May 27, 2012 | Napa, CA
As the world famous race car driver Mario Andretti has often said, “I want people that visit my winery to feel at home. It’s probably my Italian nature – to want to make people feel welcome, to be a good host, to treat people like family.” And what better place to do that than at a winery in the heart of the Napa Valley?
The year was 1996 when Mario saw his dream become reality. That’s when he opened the doors to the Andretti Winery in the fabled Oak Knoll district of Napa.
Today, this stylish Tuscan-style villa receives visitors from around the world. They are drawn by both the name and the wines produced by Bob Pepi himself, famous as another generation of renowned winemakers. His philosophy is that great wines are made in the vineyards. Bob’s wines are well recognized by their descriptive fruity character, complexity and balance.
Well over a decade since the winery was founded, with Mario’s friend and partner, Joe Antonini, former chairman and CEO of K-Mart Corporation, the varietals that Andretti Winery uses include Sauvignon Blanc (a perennial favorite), Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, a Pinot Noir, Merlot, their classic Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, among others.
When you drive into the winery, the plantings of trees and flowers, the carefully aged look of the villa itself, the fountain in the courtyard that you pass by as you walk toward the tasting room, the wrought iron of the balconies, all lend a certain and well-executed Old World feel to the experience that a visit brings.
The fountains, the artwork, the thoughtful and skilled landscaping, they all create an environment far removed from the hectic pace that many visitors inhabit. It is, if only for an hour or so, a vacation in itself. A short trip to Italy and to the hillsides there that are so rich in viticultural history and tradition, pageantry and heritage.
From a tasting of selected Andretti Wines to a custom experience that includes wine and a tour of the estate and vineyard, you can tailor your visit to your schedule and desires. Vineyard tours are offered seasonally.
The winery’s friendly and knowledgeable staff, and the villa itself, make for a welcome stop for all visitors. The property is also available for corporate and family events.
So, there really is no reason not to stop at Andretti Winery.
When you do, remember the words of Mario: “Grazie molto!”
Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé, Chardonnay, Dolcetto, Pinot Noir, Barbera, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Moscato, Port
Modeled after a rambling Italian village, the winery conjures up the boyhood home of its namesake, Mario Andretti, one of the finest race car drivers of all time.
By Charles Neave