Biking, running or walking through the vineyards in Napa Valley is a terrific way to take in the scenery, and in 2008, the Napa Valley Vintners, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and the Napa Valley Land Trust founded the Vine Trail Coalition to create the Napa Valley Vine Trail, a 47-mile car-free, paved path that will run from the Vallejo ferry terminal in the south to the town of Calistoga in the north. So far, 19 miles of free, dog-friendly trail have been completed, and today, the coalition announced an exciting and delicious new Cabernet-based fundraiser to help get the project across the finish line.
Since 2008, the coalition has brought in $7.5 million in philanthropic donations and $17 million in matching grants; thanks to that, locals and visitors can currently enjoy paths like a 12-mile stretch from the city of Napa to Yountville, with 15 more miles scheduled for construction in 2021. Already, the trail is trafficked more than 500,000 times each year.
The new initiative will allow wine lovers to invest in the trail by doing something that comes naturally—drinking Napa Cabernets. A collection of 10 Napa wines is being released for the fundraiser, including bottlings from Spottswoode, Alpha Omega and Silver Oak; they represent the 10 sections of the Vine Trail. Each wine is a custom blend, and they'll be rolling out in sets of two bottles over the next five years, for $1,000 per set.
Vineyard 29’s Chuck McMinn, founder and chair of the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition, told us that wine lovers are keen to pitch in for the trail. “We’re seeing tremendous requests on how to help.” He added that the wine collection is “an investment in wine that will render plenty of good.”
The wines themselves are collector's items: Only 900 bottles are being made of each. Each bottle also has a unique silkscreen image, so that when a collection of 10 bottles is complete and lined up, the labels will trace the map of the trail.
The wine community has stepped up beyond donating the wine, funding the special packaging and underwriting shipping. The Roger Trinchero Family Foundation and several other donors have also pledged to match the first 150 purchases of the Vintners Collection at $1,000 each. The project will also continue to receive federal and state grants.
The sale kicks off with 2018 vintage wines from Alpha Omega and Vineyard 29. In 2021, wines will be released from Spottswoode and Whitehall Lane; in 2022 Tamber Bey and Rocca; Gemstone and Newton Vineyard in 2023; and in 2024, the last two wines will debut from Crocker & Starr and Silver Oak.
The Vine Trail is designed to be a safe, environmentally friendly way to explore the valley sans car, and it will connect with trails coming north out of San Francisco. Along the way, the path will follow the wetlands of the Napa River, close to where it connects to the San Pablo Bay. Heading north through the city of Napa, the trail will pass the Rail Arts District, with its colorful murals. Trekking beyond, path-goers will follow train tracks heading through the center of the valley, flanked by vineyards and with views of mountains on either side.
"Napa Valley is a very special place in the hearts of many of our customers,” said Spottswoode’s Beth Novak Milliken in a statement. “By supporting the Vine Trail, individuals from all over the country can help build something very integral and enduring in our community. Not only can they display this beautiful collection in their cellar, they can come to Napa Valley and walk or bike the beautiful trail they are helping to create."
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