step on the property. When you visit Italics, you choose what sort of experience you want to have. We’re just as happy to hold forth on winemaking as we are to hold our tongues. Either way, you’ll be greeted by winery principals who know “their Bordeaux from their claret,” as Basil Faulty wryly put it.

Having tasted the wines, it’s our hope you’ll want to buy some. But there will be no sales spiel, no arm-twisting and none of the discounts that other wineries use to entice you to join their club. We figure, you either want what we have to offer or you don’t. No reason to confuse matters.

Should you join our club, you’ll find it’s super flexible. You never have to simply take what you’re offered. You’re free to choose how much wine you want to receive and what varieties. Want to change your mind? Just call us. Unlike some other places, we won’t drop you if you do. The whole idea here is, you should get as much satisfaction from your fifth wine shipment as your first.

There’s more to our club than just wine, of course. As we see it, membership is a form of community. People who like fine wine and tasteful living tend to enjoy the company of others who share their interests. So we’re building a calendar of events – winemaker dinners, VIP gatherings, local market visits – where members can congregate and maybe pop a few corks. Again, it’s all rather low-key. Here at Italics, we leave the high-pressure tactics on the crush pad.

Italics Winery - The pursuit of happiness can take you down many roads. May we offer a map?

The pursuit of happiness can take you down many roads.
May we offer a map?

It’s a fair guess that when you come to Wine Country, Italics isn’t your sole destination and tasting wine isn’t the only thing you care to do. The reason why Napa is one of California’s premier vacation spots is that whatever your interests or indulgences – be they food, film, fitness or shopping -- there’s an outlet for them.

Naturally, we have a handful of go-to places and hospitality partners. But we figure you're best served by having a friend to assist you. So if there's anything you need to make your stay more special, don't hesitate to call us.

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