Beer drinking goes hand in hand with winemaking. So why not have a winery that’s also a brewery under one roof, with an easily accessible tasting room?
Napa Smith Brewing Co. had barely brewed its first batches before it decided to add a winery in the same facility. So coming soon is Napa Smith Wine Co.
The winery and brewery are in the former Hakusan Sake Gardens facility south of Napa, where Hwy. 29 and Jameson Canyon Road meet.
Steve Morgan, president of the companies, claims this is the first ultra-premium brewery and winery sharing the same building in the world. It’s a spacious setting, with the two operations separated by a simple sliding chain link fence. You can visit now, but there is still work to be done dressing up the building.
When Morgan showed me around on Monday, the winery side was wrapping up harvest 2008 and the brewmaster, Don Barkley, was preparing another batch of beer. The brewery makes an Amber, Wheat, Pale Ale and Harvest beers, and sells for $10 a six-pack. Barkley worked with Mendocino Brewing Co. and Red Tail Ale before joining Napa Smith.
The brewery has 50 tap handles in Napa already, said Morgan.
The winery will have a line of Napa Smith wines, including Petite Sirah, Grenache and a Cabernet-Mouvèdre blend, along with two out of Napa wine which will identify their appellations in the names: Sonoma Smith Chardonnay and Lake Smith Zinfandel, from Lake County. Prices range from $30 to $50. Robert Brittan, the former winemaker for Stags’ Leap Winery, is overseeing vinification.
Kathy Smith is the visionary. She and her husband, Greg Cutuli, own the companies.