If you’re visiting Napa Valley, we suggest taking a tour of the Cakebread Winery. Cakebread Winery is one of Napa Valley’s famous wineries, which is still family operated and run by Jake Cakebread, who came to the Napa Valley over 30 years ago.
Mr. Cakebread wanted to take pictures of Napa Valley for a book, but fell so much in love with the place that he decided that he wanted to have his own vineyard. That was how Cakebread Cellars born, in the village of Rutherford in California.
The Cakebread Winery in Napa Valley is located to the north of the Robert Mondavi Winery. It is easy to get to, just take a turn on the east side of Highway 29. The driveway to the Cakebread Winery is covered by trees on either side and looks quite stunning, especially during spring time.
Mr. Cakebread kept the production as low as possible at the start, but as word spread about the outstanding quality of the wine produced by him, he was able to expand much faster. Soon, Cakebread Cellars had high quality wines sold in premium restaurants across the United States.
Tours of the Cakebread Winery are very popular with visitors to the Napa Valley and are a great way to pick up knowledge of the local wine industry. Visitors are given basic lessons on topics related to wine and wine tasting. There are food and wine pairing events and sensory seminars that take place every now and then at the Cakebread Winery. Wine tastings are offered every 15 minutes – but only if you book your visit in advance.
There’s a large garden at the back of the Cakebread Winery, which is where they get all the vegetables and herbs to make the wine. The Cakebread Winery has two full-time chefs who oversee everything that goes on here.
Cakebread Cellars produce some of the best Chardonnay’s you’ll have tasted. One we liked a lot was the 2007 Napa Valley Chardonay that had a wonderful aroma to it as well as a hint of toasted oak.
The Rubáiyat is a special blend made only at the Cakebread Winery – it consists of seamless combination of Pinot Noir and Zinfandel & Syrah. Also worth mentioning is the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is an excellent food wine made in the Bordeaux style, with the right combination of favor, acidity and structure.
The Cabernet Sauvignon has an elegant nose, with a slight floral appeal and lovely notes of blackberry, which is just perfect for the palate. They have a smooth and rounded touch to them, with a hint of firm yet soft tannins.
The Cakebread family has been in the wine business for 33 years now, and a lot has changed during this time. The farming techniques are no longer the same as they were in the past and use the latest technological innovations. Marketing, which is so important to winemakers, has changed too.
But few things remain just the same, such as the key values that built the Cakebread Cellars and contributed to its growing into a successful international wine company. These values include a commitment to achieving excellence in winemaking and strong ties to the local community. A visit to the Cakebread Winery is an experience that stays with you for long.
By: Chris Hartland