Walk #95: Fear and Loathing in the Napa Valley: Silver Oak and Opus One
Posted Apr 06 2009 12:00am
Walk Duration: 1 1/2 hours
Every once and awhile you have to do something different. Since I've been marooned here in the Napa Valley for what seems like an eternity, I decided to visit some wineries after work today. That part isn't different. The different part is I decided to drop by after they had closed.
So I drove south of St. Helena and pulled over outside the long driveway to Silver Oak Cellars. I walked down the long driveway; hadn't been there since 2003. Putting in solar panels is all the rage with Napa Valley wineries and Silver Oak is no exception. I walked over and inspected their three long, long rows of panels. I took my finger and cleaned the dust off one of them. Rows of inverters advertised how many pounds of CO2 was saved by the system.
The solar panels are right next to the limousine parking.
The time is 5:00 pm. They closed at four. Workers leave, waving to me as I walk the grounds. A friendly place! They aren't suspicious at all of my after hours tour. The warehouse doors are open and music blares from inside. I can see a few barrels of wine; don't know if they have wine in them or not, but since they are in the sun--I hope they don't. Silver Oak goes for $80 a bottle of Cabernet (maybe more). Cabernet is all that they make. Talk to any wine loving doctor, dentist, computer nerd, trustfundner, executive or any other professional who enjoys the benefits of what Karl Whiskers Marx called "credentialism", and you will more than likely find a fan of this Napa Valley Cab.
I think about touring the warehouse, but decide not to. That seems a little intrusive, even for me.
It was a lovely tour. Time to move on--walk back down the road, hang a left, cross the Napa River and take the back roads into Opus One Winery. I walk around the closed gate. When you read "Opus", most of us probably think of the Penguin character of the Sunday Comics. People who love wine (really, really EXPENSIVE wine) think of the partnership of Robert Mondavi and the Rothschilds of France. This Napa Valley Cabernet retails at $165 a bottle.
I've never tried it. Nor have I tasted at the winery.
I get spooked walking down the road--- in a Hunter Thompson sort of sense. Suddenly I feel like good old Hunter, driving across the desert in his convertible, frightened of imaginary bats. Fear and Loathing in the Napa Valley. I listen to that little voice that says: "You better get the hell out of here now". Paranoia. This winery doesn't have quite so friendly of vibes. And no solar panels anywhere.