Coombsville: The Secluded, Scenic Napa Wine Destination That You Probably Didn’t Know About
By Christina Mueller
With 30 miles and 16 American Viticultural Areas (AVA)s stretched north to south along Highway 29, Napa Valley is renowned for its legendary wines, luxurious resorts and Michelin-starred restaurants, yet at its southern end lies a region many visitors have yet to explore. Named for Napa’s founder, Coombsville is a relatively compact AVA that is not as well-known as its neighbors to the north. Its dense geographic area — Downtown Napa hems it in to the northwest and American Canyon to the south — makes it more intimate than Yountville or Calistoga, and the slower pace of development here means a mellower vibe and a mere sprinkling of up-valley’s glitz. With its small farms and neighborhood feel, think of Coombsville as a nature hike with wine.
Shaped like a caldera, a large cauldronlike hollow that forms shortly after the emptying of a magma chamber in a volcanic eruption, Coombsville benefits from pockets of cool breeze and fog that don’t make it up valley. The cooler temperatures are expressed in the region’s wines — sauvignon blanc speaks of grapefruit, not grass, which is typical of other regions in Napa and abroad. In cabernet sauvignon, soft, approachable tannins are the norm, but Coombsville cabernet sauvignon expresses itself most distinctly with flavors of blueberry and violet that are signatures of this southerly region...
...Due east from Oxbow lies Shadybrook Estate with an expansive patio suitable for socially-distanced tastings. Horse lovers take note: The property incorporates the former Rapp Quarter Horse Ranch, and vineyard tours by horseback are followed by a tasting of wines sourced from the vineyards you recently passed through. The rosé is a standout...
Dressage horses, they say, are developed like fine wines.
Likewise, some wines and spirits are infused with a love of all things equine.
By L.A. Sokolowski
Hacking out in a vineyard? It’s all in a day's work for Alex Greer, resident dressage trainer at Alko Equestrian Center, located on the Shadybrook Estate Winery at Rapp Ranch in Napa, California. After graduating from Cornell University in 2012, Greer trained in Wellington, Florida, imder the tutelage of intemationally renowned coaches and fine-tuned her “horses first, always” focus on boutique training, sales, and imports. “It is truly incredible to call such a beautiful facility home,” Greer says. “My clients and I love riding the estate’s groomed vineyard trails and hills. The horses are so happy. Our indoor arena has a vineyard view, and it’s a lovely backdrop to our dressage training. “Horses and wine are a perfect blend,” Greer continues. “The wines from Rapp Ranch/Shadybrook Estate are bold and frill of flavor, much like our dressage horses! It’s really special to drink wine made from the grapes you ride past every day. Their cabernet sauvignon is a bam favorite.” The estate’s winemaker, Rudy Zuidema, suggests that the 2017 vintage will age gracefully or, with proper decanting, can be enjoyed now” “The Shadybrook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon show-cases aromatics of lilac, blackberries, and mocha powder. The palette starts out rich and juicy, with notes of boysenberry preserves, hazelnut, and chocolate, transitioning into long, balanced tannins of exquisite texture.”
Zoom happy hour isn’t fun anymore. Try these 6 virtual team building ideas instead
Drink some wine and maybe even learn something
Zoom happy hour would be much improved with a remote wine tasting. Plenty of wineries (as well as breweries and distilleries) will sell serving-sized samples of their products to a group of coworkers or friends interested in trying their wares when they can’t come in in person, although regulations on liquor shipments vary from state to state.
Shadybrook Estate Winery in Napa, California, offers one-hour online group tastings guided by winemakers or company reps, says Kimberly Bothwell, the winery’s director of marketing and hospitality. Corporate customers often see it as a good way to relax at the end of a sales discussion or similar meeting. “Wine helps people loosen up a bit,” she says. But if you or your coworkers aren’t big drinkers, consider a virtual coffee or tea tasting instead.
Thank you to everyone who purchased wine through our website in month of April. It is because of you, we were able to make a sizable donation to UCLA Health in support of there COVID-19 Research and Education program. If you are interested in also making a donation directly to UCLA Health, please follow the link below. Together, we will fight COVID-19.
THIS CALIFORNIA WINERY HAS A UNIQUELY EQUINE COMPONENT.
By Jordan Mackay
In March 2019, Doriane Woolley was driving up an oak studded country road just outside Napa, California, a place she’d never been, on the way to a job interview, when something made her stop. An experienced rider and barn manager, Doriane was on the run from a Michigan winter in the icy grip of a -45-degree polar vortex. The New Mexico native was cursing the day she had left Texas horse country for a job in the icy Midwest. It was that Texas horse connection that caused her to stop. Suspended over the road was a large wooden plank carved with the words “Rapp Lane.” A sign embedded in the stone pillars flanking the drive read “Rapp Quarter Horse Ranch.”
“I stopped and stared at it and said, £No way!’” Doriane recalls. “I had worked with the Rapps, who were very dear friends of mine, in Texas. And this was where Phil, who is a leading cutting horse trainer, grew up.”
Through this gate was Shadybrook Estate, a winery and horse operation that was looking for an equestrian center manager. Doriane was there to interview for the job. She knew Phil had grown up in Napa but had no idea she was headed to the very site where his career began. Phil and his wife, Mary Ann, sold the Napa ranch and relocated the family to Weatherford, Texas, in 1994. Even though the ranch and the valley in general have been transformed by the advent of global wine fame, the Rapp spirit in this property lives on. Doriane got the job at Shadybrook and found respite from the cold. She also found an unusual combination of vineyards and Quarter Horses-Napa past and Napa present...
Shadybrook Estate , Platiné Blanc, Semillon, Napa Valley, 2017, Platinum Medal
Shadybrook Estate , Malbec, Estate Vineyards, Napa Valley, Coombsville, 2016, Gold Medal
Unique amongst all other wine competitions, the TEXSOM International Wine Awards holds a Sommelier Retreat behind the scenes. This year a total of 69 participants were in attendance; 45 sommeliers from 16 states and two countries and 24 mentors (Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine and Editors). While the judges and volunteers were hard at work facilitating the judging of over 2,800 wines, the panel of sommeliers tasted select medal-winning wines, received tutelage in writing about these wines from the esteemed editors also in attendance, practiced blind tasting techniques with Master Sommeliers and worked with the Wine Awards production team to understand the competition’s high standards and rigorous processes.
The TEXSOM International Wine Awards arranges award entries by category of beverage, place of origin, and type. Medals are awarded on a merit basis as bronze, silver, gold, or Judges’ Selection nomination, which are elevated to platinum.
Wines demonstrating quality and unique character that are exceptional even amongst their medal-winning peers may be nominated by judging panels for specific Judges’ Selection categories. All Judges’ Selection nominees are elevated to platinum medal. These platinum medal wines are blind tasted by special panels to award the winner for each category of Judges’ Selection medal. This year 52 Judges’ Selection medals were awarded.
Whether traveling to Napa for its exquisite wines or its picturesque vistas, Shadybrook Estate Winery at Rapp Ranch offers a truly unique experience that hearkens back to the Valley’s original ranchers. Located in a charming corner of Goombsville, the historic property offers guests a unique selection of small-lot Estate wines graciously crafted to showcase the balance and power of the Goombsville terroir. By appointment visits include an estate tour and tasting, either paired with cheese and charcuterie or for visitors with an adventurer’s spirit, a guided horseback ride through the vineyard.
Hot Summer days spent poolside or warm nights by the campfire. Why not enjoy them with a glass of wine in hand?
JUMBO PRAWN CEVICHE SALAD
A once sleepy, understated grape growing region of the Napa Valley has long been the secret ingredient for many award-winning and 90-plus point wines. Acclaimed vintners like Robert Mondavi, Joseph Phelps, Louie Martini, Dario Sattui and Paul Hobbs, to name a few, sourced their grapes from the rocky soils that abut the shadows of Mt. George in the Valley’s southeast side.
Shadybrook Estate at Rapp Ranch
Just a few miles away from the bustle of downtown Napa, nestled in the foothills of the Vacas Range, Napa Valley opens its kimono to the quiet grace of Coombsville. With sprawling acreage home to vineyards, farms, ranches and a peppering of multi generation residential communities, Coombsville is one of Napa Valley’s hidden treasures. Having received its AVA designation in 2011, it is becoming one of Napa’s most sought after regions for wineries to establish a footing both as a premier location to produce grapes and to open space to welcome visitors.
This past weekend’s Napa Truffle Festival took us to one of Napa’s newest winery settings in the Coombsville appellation in Napa – Shadybrook Estate at Rapp Ranch.
The Saturday afternoon luncheon was set on the beautiful expansive terrace of the stunning winery estate. Mother nature delivered a spectacular sunny warm day with gentle breezes and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valley. Guests sipped the extraordinary wines of Shadybrook beautifully paired with the truffle lunch prepared by Michelin star Chef Gabriel Kreuther of Gabriel Kreuther Restaurant. Chef was also assisted in the estates fabulous commercial kitchen by Napa Truffle Festival Host Chef, Ken Frank...
As one of nine recognized Great Wine Capitals, San Francisco | Napa Valley has awarded its hospitality leaders the 2018 Best Of Wine Tourism regional designations in seven categories.
The Best Of awards categories include accommodations; art and culture; architecture and landscape; innovative wine tourism experience; sustainable wine tourism practices; wine tourism restaurant; and wine tourism services.
The 2018 Best Of regional San Francisco Innovative Wine Tourism Experience is Shadybrook Estate Winery
Earlier this year, we submitted our wines into the infamous San Francisco International Wine Competition. Established in 1980, this long-standing competition sets the standard for professional wine judging across the globe on domestic and international wines. This competition is the largest international wine competition in the United States.
Out of the 4,600 wines submitted, our 2013 Malbec was awarded the Double Gold Medal! Our Malbec was not the only winner, the 2013 Cabernet received the Gold Medal and our 2014 Platine Blanc received the Silver Medal. We are elated and honored to be awarded this trifecta of medals and to be recognized as one of the world’s esteemed wine producers.
The SFIWC is considered to be one of the most influential wine competitions in the world and of all competitions, this is the one to win! A SFIWC medal has been established as a reliable indication of wine excellence and wines recognized as medal-worthy by our judges are universally understood to be among the very best. Competition judges are established wine-industry experts. Medal winners are chosen through a rigorous judging process – a highly controlled operation held over four days of blind tastings.
Congratulations to Rudy Zuidema, our esteemed winemaker, and the Shadybrook team for the well-deserved win on all three Shadybrook Estate Wines at the 2016 San Francisco International Wine Competition!