On any given day, XOJET, which has the nation’s largest floating fleet of Challenger 300 and Citation X super mid-size jets, flies as many as 60 flights a day around the country.
But at this time of year, one destination starts popping up conspicuously: Napa County Airport, the closest one to the Napa Valley wine region. It’s the harvest and there’s nothing like being in the heart of wine country while it’s in full swing.
To that end, we interviewed the people on the ground, winemakers and winery owners at top Napa properties, to get a firsthand report on the 2016 vintage and to get their advice on where you should stay and dine if you decide to make a visit—the places where they relax during the harvest and where they send their friends.
As for the vintage, the answers were surprisingly uniform: balance, structure, classic flavor, all created by a growing season that was remarkably uniform (no weather ambushes). And as Kristof Anderson, the winemaker at Gargiulo Vineyards said, “finally a vintage not based on drought,” as there was good rainfall in the winter.
That left the perennial challenge: logistics. All of the winemakers cited the need to line up the picking crews in advance, yet having to pull the trigger on the harvest on relatively short notice.
“Thank God for cell phones,” said Doug Shafer, head of Shafer Vineyards, who recalled the days of tearing around the Valley in his pick-up trying to meet up with a crew foreman in order to book him. “Tech has allowed me to get more sleep.”
Gargiulo Vineyards: Jeff Gargiulo (owner) and Kristof Anderson (winemaker)
Located in Oakville and a producer of four Cabernets: Money Road Ranch (100% Cabernet, 900 cases annually), Aprile Super Oakville (96% Sangiovese, 900 cases), G Major 7 (Bordeaux blend, 900 cases, named for a classic jazz chord), and 575 OVX (100% Cabernet, 200 cases). The OVX is Gargiulo’s top wine, from the only vineyard in Napa Valley that borders the cult Cabernet property Screaming Eagle.