Eco-friendly winery’s guests enjoy museum-quality art while sipping high-scoring Cabernets.
With its landscaped grounds, museum-quality art, and glass-walled tasting room, HALL St. Helena captivates with equal parts glamour and whimsy. It’s difficult to miss Lawrence Argent’s 35-foot-tall polished stainless steel rabbit sculpture (Bunny Foo Foo) leaping perkily out of the vineyard that edges St. Helena Highway. Nearby, John Baldessari’s white fiberglass Camel (Albino) Contemplating Needle catches the eyes of guests entering the tasting room, while sheep sculptures by French artist Francois-Xavier Lalanne graze a few feet away.
HALL St. Helena, which earned LEED Gold certification in recognition of its eco-friendly practices and energy efficiency, also receives high marks from major critics for its Cabernet Sauvignons and Bordeaux-style blends. As a bonus, the Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs of the affiliated WALT Wines label are poured at many tastings, sometimes also the Zinfandels of a third label, BACA.
Owners Kathryn and Craig Hall—she a former U.S. ambassador to Austria born into a family of Mendocino County grape growers, he the founder of the real-estate investment firm Hall Financial Group—have a keen sense of style. The art they have collected encompasses a range of traditional and alternative media, from painting and sculpture to textile, neon, and LED. In addition to sculptures and other installations, the vibrant exterior visuals include manicured rows of grapevines that seem to march gracefully westward to the Mayacamas Mountains. Indoors, the state-of-the-art aging tanks and other equipment are as visually appealing as the art.
You can absorb this scene at ground level from Adirondack chairs flanking the broad lawn near the tasting room or from second-floor perches in the tasting room or (on tours) the restored 1885 Bergfeld winery building. Grapes have been grown on this property for well more than a century, but the setting has probably never appeared more fetching.
Deep into Cabernet
The grapes for HALL Cabernets hail from most of the Napa Valley’s 16 subappellations. All tastings include at least one of the winery’s top-rated Cabernet Sauvignons, but three tastings delve progressively deeper into the varietal. The Art of Cabernet provides an excellent introduction, and the Ultimate Cabernet Collector allows participants to grasp how weather, geology, and other vineyard and cellar factors impact the finished product. For a splurge, reserve space at the best-of-the-best Platinum Collection tasting of small-lot wines.
Why go: art indoors and out; top-rated wines from numerous appellations.
HALL St. Helena appears in 10 Foolproof Napa Valley Cabernet Tasting Experiences and Art Lover’s Guide to Napa and Sonoma.
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This story originally appeared online in 2017; it was fact-checked and updated in 2020. Several winery experiences involving food are on hiatus because of Covid-19 concerns but may return in the coming months.