‘Morning in the Winery’ welcomes locals

Ezekiel Hampton with Humanitas Wines gives a tour to Napa locals during Morning in the Winery in January 2017.

Maria Sestito, Register

Tastings of library and reserve wines, tours with winemakers, barrel samples, the perks of wine club membership for a day: all may be had on Napa Neighbor Day for those with but a county address.

In an ongoing bid to engage the citizenry of Napa, the county’s wine industry, at the behest of the Napa Valley Vintners, will welcome residents on Saturday, extending for the day complimentary and discounted perks galore.

Of the Vintners’ 500-plus member wineries, more than 160 offer free or marked down experiences year-round through the Napa Neighbor Program to those who live in proximity to the area’s wine industry, an inclusion that extends to the county line.

As of this past week, at least 40 participating wineries have upped their program offerings ahead of Napa Neighbor Day, gearing tastings and tours specifically toward locals and offering the discounts and other extras of wine club membership for the day.

While Napans may take participating wineries up on these benefits all year, “it’s quieter in January and a perfect time for Napa County residents to visit wineries and receive special attention, just for living here,” said Peter Mondavi Jr., co-proprietor of participating Charles Krug winery, in a release from the Vintners.

The day of residential benefits marks the revival of Napa Neighbor Day, an event that has remained dormant for at least several years. The return comes in lieu of what would have been the fifth year of Morning in the Winery, also a daylong invitation from a smaller handful of wineries to county residents curious to learn about the area’s wine industry.

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This year’s Napa Neighbor Day will instead make for a hybrid of the two events, the Vintners said.

The swap relieves what would have amounted to added pressure on members working to recover from the October wildfires, as Morning in the Winery site hosts must secure permits for what is technically a special event, and prepare special programs for the day.

“This was a way we could still provide that opportunity,” said NVV communications director Patsy McGaughy. She added that the group hopes to bring back Morning in the Winery in the future.

A list of participating wineries may be found on the Napa Valley Vintners website: https://napavintners.com/community/napa_neighbor.asp

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Wine Reporter / Copy Editor

Henry Lutz covers the local wine industry. He has been a reporter and copy editor for the Register since 2016.