Effervescent Travels: Altra Winery in Napa

I am feeling a bit wistful.

This time last year I was preparing to embark on a marvelous week-long visit to Napa, California and I was absolutely giddy with excitement. It was a girls trip–I was traveling with one of my wine-loving girlfriends, and the plan was to experience as much relaxation and wine country goodness as we could humanly manage over the course of 6 days.

It was an absolutely blissful, magical week. Truly magical. Nary an average morsel of food nor drop of mediocre wine passed our lips even once. The weather was absolutely springtime glorious–highs in the mid 70’s to low 80’s with sunny, breezy blue skies. As spring gets closer and closer these days, those fab weather days dominate my thoughts and transport me right back to Napa.


The lovely, lush, oh so beautiful vineyards of Altra Winery

Did I mention already that this trip was magical? As good fortune would have it, I happened to be riding the jitney {Okay, so no one on the West Coast actually calls it the jitney but it sound so much better than “transportation service bus.” It’s my story and I’ll tell it how I want} that takes you from the San Fran Airport to downtown Napa with several friendly women who resided in Napa.

After I struck up a conversation with some of them I discovered that one of them–a pretty, petite, blond named Margo Culcasi–owned her own boutique winery. When I told her about my girls trip she gave me her card and told me to give her a call if we’d like to stop by for a visit. The winery is not open to the public, but Margo said she’d be happy to have us over to show us the winery as a fun little social call.

Yep, that Napa hospitality is unsurpassed, I tell ya.

A few days later we finally make our way over to the winery, and I was immediately enchanted. There were three structures on the property and they all had a lovely and unique character to them that let you know they had some good history behind them. After chatting with Margo about the history of the property, I learned that one of the historic structures actually used to be a slaughterhouse {it has since been converted to a guest house and wine cellar}, so they decided to call the brand “Slaughterhouse Cellars.”


The historic slaughterhouse on the grounds of Altra Winery, now converted in a cellar and guest quarters.

IMG_1227After divorcing her husband, Margo re-branded Slaughterhouse as Altra Wines and established her own identity in the wine industry. Though she still had some Slaughterhouse on hand, the Altra Wines were what we had the immense pleasure of enjoying, along with a beautiful display of charcuterie that Margo created herself {I told you–unsurpassed hospitality!}.


Fabulous wine and charcuterie, anyone?

We spent the afternoon chatting–learning about the history of the property {Margo has old clippings about the land as well as the previous owners}; getting to know each other; learning a bit about the day-to-day life of a winery owner {she told us that if we’d come by the night before we could have had dinner there with her and a close relative of Francis Ford Coppola}; and being loved on by her sweet pup. It was one of the most wonderful, enchanting, relaxing, fun, and entertaining afternoons I have ever had. Just another typical, lovely, awe-inspiring day in wine country.


Another historic building on the winery grounds is preserved and now used for storage. Isn’t it charming?


Our sweet protect taking a quick nap after shooing the birds from the vineyards.


This sign greets us as we enter the cellar. l’cave de l’abattoir = the cellar of the slaughterhouse


Just take the plug outta that barrel and let me insert my straw.


This huge wooden wheel artfully holds bottles of the good stuff in the cellar. I love a touch of fun aesthetics.

As for the wines themselves? We had the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, and both were beautifully crafted, wonderfully delicious, and an absolute privilege to drink. The Cab Sauv was rich and complex and elegant. The flavor profile had layered depth to it with “dark” notes–think dark red berries, dark chocolate, dark roast coffee. The tannins were smooth as silk and the finish lingered like a lover’s kiss. Yeah, it was that good.


The Sauv Blanc is a blend with just over 20% of Semillon added had bold acidity but still manage to posses a creamy texture. The flavors burst through with ripe melon-musky honeydew, sweet-tart citrus {think lime, Meyer lemon, and pink grapefruit}, and rounded out with an herbaceous, grassy note. This is a wine you can sip all day long.


Altra Wines recently released a rosé called “Fiore Rosa” and I can’t wait to try it! Why? Well, first of all because the other wines are so well made that I have no doubt this one will be too; and second, check out the tasting notes courtesy of The Wine Spies:

Altra Wines Fiore RoseNow who wouldn’t want to drink THAT?! Now before you get too excited, because Altra is a boutique winery getting your hands on a bottle may take some effort, but it will be so worth it. You can try Total Wines in California; contact the winery itself for ordering info; or you can find the wine while in Napa at Brix Restaurant and the Rutherford Grill, or at Oakville Grocery.

More posts on my travels in wine country are on the horizon with more wine finds and recos as well as my travel tips. Oh, and you KNOW my time there included sipping lots of bubbly, so stay tuned for that as well!

Now be a darling and please excuse me while go plan my next trip to Napa.






  1. says

    Please stop by the internet sites we follow, which includes this one, as it represents our picks through the web.

  2. says

    Thanks for the thoughts you are sharing on this website. Another thing I would like to say is that often getting hold of some copies of your credit history in order to check out accuracy of each detail is one first measures you have to perform in credit restoration. You are looking to thoroughly clean your credit file from destructive details faults that mess up your credit score.

  3. says

    Knight finally written pledge to fulfill a military order!Owen Jefferson suspected the contradiction, huang zhan anger: don’t win playoff team and the team retired showdown between the more and more intense, will the rockets in just eliminated the spurs tomorrow will come and warriors in the first fight
    adidas ultra boost 4

  4. says

    With three points to beat John wall, the day before yesterday the wizards will competition into the tiebreak wars, 8:00 tomorrow the wizards will be tie-break at Celtic and rival.
    prada shoes

  5. says

    The NBA playoffs now for today, have determined the warriors in the western conference and will compete for a spot in the finals quota, knight still don’t know who his opponent was.However, even in the face of the celtics or the wizards, presumably knight will be
    calvin klein

  6. says

    And also, Naturo Sciences Garcinia cambogia extract Pure is the premier garcinia diet regimen pill on Amazon.

    Feel free to visit my web site :: garcinia cambogia reviews weight
    loss [Jovita]

  7. says

    One thing I want to discuss is that weightloss program fast can be carried out by the perfect diet and exercise. A person’s size not just affects appearance, but also the general quality of life. Self-esteem, depressive disorder, health risks, in addition to physical abilities are damaged in weight gain. It is possible to do everything right and at the same time having a gain. If this happens, a problem may be the primary cause. While a lot of food instead of enough exercise are usually guilty, common health concerns and trusted prescriptions can easily greatly help to increase size. I am grateful for your post here.
    kevin durant shoes

  8. says

    Draft of the same year on the bottom rookie will be what?In general the draft should be able to blow the other party, who would have thought them took Owen on the 60th pick small Thomas in the same year, he turned out to be in the position of the challenger?
    adidas tubular

  9. says

    I have seen that these days, more and more people are increasingly being attracted to digital cameras and the discipline of taking pictures. However, as a photographer, you need to first expend so much of your time deciding the exact model of video camera to buy as well as moving store to store just so you could buy the lowest priced camera of the trademark you have decided to decide on. But it won’t end now there. You also have to contemplate whether you should purchase a digital dslr camera extended warranty. Thanks a bunch for the good tips I received from your site.
    adidas originals

  10. says

    Yesterday, the wall on the right side 45 live a miserable life in the three points must win.The shooting location is Owen puts up the location of the many times.Today was asked Owen saw wall dead there is what feeling
    adidas tubular

  11. says

    Yesterday, the wall on the right side 45 live a miserable life in the three points must win.The shooting location is Owen puts up the location of the many times.Today was asked Owen saw wall dead there is what feeling
    nike pg 2

  12. says

    NBA players in addition to playing badly, and also an art cells, for two consecutive years in the NBA finals two teams join forces with the warriors and knight, but only two dancers, two teams played neck and neck, dancing is close, take a look at
    adidas pure boost

  13. says

    Great – I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs and related info ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, website theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Nice task.

  14. says

    Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a number of unrelated data, nonetheless seriously worth taking a look, whoa did a single master about Mid East has got extra problerms at the same time

  15. says

    Countless online communities include singles groupings of which attempt enjoyable fleshlights routines jointly, all this is actually is a great substitute internet dating process. Occurrences like pedaling, bowling, curling, film night time, dancing along with humor golf clubs are usually organized through the singles group, and it allows a evenly-distributed group of contributors to acquire an enjoyable and laid-back nights. Along with stress don your hobby by itself as an alternative to making a loving link, requires lots of pressure from the singles and points of interest occur a lot more obviously around this setting up.