Kuleto Estate

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Visiting Kuleto is not for someone afraid of heights or torturous switchback track of a road. However, once you reached this winery perched on a side of a mountain, your reward will be a stunning vista.

Created in 1992 by culinary entrepreneur Pat Kuleto, this mountainous vineyard overlooks Lake Hennessey and the town of Rutherford. Kuleto designed terraced blocks of vineyards planting Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir and Chardonney. He later added Syrah, Zinfandel and Muscat. The winery features a 17,000 square foot gravity flow facility.

The estate is by appointment only, and one quickly learns why. On the narrow track featuring switchbacks, our bus ran into another...with no room to pass. Rule of the mountain applies with the vehilce going up having road rights so we watched the other driver back up until the track widened enough for us to pass. A wee bit nerve-racking.

[This house sat on a hilltop across the valley. It's got to have a helicopter pad!]

Our group was greeted by a guide and our first glass of wine sipped on a wide terrace with a fantastic view of the mountainside. Then we strolled past the owner's Tuscan-styled house to the overlook of Lake Hennessey. Glorious.

Next up was lunch with a different wine paired with every dish. Exquisite. The staff was so friendly and willing to answer questions. The entire experience was perfect.

However, as a Florida driver used to flat land, I'll leave the drive up to Kuleto to someone experienced in mountain driving. :) Carol