Escape to Anderson Valley
Nearly four million people visit the Napa Valley each year. Many fewer make it to the Anderson Valley, an equally fertile grape-growing region about 100 miles to the northwest. Though it can take a couple of hours to make the drive, now you can fly there in comfort and style, courtesy of Cultured Vine’s “Escape to Anderson Valley” helicopter experience.
After being met at Napa’s private airport with glasses of sparkling wine, you’ll board a helicopter with your own guide to make the easy flight to Scharffenberger Cellars in Philo.
Get ready for a bucket-list flight experience that will make you feel every bit a rock star. Although you’ll be soaring over the Northern California landscape at 100 mph, the feeling is serene and smooth. Some have compared it to “an upgrade over first class on a commercial flight.” See that traffic on Highway 29? Not your problem!
And enjoy the view: You’ll be flying over Lake Sonoma, redwood forests, and the Yorkville Highlands — known by some as “Les Petits Tetons” — as well as lush woodlands, the Navarro River, alluvial terraces and, of course, plenty of rolling vineyards.
From Scharffenberger’s picturesque landing pad, we’ll whisk you off to the 580-acre Roederer Estate, a legendary producer of sparkling wines to rival French Champagnes, including Brut and Brut Rosé. Winemaker Arnaud Weyrich trained at the prestigious Montpellier school, Ecole Supérieure d’Oenologie, earning his master of science degree in viticulture and enology. You'll get a backstage pass to sparkling winemaking and escorted to a private balcony overlooking the estate, where your tasting will include current and past vintages of Roederer’s own L’Ermitage label.
In addition to sparkling wines, the Anderson Valley AVA specializes in Alsatian varietals and Pinot Noir. Annual wine events here include the Pinot Noir Festival in late May and the International Alsace Varietals Festival in late February.
You’ll next be escorted to the spectacularly landscaped Goldeneye, considered by many to be the crown jewel of Anderson Valley and producer of one of the best Pinot Noirs in California. (Not to worry — if you’re a Cabernet fan, the highly allocated vineyard designates can also be made available.) As your journey continues, you’ll be whisked on a luxury golf cart through the vines of the “upper bench” to a breathtaking knoll overlooking Confluence Vineyard, adjacent to the headwaters of the Navarro River. You’ll stop at a 500-year-old Black Oak tree to enjoy some limited-release Confluence wines — three vineyard designates not normally offered to consumers — and a private wood-fired alfresco lunch as you breathe in the stunning Anderson Valley views.
As you board your return helicopter flight back to Napa, you’ll already be savoring the memories made today, a slice of wine country that very few get to experience. The craft will rise effortlessly, hills and forests will unfurl beneath you, and you’ll probably be vowing to return again soon.
Written by: Kirsten Mickelwait