Look up "Tulocay" on
the internet and usually the first thing you get is the cemetery
down the road. Like where dead people hang out.
In case anybody's wondering, that's not us. Well, we might act like zombies
sometimes, especially after a long afternoon of wine tasting, but by and
large we're very much alive, thank you very much.
And who are "we"?
Well, there's Bill, the owner/winemaker, and Brie, his daughter
and assistant winemaker. Then there's Buddy
the dog, the winery cats (ugh!) and me, Skippy,
Chief Cellar Rat.
Bill has owned Tulocay ever since he founded
the winery in 1975.
What makes Tulocay wines unique?
The winery is located in the Coombsville district
just east of downtown Napa. This was once an area devoted to horse farms, but
now has come into its own for its uniquely cool grape growing climate (relative
to the rest of upper Napa Valley). The Haynes Vineyard from which Bill gets most of his fruit, is
located in the Coombsville district.
As Napa Valley wineries go, Tulocay is
one of the oldest. It's also one of the smallest. And just in case you're wondering,
it doesn't have any trams, fancy tours, gift shops or anything else of the
sort. And, oh yeah, it's NOT owned by a mega international corporation.
I see you have a few older wines in your repertoire. How come?
First, Tulocay wines are made to develop with age. Most are bottled unfined
and unfiltered, leaving in the wines all the "stuff" that nature
endowed them with. That means they are capable of aging for a
long time, unlike so many of the corporate wines of today that are fashioned
for the "drink
me now" generation.
Second, we believe in the old-fashioned
way of selling wines; that is, from the winemaker directly
to the customer. Wine is a connection. It is family. We would like nothing
more than to know each and every person who buys each and every bottle
of our wine. Thus, we don't have to rush to get them out the door and onto retail shelves.
Just why do Tulocay reds throw so much sediment?
Today, most folks expect their wines — white, pink, and red — to
be absolutely clear. But highly filtered, crystal clear reds? Forget it! That's
like having your peanut butter creamy. Only wimps eat creamy peanut butter.
Real men and women eat crunchy peanut
butter, just like real men and women drink red wine with stuff in
Gee, can anyone visit your winery?
Mais oui! Unlike the hoity-toity tourist-focused wineries that Napa has (unfortunately)
become famous for, we offer our own "down home" style
of tour — just
like Napa Valley used to be in the old days before it became Beverly
And you're even welcome to bring a lunch here and dine at our picnic
table under the giant oak in the front patio. Tastings are $25 per person.
The only requirement is
to give Bill a call in advance so he can make sure someone's around. Fair
Buddy, Bill, Brie and the winery cats all look forward to
seeing you. As for me, Skippy, Chief Cellar Rat, I usually remain in the
shadows … hopefully munching on cheese.