Finding the Fun in Napa Valley

Our contributor takes a tour of California wine country

Colgin Cellars is located in California's Napa Valley.

If you were to look at the style of Von Staaveren at Three Sticks, imagining it being at one point on a long spectrum, you would have to search far to find the tiny dot that is Ann Colgin, owner of Colgin Cellars. But apart from her petite size, there is nothing tiny about this woman. Once meeting her, I was immediately in awe and admittedly, slightly nervous. Colgin greeted us at the steps of her impeccable winery, tiny dog in hand, not a wrinkle in sight or hair out of place, a stunning woman with power and beauty and grace. Colgin is the kind of woman who makes you stand up straighter and desperately try to remember all of your SAT words. It wasn’t until I cracked a joke an hour into our tour that I believed I wasn’t in a dream.  We were standing in her massive cellar and after all of the questions had been answered and a long pause entered the perfectly chilled room, she asked if we were ready to now go taste some wines. A chorus of polite yes pleases and of courses and that would be lovely!’s filled the room and then I blurted out, "Um yeah…it’s kind of been like dangling a steak in front of a bulldog." Getting a laugh from such an accomplished and admirable woman like Colgin can inflate you for a lifetime. 

When you’re able to experience meeting the great Colgin and then getting to taste her beautifully crafted wines, you fully understand her style: elegant and refined, with a hint of playfulness on the finish that sometimes takes a little time (or a filter-less Carolina girl) to detect.

Coming home after a trip like this one made me look at not only wine, but people in an entirely new way. It’s difficult not to judge a book by its cover, or wine by its label or better yet, wine by its winemaker. Because sometimes the fanciest bottle you own is made from the most elegant woman you’ve ever met, and sometimes it comes from the splinted hand of a surfing hippie. 

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And that, my friends, is what makes wine so incredibly fun.