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“Jeff made the visit”
Review of Hendry Ranch Wines

Hendry Ranch Wines
Ranked #8 of 205 things to do in Napa
Certificate of Excellence
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Attraction details
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Reviewed 2 April 2012

This was my first winery tour - and everyone else is going to have a tough time measuring up to Jeff's tour at Hendry. Jeff gave us a great overview of the grape-growing and wine-making process in a very funny and matter-of-fact way. He also gave us an almost scientific tasting at the end (he'll tell you right away that he's an engineer first!) that was very eye-opening. He also focused a lot on pairing foods with wine, which I appreciated. I learned a lot, I laughed a lot and had a great time.

For $20, you get to taste 8-10 wines, or they waive the fee if you buy a bottle. Their wines were delicious, so it was a no-brainer to take a few bottles home with us.

Highly recommended.

3  Thank Mloleary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 March 2012

Hendry Vineyard and Winery provides the most interesting and informative winery tour and tasting in Napa Valley. Hendry should be at the top of the list for many people to visit when they visit. They provide a great introduction to wine and wine appreciation and also offer outstanding quality wines with many different varietals. If you want to learn more about wine, this is the place to visit! The three-hour tour and tasting is well worth the $20 but can be free if you purchase wine.

The ranch has been a vineyard since the 1859 when it was planted by the Sigrist family and was one of the most extensive vineyards in the valley. It has been owned by the Hendry family since 1939 when George W. Hendry, an agronomy professor at UCB and UCD, purchased the property which was taken over by his wife and two sons when he died in 1944. A growing appreciation of premium wines in the 1960s and 1970s led to their move away from plum orchards and dairy farming to focus in vineyard planting. In the 1970s they sold their grapes to Mondavi and in the 1980s they sold to Mondavi, Opus one and Kent Rosenblum. The first Hendry vintage was in 1992. During the tour, you will learn the history of the vineyard and how they decided to diversify by matching different wine varietals to the many microclimates on the property.

After the vineyard tour and history, the tour continues inside the winery where you will learn everything you always wanted to know about making wine. George encourages questions and no question is too simple or too technical for him to manage in a way that is geared specifically to the person asking the questions. He makes everything so clear that you will wonder if he also has an advanced degree in communication.

After two hours or more in the vineyard and winery, the tour continues up in the tasting room where an hour is spent tasting ten different wines. This is not your usual pour and taste experience. George describes what to look for in each wine, what foods it would pare with and helps you to understand wine appreciation. You will taste a wine, proceed to another and then return to the former wine to see how the taste changed. You will taste a wine and then some crackers with olive oil, returning to the wine to see how the wine is now completely different in taste. This is carefully conducted wine appreciation class, not just a hurried tasting. The entire tour and tasting will last at least three hours. (Reservations are required, of course.) Other wineries have good tours, but this is the most comprehensive tour and tasting I know of in Napa Valley. It is no surprise to see that Hendry is the highest rated tourist attraction in Napa Valley with Trip Advisor and why there are hundreds of highest rating reviews on Yelp. Hendry is probably the best place for many people to begin their Napa Valley wine tasting.

All wines are grown on the property so are Napa Valley wines. Many Napa Valley wineries purchase some grapes from outside Napa Valley so they can sell less expensive wines. Usually any wine sold for less than around $20 is not from Napa Valley because of the price of Napa Valley grapes. Wine prices at Hendry begin at $18 for their Pinot Gris, although they also have two other wines for $20 or less. The highest price current release is their 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon at $55, which is the only wine sold for over $38. Varietals include: Pinot Gris, Albarino, Unoaked Chardonnay, Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, various blocks of Zinfandel, two levels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Italian Primitivo and Cabernet Franc. The Albarino and Primitivo are rarely found at any Napa Valley wineries, and you will not find much Pinot Gris or 100% Petit Verdot. So Hendry also offers you an opportunity to taste some varietals that you won’t find at most other Napa Valley wineries.

Our tasting notes of the ten wines would continue for many pages, so a summary seems more appropriate. We did not taste the Petit Verdot or Cabernet Franc. Of the red wines we really liked the 2007 Cab, the 2008 Pinot Noir, the 2007 Red Wine and the 2007 Block 28 Zinfandel. The Primitivo was okay but I must confess I find Primitivos to be less interesting than Zins to which they are closely related. Primitivos seem to me to be Zins without tannin or spice. The HRW Cabernet Sauvignon was also just okay. But then it is only $23 which makes it a decent Napa Valley Cab for the price. With the white wines, I liked both of the Chardonnays. It was very interesting to compare the oaked and unoaked ones side by side. Neither one has had malolactic conversion, so you really taste the Chardonnay varietal on the unoaked one and can easily identify the effects of French oak on the other. The Pinot Gris and the Albarino were both good. I don’t drink Pinot Gris very often but love good Albarinos. Most Albarinos in the $20 or less range are not that good, but this one was.

If I had to pick my two favorites, they would be the 2007 Cab and the 2007 Red Wine. The red wine blend at $38 is darned good and very interesting. This wine is a blend of 36% Petit Verdot, 21% Malbec, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc and was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, with 70% of them new barrels. The 2007 Cab is a free run Cab that was in new French oak for 21 months. It is drinkable now but will cellar well. With cherry on the nose, well-integrated tannins and oak and very good balance, this is a very high quality Napa Cab. The 2008 Pinot Noir was also very good, a lighter style Pinot but bursting with red fruit flavors. We really liked every one of the wines we tasted. The overall tour and tasting is a fantastic experience!

3  Thank TJJones25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2012

I read the reviews about the tours on trip advisor beforehand and I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. However, I found that all the raving about the tour is absolutely warranted. This is a must do and was one of my favorite experiences in the Napa area. Jeff led our tour providing quite an education with a douse of humor to keep it light. I learned so much and thought the wines offered a really good value. This is an unpretentious, family owned winery. No airs about this place like some other high end places - what you see is what you get. Note: reservations are needed in advance for the tour. Book well in advance to ensure your place!

Thank 0074travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2012

It's difficult to put into words the feeling of knowledge you get when touring the estate with Jeff. We visited the Ranch on a nearly perfect day in early March, and were taken back by the education and warm welcome we received. It's very clear that Hendry is driven by passion. When you find out that two of the individuals that play a large role in the operations of the Ranch build Cyclotrons (Particle Accelerators) as a day job - the ultimate fusion of old world traditions and new world engineering is exposed. I won't ruin the tour for anyone, but they did two things that we didn't experience any other place. The tasting at the end of the tour included all wines they had available (we tasted 11 wines), and they used olive oil to simulate "Fat" in a steak and showed the group how they heavier Cabernet Sauvignon changed after you ate a cracker with olive oil on it. It was truly an eye-opening experience for our table. Joined their wine club, not because of the amazing tour or the fantastic people...but because they had the best tasting Cab Sauv and Red Bordeaux Blend we had the pleasure of trying. Don't miss it.

1  Thank steve h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 March 2012

If you have one day in Napa Valley and you want to learn everything about wine, you only need to consider one place among all the vineyards: Hendry Vineyard and Winery. It is truly the best $20 and three hours you will ever spend in your trip.

I made a reservation a week before the actual date and I was really lucky it was a beautiful sunny day. The group was small and intimate, about 10 people or so and it was led by one of the co-owners. I thought three hours was a bit long but trust me, she was so knowledgeable and interesting, I couldn't get enough of it!

We went to see where the grapes were grown and had a crash course about viticulture, everything from how they were grown, fermentation, bottling and every scientific detail you can imagine. I have an engineering background and I really appreciate everything she talked about. But even if you're not into the details of wine making, there's still something to learn from her.

After 1.5 hours of the tour, we proceeded to the hall for wine tasting. We tasted all the wines they produce in their property, all 11-12 of them. Now that's impressive! Again, this was an eye opener. We tasted and sometimes re-tasted some wines to compare the subtle differences. I have to say, nobody does wine tasting like Hendry because I learnt so much about wines here than anywhere else. Even till today, I share what I learnt from Hendry in my parties.

What can I say, drive to Hendry and experience the best wine making and tasting experience in Napa Valley. Again, it was the best $20 and 3 hours I've ever spent in my trip. I went home with 3 bottles because they will waive the tour fee if each person buys a bottle.

1  Thank kwokmun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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