When driving along Highway 29 North in Napa Valley, it’s easy to feel intimidated by all of the big name wineries. Deciding where to stop can be tough. We are happy to say that we have discovered another cool winery in Napa and are thrilled to share all the details with you! Our contributor Taylor Brown got to spend a beautiful Sunday at Turnbull Winery and here are her impressions.
Turnbull Winery might be easy to miss because of its tall lush green fence, large wooden gate and discreet signage, but once you found it, go bookmark it — it might become your favorite winery. Just a 1.5-hour drive from San Francisco, Turnbull is one of those wineries where you could easily spend the entire day. The first reaction you get is: “Hey, there are no lines of busses unloading winery-hoppers.”
It feels more like you finally befriended that one friend who’s living in Napa and you can visit his/hers house as often as you please. And meet his/hers other cool friends hanging around. There is no stress at Turnbull Winery. The big barn is center stage of the property surrounded by vineyards, vegetable beds, and trees. Speaking of the barn: Turnbull Winery is not only famous for its fine wines and welcoming vibes, but it’s also part of California’s architectural history. The building was designed by the legendary William Turnbull, Jr., whose pioneering architectural ideas stand strong throughout California, with Sea Ranch community on Sonoma’s coast probably being the most famous of his works. Just a quick history lesson.
On this particular visit, Turnbull hosted a wonderful group of women, including myself, to a private tour with an incredible dining experience. President of Turnbull Winery, Zoe Johns, whose family has owned the property since 1993, welcomed us as if we were long-time friends. You just cannot, but feel at a good friend’s home at Turnbull Winery. Zoey previously worked on the marketing team for Pottery Barn and transitioned over to Turnbull to help run the family business. Her creative touch is visible in every corner of the winery, and her attention to detail is impeccable.
You know how some tasting rooms are stuffy, with a bulky bar, and you sometimes wonder, “where do I even sit in this room”? That simply doesn’t happen at Turnbull. The big barn invites you to taste delicious wines in a living room like setting. Comfortable couches and chairs are arranged around coffee tables, rotating art exhibitions decorate the walls, and the large windows let you have a peek into the vegetable gardens, just outside of the barn. If you don’t feel like sitting indoors, grab your bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and settle down in one of the many chairs sprinkled on the property. Some of them even around firepits. It doesn’t get cozier than that on a mild fall afternoon.
On this lovely Sunday in November, we got to experience the stunning patio reserved for large groups, complete with a bocce ball court and wood fire pizza oven.
The wine was flowing throughout the day. And me, a new Rosè lover, I must say Turnbull’s is one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking. “We intentionally make Rosè, it’s not an afterthought for us,” -says Zoey. And I very much appreciate that. When we sat for lunch, I gasped at the table setting created by Elsie Green. It was the perfect mixture of textures and fall colors, yet still kept the attention on the marvelous wines. As I sipped a glass of the Josephine Sauvignon Blanc, I completely forgot about food; the wine was so good.
It’s safe to say that the entire group was blown away by Chef Jessica Lasky. Her energy was absolutely contagious, and she brought out every dish with a huge smile. My favorite pairing was the harvest style salad with persimmon, grapes, crispy prosciutto, and rosemary citrus dressing. And the wine to accompany was the 2014 Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon. I was undoubtedly in Napa Valley heaven that day and can only recommend putting Turnbull Winery on your must-visit-wineries list.
You can make a reservation for tour tasting, become a member to enjoy special events ( hello harvest table dinner!) or you can just stop by while cruising around Napa and sip few glasses. To find out more about their wine tasting, events and visit, click here.