Piazza Del Dotto

If you’ve gone to Napa over the last few years, it’s been pretty hard to miss the construction going on at Piazza Del Dotto right at the beginning of Oakville. Already known for their exceptional wines and super fun cave tours, it seems like they were ready to expand even further in the realm of their top of the line experiences.The installment of Piazza Del Dotto came from their family philosophy that wine tasting should be a complete sensory experience. Dave and Yolanda Del Dotto, already avid wine collectors, managed to snag a property in Rutherford in 1988 after falling in love with the views there. Shortly after moving the family up from Hawaii, they began what everyone else in Napa with a property does, winemaking. Their success with winemaking (a couple of 100 pt wines) would not only cement their legacy, but allow them to expand even further, giving way to Piazza Del Dotto. Piazza Del Dotto, boats an Italian-inspired barn, surrounded by acres of Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, tasting cabanas, vegetable gardens, 17th century fountains, and an outdoor barn.

With food and wine being the heart and soul of a Del Dotto experience, they have their own Chef Joshua Schwartz running their program, boasting a career from The French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon and Bouley. The story is the Del Dotto family loved to dine in Yountville, and after many wonderful experiences at Bouchon, they favored dishes that came from Josh, and decided to poach him for their own. Offering him a double pay, freedom of direction, and less grueling hours, the switch was made, and Schwartz has been with them for the last 10 years. With great wines and a rockstar for a food program, it’s pretty easy to see why the opening of Piazza Del Dotto was a highly anticipated event.Piazza Del Dotto opened late last year, and we were invited to the grand opening, but unfortunately didn’t get to make it out. Luckily enough we were able to secure a time early this year and made the trip up. — WARNING:  PICTURE HEAVY POST INBOUND.–

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Steven Kent Winery

While everyone knows Napa and Sonoma as the big California wine region up in the North, Livermore has actually been quietly existing as powerhouse wine destination for just as long, if not longer. Contrary to popular belief of the Judgment of Paris in 1976, California actually won its first wine competition in France with a Livermore wine in the 1889 Paris Exhibition. That being said, we never really found a reason to drive in the opposite direction from where we were located, but luckily, the power of Instagram pointed us the right way into discovering a Livermore gem that was much more than just “pretty good.”

We met Craig Ploof, assistant winemaker for Steven Kent Winery through the grapevine of connections and winemakers on instagram, and were instantly attracted to his personality and his love and passion for good wine. After trying one of the Steven Kent flagships Lineage offsite, we decided that we had to visit, because clearly there was some magic happening in Livermore.

Steven Kent Winery

Steven Kent was founded in 1996 by Steven Kent Mirassou (fifth-generation winemaker from the Mirassou winemaking family) with the focus of making the best Bordeaux-style wines that rivaled the best in the world. With soils that resembled that of the left bank in Bordeaux, and a region that was already miles ahead of cultivating Bordeaux varieties compared to the neighbors of Napa, the foundations were perfect for Steven to set the standard of what fine Livermore wine would be today. Continue reading “Steven Kent Winery”


What do you do when you’re 15, underage, but manage to get your hand on a beer crafting kit? You make beer, and throw a party. That’s what Ralph Hertelendy did, and little did he know it would eventually come full circle, and he would be making alcohol again years later, but in the form of wine.

We’ve heard of Hertelendy wines through a various amounts of media such as Ian Cauble’s SommSelect and have seen it on Wine Spectrum newsletters before, and have always been curious to try it, and luck would have it that Ralph reached out to us. While it isn’t often that wineries/owners will come visit us in San Francisco, Ralph was on his way up for bottling and decided to pay us a quick visit at our headquarters in San Francisco.

The Hertelendy lineup for the evening at TheWineGuys HQ

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Perhaps like us, you’ve heard of Turnbull and have had their wines and maybe have come to the same consensus that, much like all of Oakville, they make fantastic wines. You’ve maybe driven by it numerous amount of times on Highway 29, and have seen the big Turnbull sign with their big brown barn and paid it no attention. You probably saw their gated entrance and have thought, maybe it’s not worth the effort. Admittedly so, this was definitely us for the last four years despite rather enjoying their wines and (relatively new) labeling. Luckily, we were given a chance to visit Turnbull courtesy of Magnum PR and we’re rather glad we were available to take them up on their offer.

Beautiful spring flowers in one of the Turnbull gardens

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Young Inglewood

While we definitely are active in trying to find great wines, sometimes we miss more than a few, and have to be recommended by our good friends. Young Inglewood was one of the wineries that we just didn’t know quite a lot about and it came to our attention after our friend and distributor Nathan Kunzman (The Wine Poor) raved that we had to visit it. While we definitely kept Young Inglewood in mind, we always seemed to have missed them, either they were busy, or we were busy, and our schedules didn’t work out. Every time we would talk to Nathan, he would ask us, “have you visited Young Inglewood yet?” It became such a dragged out process that we were beyond thrilled to find a time that worked for us. It was a rainy day, and Napa was borderline flooding, but that didn’t stop us at all and we sure were glad we stopped by.

Young Inglewood on a rainy day

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Tank Garage Winery

If you’ve stopped by Calistoga, you would probably notice that this town has it’s own vibe, much different from the atmosphere you normally would find in Napa. It’s fun, quirky, relaxed, and it still provides you with everything that you would expect: good food, good wine, and good people without the fluff. It makes sense that a winery that embodies that spirit of Calistoga is conveniently placed in town disguised as a restored 1930’s gas station.

How it would look on a sunny day, unfortunately we went on a rainy day

Tank winery has been around for only three years, but they are no strangers to the wine game. Having sister wineries Regusci, T-Vine, and James Cole, Tank has departed from the traditional branding of wineries that they represent and have pushed their own agenda and image. Tank winery is all about living in the moment, and having no rules.

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Leaf & Vine

If you’ve been to Napa enough and have strayed off the path of the famous Highway 29, you may have heard of the “warehouse district” of Napa, which houses an unbelievable amount of boutique wineries. Inside, we’ve there lies a small father & son winery called  Leaf & Vine, and it’s an absolute gem. We discovered Leaf & Vine on accident while going through a tasting with Ryan Keith, who formerly worked for Plumpjack, Odette, and Cade. While tasting through the new vintages of the three wineries, he also brought out a few bottles of Leaf & Vine, and briefly told us his brother was the winemaker. He then poured us the wines after the tasting and wanted to know what we thought about it. Not really knowing or expecting anything, we gave the wines a shot, and came out loving the wine. After hearing the price point for the wines, we were floored. We knew we had to make a visit.

We met up with the winemaker and owner Timothy Keith, and the winery was everything we expected out of one coming out from the warehouse district. A space with no frills, just barrels, fermentation tanks, and a small pop up bar to taste wine inside a giant warehouse. Tim was about as casual as they come, not a shred of stiffness, just a pair of working pants and a hoodie, he greeted us like old friends and showed us around.

Winemaker & Owner Timothy Keith

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Gianpaolo Paterlini

With a seemingly (now) endless supply of sommelier’s popping up left and right, many of whom pompously bore you to death with theory and tedious tasting notes,  there are a few who who stay close to the roots of what being a real somm is, and one of them we recently had the chance to interview is Gianpaolo Paterlini.

Gianpaolo in the cellar of Acquarello

Gianpaolo, one of the recipients of the Food & Wine Magazine’s “Sommelier of the Year,” is the head Somm at 2-Michelin Star Acquerello as well as the head Somm at modern-ingredient driven restaurant 1760. While vastly different in style, both restaurants feature incredible wine lists that are not only extremely affordable, but boast some hard to find wines as well. While he certainly is credited for achievements as a successful sommelier, we actually find his approach on being a sommelier much more intriguing than the list of awards he has received.

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A Margaux Dinner with AngieSomm & Orchard City Kitchen


For those who have been following closely in the last year or so may have noticed we’ve been spending some time with a particular person known as Angie An, or more popularly known as @angiesomm on instagram. As the only bilingual English/Chinese Advanced Sommelier (certified by The Court of Master Sommeliers), Angie has slowly built a reputation as a trusted wine advisor and sommelier to the Asian community, especially in the Bay Area. When you take a look at her pedigree, it’s no question why she is so trusted, starting her career at Alexander’s Steakhouse Silicon Valley, working her way up from an opening team member to sommelier and wine buyer. During her tenure, the Silicon Valley location was awarded a 1-Michelin Star and Wine Spectator’s Best Award of Excellence! She would eventually move on to the Regal Wine Company as a Hotel Key Account Manager where she learned the in’s and outs of marketing and distribution, and eventually land herself at K&L Wine Merchants as a old and rare wine buyer specialist shortly after.

After over 10 years of being in the wine industry, and notably passing the Advanced Sommelier exam (passing rate of 10%) on her first try, she decided to venture out on her own and create AngieSomm. AngieSomm today is a multitude of websites and social media accounts that provides services such as personalized wine shopping experiences, recommendations, tips, special wine buys, and wine club experiences. Yet, the best thing about Angie is not her prestige, rather, it is the person she is.

Advanced Sommelier Angie An
Advanced Sommelier Angie An

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St. Supery

If you’ve wandered down the big road of Highway 29, you have definitely seen the almost lime green sign of St. Supery alongside the rows of wineries. Maybe you’ve heard that they were bought by Chanel or perhaps you’ve thought about stopping by, or have visited it and had a good time; but there’s something absolutely beautiful behind the estate and the winemaking that goes on there. We were lucky enough to get a peek into all the magic behind creating the experience of an iconic winery along the Highway 29.

Our morning started out a little different than most, as we met up with Emma Swain, CEO of St Supery and after some coffee and bagels we were off… to the Dollarhide Ranch which was nowhere near Highway 29. Nestled in Pope Valley, the Dollarhide Ranch is the ground that grows the distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes for St. Supery among other varietals.

Dollarhide Ranch view from the floor
Dollarhide Ranch view from up top of one of the hills

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