Far Niente, Napa Valley – an extraordinary experience

When you visit a winery, whether halfway around the world or close to home, the memories you take away are as much about the hospitality you received as the wine you tasted.

Welcome to the world of Far Niente, located in Oakvillein the Napa Valley. From the moment we drove down the long, tree-lined driveway and through the gate that allows entrance to this private getaway, we knew we were in for something special.

The hospitality began immediately as our host, Phil warmly greeted us at the door. We saw our names on the welcome board, a touch that made us feel special. Phil afforded us time to freshen up before our tour and tasting began.

Joined by another couple, our tour of the winery began with its history. Soon we were moving on to a discussion about wine making. Phil asked us questions and found that our group was knowledgeable about wine. He tailored his tour, focusing on what makes Far Niente unique. Phil’s friendly demeanor and his enthusiasm for Far Niente made for a relaxing, informative tour.

The walking tour ended in the garage. This is not your typical garage, but a stone carriage house. Far Niente’s owners are as passionate about classic cars as they are wine. Phil led us across polished floors where we were thrilled to admire the fabulous car collection of Far Niente’s owners. He let each of us discover cars that were important to us and casually slipped in the details of that car.

We meandered through the lovely gardens and back to the main building for our tasting.

Before we sat down, Phil gave us time to experience the spectacular view from the balcony. Phil welcomed us back inside and we each took a seat at the large wooden dining table that was beautifully set for five. Phil took his place at the head of the table and led the tasting which consisted of five outstanding wines paired with artisan cheeses. Each guest was provided with a beautiful menu (a nice keepsake), listing the wines and explaining the cheeses. Phil talked about the wines and cheeses, allowing us time to savor each pairing, ask questions, and soak in the ambiance in the beautifully appointed room.

What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon! The hospitality Far Niente gave us was superior. We were never rushed. We were treated royally from the time we arrived until it was time to leave. Phil even offered to have the wine we purchased held for us at the front door. When we drove by, he brought the wine to our car, helped us store it carefully, and bid us good-bye as if we were old friends!

As we left through the gate, we saw another pair of wine tasters arrive. Oh, were they in for a treat!

By Pamela Personette