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2008 Private Preview: Green Acres

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Hidden within Napa’s Howell Mountain is a $2 million wine cave whose twisting and turning tunnels follow the shape of PlumpJack Winery’s shield insignia. The 14,500-square-foot facility is part of the new Cade Winery, which is scheduled to open in spring of 2008. Like PlumpJack, Cade is co-owned by San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom and socialite Gordon Getty.

The Napa County Planning Commission’s approval to build near Angwin, the only town on the mountain, came with a condition: The property could not detract from the area’s rustic beauty. To that end, nearly half of the 60-acre estate was placed in a land trust that will protect it from future development. The remaining 21.5 acres contain the vineyards (most of which were planted four years ago by the previous owner) and a grouping of manzanita trees, behind which the winery’s eco-friendly hospitality center is being constructed.

Minimalist in its design, the center will be built from concrete and recycled steel and equipped with solar panels for power. The cave, too, will conform with the winery’s conservation philosophy, by allowing for wine storage at its natural temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, without the aid of electricity. The winery also will use organic farming techniques.

Although the estate Cabernet Sauvignon (made from grapes grown on the property) will not be released until 2009, Cade’s small production of 2006 Sauvignon Blanc (made from grapes grown 12 miles away in Rutherford and produced at the PlumpJack winery) made its debut last spring. A third wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon made from grapes purchased from small-volume growers on the mountain, will be available next year, coinciding with the winery’s debut.

Cade, which derives its name from a Shakespearean term for a wine cask, will be open for tastings and tours by appointment only. While sipping and savoring, visitors to the center will enjoy panoramic views of Napa Valley and the Mayacama mountain range. A wine-tasting lounge and an exhibition kitchen for cooking seminars and hosted dinners will be among the building’s amenities.

“We find that the smaller the winery, the more unique and custom-tailored the experience,” explains PlumpJack general manager John Conover, who is a partner in Cade. “At Cade, it won’t be about bringing in the masses, but rather about making those who do visit feel as though they are part of the process here.”

Cade Winery, www­.cadewinery.com

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