Getting An Unforgettable Taste: Alpha Omega Winery
Alpha Omega is a family-owned boutique winery located on Highway 29 in the legendary Rutherford Bench. Founded in 2006 by vintners Robin and Michelle Baggett, the winery has developed a reputation for world-class, Bordeaux-style wines that k uniquely express the terroir of Napa Valley’s most famous grape-growing lots (think Thomas Vineyard in Rutherford, Beckstoffer To Kalon in Oakville, and Stagecoach in Atlas Peak). The handcrafted wines are the work of Alpha Omega’s talented winemaker, Jean Hoefliger, and eminent winemaking consultant Michel Rolland. The two men have been at the helm since just after the winery’s debut, having come from a similar collaboration at Newton Vineyard down the road.
Born and raised in Switzerland, Jean Hoefliger gained global winemaking experience in Bordeaux, at the esteemed estates of Chateau Lynch-Bages and Chateau Carbonnieux, and at Meer-lust in South Africa.
He likes pushing the envelope, and thinks it’s a good thing to reinvent the wheel. He exhibits a “high-risk” winemaking style, characterized by long, natural barrel fermentation that takes an average of 10 months and often leaves red wines on skins for up to 90 days (most winemakers opt for 21 to 30 days). The gambles tend to pay off with an award-winning portfolio of wines as intriguing as they are delicious. Hoefliger and Rolland have different styles.
The Swiss gentleman likes his wines naturally fermented and unfiltered, while the French-born is renowned for his propensity to tinker and adjust. They balance each other, though, and the resulting wines are a beautiful blend of the Old World and the New World. A Gentry favorite is the ERA 2014, the flagship wine and a Cabernet blend that boasts a hue of deep, dark black ink. It has hints of ruby on the rim and a soft, velvety entrance, with touches of dark cherry, blueberry, and clay.
We also love the 2013 Chardonnay a very expressive wine that smells of brioche, gingerbread, and apricot, with a palate of salted caramel, nutmeg, and fresh pears. The Alpha Omega property is a stunner, with fountains, a tranquil pond, and dramatic views of the Mayacamas Mountains. Visitors can choose between a 60-minute immersive tasting experience ($65), which includes samples of wine as you tour the property and production areas, or a private tasting with a wine educator for groups of up to 10 guests ($75).
For wine enthusiasts who appreciate history and terroir, there’s the unparalleled ‘Taste of To Kalon” ($150), a sampling of three vintages of Beckstoffer To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon, which takes place in a secluded Library room, the same behind-the-scenes space where Alpha Omegas talented winemaking team comes together to blend its terrific wines. Open to the public daily from 10AM – 6PM. Reservations required for non-Wine Club members on Saturdays after 2PM and for groups of six or larger at all times. Private tastings available by appointment.