Tasting Room Hours: 10am to 5pm daily. Walk in or make a reservation (online or call 707-255-1144).
Why go: Very good Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, wide range of many other good whites and reds, moderate prices, interesting destination.
The Hess Collection visitor center is a unique Napa Valley tasting experience, one of the few where art and fine wine are presented together with as much abundance and balance. From Napa, take the Redwood/Trancas exit off Highway 29 and head west 10 to 15 minutes up Mt. Veeder. Clear and well-placed signs will guide you there.
Check in at the visitor’s center reception desk and you’ll be sent upstairs to the art gallery (no charge) or across the hall to the tasting room on the ground floor. Tasting room decor is sparse compared to most, but pleasant, just a few vineyard photographs on rock walls and displays depicting cross sections of local soils. Tasting is handled at the tasting bar, but sale of wine and related products takes place in the adjacent retail space.
The breadth of varietals produced is extensive. Most grapes are sourced from nearby mountain, inland or coastal vineyards with names such as Veeder Hills, Veeder Summit, Su’skol, Allomi (Pope Valley) or Shirtail Creek (Monterey County). Veeder Hills is planted with a wide range of reds and whites at elevations between 1,300 and 2,000 feet with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot specifically from 600 to 1,120 feet. These altitudes provide a slightly cooler micro climate compared to many of the near-sea level vineyards on the Napa Valley floor, resulting in concentrated characteristics in Hess Collection wines.