Before my Opus One Winery Tour & Tasting. I was beyond excited, hard to believe I was finally getting to visit Opus One.
The history of Opus One
The story of the unique partnership behind Opus One began in 1970. The Baron Philippe de Rothschild, perhaps the best-known member of the great winemaking family behind Bordeaux’ Chateau Mouton Rothschild, was visiting the United States. Recognizing the untapped potential of the wine industry in California, the Baron travelled to a wholesaler’s convention in Hawaii. While there he was introduced to Robert Mondavi, best known for his work helping put Napa Valley on the map and for his winery, Robert Mondavi.The Baron offered Mondavi a partnershipwhich Mondavi declined as he was preoccupied with establishing the new Robert Mondavi Winery.
Fast forward eight years, when the men would meet again when the Baron invited Robert Mondavi to visit him at his estate in Bordeaux. It was during this visit that the two men would strike a revolutionary agreement. In the span of about one hour’s time the two great winemakers would lay out the framework of their plan; drawing upon the culture and innovations of both families with the singular goal of producing one exceptional wine in the Napa Valley.
With the first vinifucation in 1979, Opus One was produced and aged in barrels at the Robert Mondavi Winery under the care of Lucien Sionneau, winemaker at Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Timothy Mondavi, Robert’s son. Over the course of subsequent years the partnership would acquire vineyards, selected a name of Latin origin and agree on a design for a new winery. Production would continue at the Robert Mondavi Winery under joint supervision until the new Opus One winery construction was completed in 1991.
The warm welcome of Overture by Opus One, a multi-vintage Cabernet Sauvignon based blend, as we checked in for our 10am Tasting.
Observing the Winemakers in the lab during our tour
One of the most beautiful production areas I’ve seen at a winery. The holes in the floor are the tops of the stainless steel tanks (which are shown below in the cuvier).
The optical sorter machine which evaluates individual berries based on shape, size and color.
Super cool standing above the tanks in the production floor of the winery
The stainless steel tanks which we saw the tops of on the floor above
The grand staircase leading to the cellar where we enjoyed our Opus One tasting
The exquisite tasting set up in the Grand Chai. The cellar overlooks the barrel room which is a semicircular storage room which wraps around the entire Opus One building. It’s pretty magnificent to walk around especially when you realize the adored, incredibly loved and highly scored Opus One is aged right here in this lower level space.
Views from the grand chai looking into the cellar tasting room
Cheers to an incredible tasting and tour at Opus One. What a beautiful iconic Napa Valley Vineyard with such unique history both with their California and French roots. Thank you for having me to experience this spectacular winery and sharing your wines with me.
As if the cellar views were not enough there is also a gorgeous roof terrace you can visit after your tour. We took our last tasting on the tour up and relaxed on a beautiful fall day in Napa. I love it here!
The Partners’ Room which is open to the public by reservation if you want to visit for a taste or glass of wine but are unable to get a spot on the tour schedule.
Thanks to the Opus One Team for hosting me during this amazing behind the scenes tour and tasting. This was truly a spectacular experience I enjoyed and will always treasure.