Many people go to Napa Valley for the vineyards and the views, but a new experience in the area might have you clamoring for a trip underground. The Louis M. Martini winery is now taking reservations for tastings in its newly restored underground cellar.
Underneath one of Napa’s original post-Prohibition wineries sits the beautiful 85-year-old barrel cellar, which takes inspiration from the Martini family’s old-world heritage. Guests will be welcomed into the space for an intimate meal and wine tasting, with the four-course rotating menu curated by executive chef Aaron Meneghelli. Paired with the food are the winery’s small-lot releases and library wines, including the Lot No. 1 Cabernet Sauvignon, a highlight of the company’s output that sells for up to $500, depending on the vintage.
The winery, which began selling its wine in late 1933, has a storied history in the viticultural world. In the mid-’30s, it was one of the first wineries to use a cold, or controlled, fermentation process; in 1951, it became one of the first winegrowers to use wind machines to prevent frost in its vineyards; and in 1970, Louis M. Martini was among the first to bottle a varietal Merlot in California. This history is evident throughout the property, and visitors who imbibe in the underground cellar experience will learn even more about the longtime winemaker.
Currently, reservations are available during the weekends for parties of two to four people, at $325 per person, or $250 for wine-club members. The cellar experience is also included in some of Louis M. Martini’s membership packages: The Cellar Collective, which offers 12 bottles of wine per quarter, will allow you and a guest to partake in the tasting once every year, while the Crown Society, which comes with 12 to 24 bottles per quarter, lets two people enjoy the experience every quarter. That first membership option will run you $925 to $1,200 quarterly, and the latter is priced at $1,800 to $2,400 per quarter.
Whether you show up as a onetime guest or a loyal member, the underground cellar is sure to be a wine-tasting experience to remember.