Upbeat staffers keep things jolly at upvalley outpost.
This upvalley outpost known for Cabernet Sauvignon touts its tasting room as the Napa Valley’s friendliest, and the upbeat staffers do keep things jolly. Bennett Lane Winery also makes a sparkling wine and the Maximus White Feasting Wine, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and a little Muscat. Cabernet Sauvignon predominates in the Maximus Red Feasting Wine, which contains a few other Bordeaux varietals mellowed by Syrah, a Rhône Valley grape, and a touch of Petite Sirah. Maximus and the Napa Valley Cabernet represent excellent values given the quality of the grapes. Rob Hunter has overseen the winemaking at Bennett Lane since the winery’s inception.
From Racer to Vintner
Randy and Lisa Lynch established Bennett Lane Winery in 2003. At the time, Randy was still participating in Nascar races; in 2013 he was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. The Lynches live a few miles from the tasting room surrounded by Cabernet vines that supply some of the grapes for the Reserve Cabernet and all the fruit for the Lynch Family Vineyard Cabernet.
Signature Seated Tastings generally begin with a white, followed by the Maximus red blend and then Cabernet Sauvignons; two other tastings focus on the upper-tier Cabs. The setting is relaxed and informal, as though you’ve just dropped by a friend’s living room or patio to share a glass of wine, or in this case several. Reservations, made by phone or (at least a day ahead) online, are required for all tastings.
Tip: Bennett Lane Winery is 3 miles north of downtown Calistoga. Because the winery is at the far end of the valley and many visitors trek from south to north each day, it’s often uncrowded first thing in the morning.
Why go: pastoral setting; relaxed tastings; elegantly balanced Cabernets.
Bennett Lane Winery appears in 48 Perfect Hours in Calistoga.
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This story originally appeared online in 2017; it was fact-checked and updated in 2021.