Hay bales have appeared on the field next door so hold onto your hat – June is here, and summer always goes so quickly!  We have the big bottling of all our 2013 reds coming up, which will certainly keep us busy, and immediately after bottling, attention heightens in the vineyard as we ready for harvest.  The long, cool spring has slowed down the earlier rapid pace of the season.  Chardonnay is about the size of large peas, very hard and green.  Merlot, as always, is a bit behind but nothing to worry about.  It’s a little early in the season to fret about the effect of this chilly, cloudy weather, but Anthony remarked this morning that it is reminding him of 2011, minus the rain.  Hmmm.

When you see our newest bottles and visit the winery, we hope you notice how much we have changed in recent years.  We have a new winery direction, and it shows in everything – the number of wines, the new bottle designs, the people in the winery, the focus on winery partners, the number and variety of tasting opportunities we offer.

Out in the national market you can find only five BELL wines, but here at the winery you will find another 25.  We’re bottling new single vineyards, new appellations, more clones.  If you want to learn about Cabernet in Napa, this is your place.

The winery has grown into its hospitality space and the landscaping has softened the stone edges, making a very welcoming place.  We’ve developed relationships with some of the Valleys most sought out tour guides, who happily bring us customers eager to discover hidden gems, and our friendly, knowledgeable staff is ready to blow them away with both spectacular wines and a level of information they haven’t heard before.

Behind the scenes, we have also changed – we use fruit from a dozen different vineyards spread throughout the Valley and three outside of Napa!  Anthony has spent the last two years making the wines himself with Rafael’s assistance.  Rafael, who knew little about wine when he joined us in 2002, now tastes through the barrels confidently, and is always at the forefront preserving our best house style.  And for Anthony, being able to concentrate full time on the wine-making has brought the level of wine quality up, and he has learned new tricks as he delves more deeply into today’s winemaking science.  After years of being on the road, he loves being back in the vineyards and winery, doing what he does best.

Lastly, our use permit has changed from the original terms of 1985 and 1991 that we inherited when we moved onto the property in 1998. On May 6th, we finally completed a process that has been three years in the making, bring the conditions of usage here more in line with today’s needs.  We now toe a strict line in terms of visitation, as the country struggles to balance the needs of residents with those of visitors.  Napa has been so successful in attracting visitors, it can seem like too much of a good thing when you’re waiting at a red light on route 29!  For us, it means more focus on the people that we like best – those that make plans to visit us!

We’d love to see you; please give us a call so we can get you on our calendar!


Anthony, Sandra and all of us at Bell Wine Cellars