BRAND Napa Valley Launches #FromBRANDwithLove Giveback Sharing Package

Pritchard Hill winery, BRAND Napa Valley is running a giveback program, #FromBRANDwithLove for customers and Covid-19 first responders around the nation. Sharing the gift of wine, the “BRAND Care Package” is essentially a buy-1-get-1 for customers to spread the love with a distinguished bottle of wine and send another to a first responder as a token of appreciation for their selfless service.

Credit: BRAND Napa Valley, at Harvest 2019

BRAND Care Package

With the purchase of a $150 “BRAND Care Package”, worth $300 in value, customers receive a bottle of the prestigious 2016 BRAND Napa Valley BRIO Red Blend—an estate produced Bordeaux-style Red Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot—for the customer and for a first responder of their choice, who will receive an identical bottle at no cost to them. Customers can purchase the “BRAND Care Package” online, nominate their first responder, include a personalized note, provide shipping information.

Frank Family Vineyards Welcomes You Back to Napa with “Sweet Caroline” Parody

Frank Family Vineyards reopened for in-person, by-appointment tastings on June 10th. The entire Frank Family team celebrated the winery reopening with a music video parody of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”, featuring Patrick Davis of Songwriters in Paradise on guitar and vocals. Frank Family’s Marketing Manager Marisa McCann wrote the lyrics, covering their new safety protocols in light of COVID-19 regulations, such as limited party sizes, outdoor seating, and requirement of personal face coverings.  

A Snapshot of the Welcome Back “Sweet Caroline” Parody. Credit: Frank Family Vineyards

Welcome Message From Owner Rich Frank

“While the world has changed, our passion for sharing wine and memories with our guests has not,” says Owner Rich Frank who plays the role of Welcome Crew, Dancer and Sign Holder in the video. “We are so grateful to welcome guests back to Frank Family. In addition to our patio seating, we’ve set up tables outside in our front courtyard so that guests may sit with proper distance between them, and also enjoy our beautiful surroundings.”  

Two Reservation-only Premium Tastings

Frank Family Vineyards is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., offering two tastings by reservation only: the “Estate Tasting” ($50) on the back patio, estate courtyard and on the front lawn, and the “Wines of Winston Hill Reserve Tasting” ($70) held only in the courtyard.

About Frank Family Vineyards
Frank Family Vineyards was founded in 1992 by former Disney Studios president Rich Frank. First constructed as the Historic Larkmead Winery in 1884, the stone building on property is the third oldest in Napa and appears on the national Register of Historical Places. Today, Frank Family owns over 380 acres of vineyards in the Napa Valley, and in 2015 received Napa Green certifications for both the land and winery. Frank Family’s reputation for having the friendliest hospitality in Napa Valley has fans flocking to the tasting room on Larkmead Lane, which was named “Best Napa Winery” by the Bay Area A-List for eight years in a row, making it one of the most popular tasting rooms in wine country. The Patriarch was recently ranked #5 in California Cabernet by Vivino and the 2016 Lewis Vineyard Chardonnay Reserve as one of the Top 30 White Wines of 2020 and awarded it the #2 best Chardonnay in Napa for 2020. Frank Family’s Napa Valley Chardonnay ($38), Pinot Noir ($38), Zinfandel ($38) and Cabernet Sauvignon ($58) are distributed nationally.

Historic St. Helena Winery Charles Krug is Now Ropened For In-Person Tastings

On June 9th, Napa’s oldest winery, Charles Krug reopened its St. Helena estate adhering to local guidelines, after being closed since March 16th in compliance with California’s statewide Shelter-in-Place order. The reopening comes with a variety of new protocols that go above and beyond county and state recommendations to ensure health and safety for everyone.

Charles Krug Winery, Napa Valley
The New Cabana at Charles Krug for Safe Wine Tasting.

A Pleasant Physically-Distanced Wine Experience

5 new WiFi-enabled cabanas within the winery’s Picnic Grounds will be unveiled with the reopening. Although the cabanas were already under construction before the Pandemic, they are particularly timely to facilitate efficient physically-distanced wine experiences. The winery’s diverse culinary offerings will still be available on a modified schedule: artisan pizzas from Charles Krug’s wood-fired Mugnaini oven will be available Friday through Sunday, while local culinary partner, Tre Posti, will offer both cheese and charcuterie plates, as well as grab-and-go items.

Additional Winery Safety Measures

On top of meeting Napa County’s official safety guidelines including face masks worn by employees, extra hygiene protocol and more, Charles Krug’s tasting room consulted with Winery Safety Officer AJ Perez to implement stricter standards:

  • Comprehensive “Deep Clean” disinfecting, misting of general and targeted touchpoints in all areas of the winery before Grand Opening
  • Appointment-only booking to limit occupancy within winery
  • Outdoor-only tasting, with wine delivered in pre-poured glasses. Wine service will be guided by a masked Wine Ambassador from a safe distance
  • All tables, furnishings, and flat surfaces will be sanitized after each guest visit
  • A concierge will manage customer flow and monitor physical distancing while guests are waiting to be seated, entering or leaving the property 
  • Touch-free transactions, with goods being placed directly in the guest’s car or carried out by customers as they prefer
  • Water will be served in single-serve recyclable containers
  • Restrooms are cleaned every 30-60 minutes

About Charles Krug:
In 1943, Italian immigrants Cesare and Rosa Mondavi purchased the historic Charles Krug property, the oldest winery in the Napa Valley and longest-running tasting room in California. The brand was built on a foundation of family values, hard work and a European winemaking tradition; it remains a family-owned winery today, producing estate-driven, top of the line Napa Valley wines. The wineries are under the direction of Peter Mondavi Jr. and Marc Mondavi, who steward the family business passed to them by their father, legendary Napa Valley wine icon Peter Mondavi Sr.  The family is now proudly welcoming members of the fourth generation to the business, continuing a legacy started over 70 years ago and setting a foundation for generations to come.

My Favorite Wine Tasting Experience at Caymus Vineyards, Napa Valley

(Contributed by K. Mead) My absolute favorite wine tasting was at Caymus Vineyards, one of the oldest Napa wineries, started by the pioneering Wagner family winemakers. Located just north of Napa in Rutherford, Caymus is situated amongst vineyards that produce some of the highest quality grapes Napa Valley has to offer. Each year they craft highly-regarded wines, such as their signature Caymus Cabernet.

Outdoor Tasting at Caymus Vineyards. Credit: Meyer Sound for Caymus Vineyards

Cozy Wine Tasting on a Cold Fall Day

I had the pleasure of stopping by Caymus for a tasting in late fall of 2019. Grey and overcast, it wasn’t the most pleasant of conditions for the occasion. Luckily, Caymus thoughtfully offered guests a fleece blanket, along with a complimentary Caymus wine glass. If visitors prefer staying indoors, Caymus welcomed them to a comfortable lounge area which emulates the personal Wagner family living room.

Friendly and Knowledgeable Tasting Associates

With top notch service, the Caymus tasting staff are not just inviting and friendly, but passionate and knowledgeable about the entire Wagner Family wine portfolio. Adding a personal touch to every tasting, they tailored each conversation according to the guest and the mood, gladly answering all questions, regardless of level of wine knowledge.

Delightful Wine Tasting Selection

The wine tasting menu consisted of a variety of wines from not only Caymus, but other wines in the family portfolio, such as Emmolo, Mer Soleil, and Conundrum. I was delighted that the final wine of our tasting was the celebrated Caymus Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. Words fail me each time I have the pleasure of tasting this wine. It tastes like a warm summer evening, when you can smell the crush in the air. Its full and comforting flavors were the perfect ending to a rather cold and dreary weather day.

Why I Love Cabernet Sauvignon

Whenever I am asked that question: “if you were stranded on an island and could only have one bottle of wine, what would it be,” my answer is always the same  – a great bottle of cabernet sauvignon.  Cab is always satisfying – big, rich, tannic with complex fruit and a wonderful accompaniment to meats and strong cheeses.  A glass of Cabernet Sauvignon on a cold night near a warm fire is almost a comfort food.

But I am not alone in loving cab, because it is now the number one selling red varietal in the U.S. market (Neilsen, Nov. 2011 WBM).  So what makes cabernet sauvignon so special?  Some of the answers may arise in its special characteristics while others can be found in the amazing styles of cab from around the world.

Parents and Characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon

In France in the 1700’s it is believed that Cabernet franc (father) and Sauvignon blanc (mother) were crossed to create what many refer to as the King of grapes – Cabernet Sauvignon.  Indeed cab does possess the dark fruit and pencil lead notes of cab franc and the herbal nuances of Sauvignon blanc.  The union also created a varietal that is quite healthy and resilient, because Cabernet Sauvignon can be grown in many climates around the world.  Its thick skin and resistance to rot and frost make it easy to cultivate and therefore is a favorite of grape growers.  Furthermore, it’s ability to create wines with strong typicity in terms of consistent cab flavors, it’s affinity for oak, and the fact that it can demand high prices make it the darling of many winemakers.

Cabernet sauvignon is the dominant red varietal in some of the most famous and expensive wine labels in the world.  Examples include Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1869 from Bordeaux, France which sold at a Hong Kong auction in 2010 for $232,692 a bottle, and Napa Valley’s 1992 Screaming Eagle which sold for $62,500 per bottle at the Napa Valley Wine Auction in 2000 ($500,000 for a six liter bottle made by famous winemaker Heidi Barrett).

Cabernet Sauvignon from Around the World 

The generic markers of Cabernet Sauvignon include black currants (cassis), dark berries, cedar, leather, and herbs.  Color ranges from a dark red to opaque red black.  Acid, tannin structure and alcohol level are determined by climate and winemaking practices.  Cabernet Sauvignon is almost always aged in oak for a period of time, and is often blended with other red varietals such as the classic Bordeaux blend of merlot, cabernet franc, petite verdot and malbec.

Experts suggest that cabernet sauvignon from different parts of the world have distinctive markers.  Following is a list of some of the more famous regions where cab is grown and some of the attributed markers – though these vary by vintage and producer.


Napa Valley – elegant, opulent red and black fruit, velvety tannins, rich

Sonoma/Alexander Valley – powerful, dark fruit, herbs, coffee, structured tannins

Washington State – deeply concentrated, ripe purple fruit, large plush tannins


Pauillac – power and elegance, fine-grained tannins, led pencil, rich, rounded, cassis, herbs

Margaux – softer, most feminine wine of Left Bank, floral, berry, lifted perfume

St. Julien – rich dark fruit, velvety texture, cigar box, elegant, leather, in between Pauillac and Margaux in mouthfeel and texture.

Pessac-Leognan – minerality, elegance, gravel, mocha, spice, more integrated tannins

St. Estephe – austere, marked acidity, darker, more intense, gravel, cedar, herbs, very firm tannins


Italy/Tuscany/Bolgheri – powdery tannins; velvety, cassis; deep; dark; rich; slightly more astringent

Chile – sweeter, deeply concentrated, some boysenberry flavors, herbal notes

Australia/Coonawarra –  minty, firm tannins, dark fruit; dark chocolate

Australia/Barossa – warmer fruit forward style, can be jammy berry, complex

South Africa – leaner but with concentrated fruit, herbs, similar to Bordeaux in style

Argentina- ripe dark fruit, leather, fine grained tannins

NOTE:  This article was originally published on Women for WineSense Napa/Sonoma Blog