Did you mean?Try your search again
Since V. Sattui is one of the few wineries on Hwy 29 to provide both free tasting and free picnic space, one might wonder why I consider this a "tourist trap". I worked part of a summer at V. Sattui and like and admire Darrell Sattui, the primary owner, very much. Early on, Darrell recognized the value of producing what the not-so-sophisticated wine consumer really wants, and then having a team of energetic, relatively well-paid, guys aggressively selling it to them. Managing the crowd of intoxicated patrons at V. Sattui is a wild experience, but the goal was always to sell as much wine as possible. Once I sold 12 cases of wine to a fellow after he was persuaded that the stuff I was pouring was really great. The problem is that V. Sattui wines really aren't so great. The Dry JR Riesling and Dry Muscat are actually high in residual sugar, helping to explain their appeal to non-wine drinking tourists. Actually ordinary and sometimes technically flawed these wines are nevertheless palatable--a little bit of sugar makes the medicine go down. The same is more or less true for other whites and reds, as V. Sattui manages to produce a remarkable number of wines, and then sell the vast majority of it only after numbing the sensibility of its customers. The so-called 150 year old Solera is a virtual fraud as the production of this "limited" wine continues to increase with demand. V. Sattui also sells a wide array of touristy wine drinking junk, has a deli with moderately prices and ordinary cheezes, and after everything is paid for, the consumer is permitted access to the two and a half acres of crowded picnic grounds that have a lovely view of the railroad tracks and Hwy 29.
Unique Suggestions: While V. Sattui is the low lifer's winery, concocting swill that will appeal to anyone but the fine wine consumer, a stop here is recommended at least once in a lifetime. Enter the tasting room, go through the experience, buy deli items, and then head for one of the less crowded picnic places I describe elsewhere in my tips. See the V. Sattui website for more subtle hyperbole: V Sattui.com
Fun Alternatives: Ultimately, the tourist may be trapped by higher prices and phony showmanship anywhere in the valley, so it's my recommendation to come with a define itinerary, visit smaller wineries, and find opportunities to talk to the wine makers--not the tasting room hospitality workers alone.
Updated Sep 18, 2006
Don't expect to see much of interest at the Hurd Beeswax Candle Factory. Most of the premises is dedicated to selling candles and other gifts. They do make candles by hand during the week, but not on the weekend when many people visit. They also have a small display of 'bees at work'--a glass pane behind two cupboard doors--but it isn't anything particularly enlightening.
Written Oct 4, 2002
1 Review and 192 Opinions US$360 There are 85 cottages, suites, and lodges; play croquet, golf, tennis, or cycle, swim, and...