Goosecross Cellars CEO Christi Coors Ficeli 2

Hard-working Goosecross Cellars CEO Christi Coors Ficeli (left) and the Max Occupancy sign I liberated from the barrel room, aided by Goosecross’ Head Bandit, Neil Bason.

Napa Valley’s Goosecross Cellars held an open house yesterday to showcase their newly-constructed winery and tasting room. It was a great opportunity to visit an old friend that appears to be growing in the right direction.

Those of us who have been making the trek to Goosecross for several years hold warm memories of the old tasting room. It was a throwback to the early days of Napa Valley wine tasting when producers would simply stand a couple old barrels on their end, lay a wooden plank across them and – boom – that was the tasting room. Nothing fancy. The old Goosecross tasting room was not that primitive, but it had the “we make and drink great wine here, period” attitude.

From downtown Yountville we would take Yountville Cross Road east for just a couple minutes, then turn left onto State Lane. Take another left to enter a hundred yard driveway bounded on each side by rows of Cabernet Sauvignon. Park, then wind your way around a half dozen or so steel fermentation tanks of various random sizes. When you thought you were lost, you’d come to a door that appeared to lead to a storage closet. Open the door – enter the tasting room. A single bar with barely enough standing room only space to comfortably host about a dozen visitors, surrounded by oak barrels and wine making equipment. The wines were excellent and the atmosphere was cozy, laid back and fun. And then there were those bacon-flavored chocolate bars that made the reds so much tastier.

The new visitors center sits on the same site where the old winery and tasting room stood. Enter from State Lane and you’re still surrounded by vineyards as you cruise down the driveway. Despite everything at the end of the driveway being newly constructed, the essence of a fun visit to Goosecross Cellars is largely unchanged.

The new visitor center takes up about the same amount space among the vineyards as did the old buildings. Architectural design of the new facility is neat and efficient and the feel of a traditional farmhouse is enhanced with splashes of modern design (e.g. tasting room overhead lighting). This balance appears to reflect the development that Goosecross Cellars has gone through since being acquired in 2013 by Golden Equity Investments (GEI), an investment arm of the Coors brewing family. While the intimacy of the old tasting room can’t be duplicated, the spirit of a fun Napa Valley wine tasting experience lives on. The already-excellent wines are increasing in quality and the staff is as friendly, knowledgeable and Goosecross-like as ever.

The open house was a hit. Local caterer Laura Fox of Winery Chefs paired some tasty bites with Goosecross current releases. Wines I sampled included Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. I took home the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc (Lake County), 2013 Chardonnay (Carneros) and 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (State Lane). Originally known for their excellent Napa Valley-grown Chardonnay, it’s good to see that Goosecross is currently sourcing grapes from the best vineyard locations for each varietal. Their State Lane vineyards are exclusively planted in reds.

On your next Napa Valley Wine Adventure, stop by Goosecross Cellars for great wines and a fun, friendly atmosphere.

Goosecross Cellars

1119 State Lane, Yountville, CA 94599

Tastings and Tours by Appointment    Phone  (707) 944-1986