Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Review of Silver Oak Vineyards: An Iconic Experience!

Silver Oak Review
Napa Valley Silver Oak
For wine lovers, especially cabernet sauvignon lovers, Silver Oak is an iconic name. On my recent trip to Napa Valley, I had the pleasure of being hosted at Silver Oak vineyards, and it not only lived up to my expectations but completely exceeded them! For those of you unfamiliar with Silver Oak, Silver Oak has two estates- one in Napa Valley and one in Alexander Valley. Each estate focusing on producing an exquisite cabernet sauvignon. Unlike many other wineries, Silver Oak only produces cabernet sauvignon, and has chosen to focus on this exclusive varietal in order to produce the best of the best. In this way, Silver Oak set their sights on becoming an expert at this varietal, rather than dabbling in many varietals and being O.K. However, I'll get back to more information on Silver Oak shortly...first, I want to take a quick look at why I knew Silver Oak was a must-stop on my trip to Napa!

Napa Valley Silver Oak holds a special place in my heart, because it was the first bottle of wine that Nick and I ever drank together. On our very first date in Minneapolis, I selected this bottle of wine because I knew that I loved it, and everybody who drinks it seems to agree with that. As such, I ordered this for Nick and I to enjoy. Fast forward a few years later to when we were taking our vacation in Napa Valley, and I knew we had to visit the producers of the first bottle of wine we drank together! So, Silver Oak became the first vineyard that we would visit on our Napa Trip, and it started off quite terrifically!

Silver Oak Napa Valley Review
entrance to Silver Oak Napa Valley!
Knowing the drive from Sacramento to Napa would take around 1.5 hours, I allotted a little extra time to make sure I was early. Because of this, Nick and I arrived to Silver Oak around 30 minutes before our scheduled tour and tasting, and decided to take some pictures at the entrance of Silver Oak. While doing so, one car drove past us on the driveway- and two minutes later, that same car returned. Little did we know, the driver of that car, Scott, was one of the Silver Oak staff, and had driven all the way up the driveway before turning around to come back and offer to take a picture for us. Talk about an awesome entrance and customer service, right from the get-go!

Silver Oak Vineyard Tour Review
the iconic lighthouse at Silver Oak
I decided to start the day out by snapping some shots of the vineyard and winery. Silver Oak is well known for their iconic bottle featuring a lighthouse. At both the Napa Valley winery and the Alexander Valley winery, you will see the lighthouse- as well as at various vineyards throughout Napa that produce for Silver Oak!

Silver Oak Napa Valley Property
Once entering the winery, we were immediately greeted by the Silver Oak staff and poured a tasting of the wine. After this, we had a few moments to check out the tasting room before heading on a tour of the vineyard. While wandering the inner workings of Silver Oak, I was impressed by the vastness of the production, and how immaculate the winery was kept. Even when checking out the fermentation tanks, never once did you see an out of place object, stray hose, or item of garbage. All of this further impresses upon one the high quality products that Silver Oak produces.

it was so impressive to view the vastness, cleanliness, and expanse of the fermentation room!

One of the most interesting bits of information we learned at Silver Oak is regarding the drought in California. Many people are aware of the drought and the huge problems it is causing for the state. As such, I naturally assumed that it had negatively affected the vineyards. Much to my surprise, I learned that the drought has actually thus far been great for the vineyards, as it makes the grape vines work harder. The vines are now struggling, and having to push their roots deeper and deeper into the soil. This causes them to reach new nutrients and prosper in ways that they have not been forced to do up until this point. Of course, while the drought has been good for the vineyards thus far, the wineries, including Silver Oak, are doing their part to utilize sustainable practices to minimize or eliminate their effect on the drought.

Silver Oak can certainly be classified as a winery that is inclusive, yet aspirational. Silver Oak is very much so a brand that one can feel a part of, and a brand that is aspirational and something to reach towards. Walking in the front doors, you will be impressed by the vastness and beauty of the facility, yet also feel right at home. I think this is the perfect message that Silver Oak has sought to achieve, and they have done a great job with this.

various Silver Oak vintages ready to be poured out for a tasting
In addition to the feel of the vineyard and winery itself, Silver Oak seeks to be associated with feel-good moments in a person's life. Little did I know as I was explaining the story of Nick and I's first date, that those moments are exactly the ones Silver Oak wishes to be associated with. For them, it is really all about the story behind the wine- whether it is a first date, an engagement or wedding, or the celebration of a birth. Silver Oak is meant to be a wine that can be consumed every day or at these iconic special moments in a persons life, and for this reason the wine is designed to be drinkable and age well over 20, 25, even longer periods of time. Personally, it only seemed fitting that Silver Oak was the first vineyard Nick and I ever visited together, especially since it was also the first bottle of wine we shared!

Ian was our amazing hosting while at Silver Oak!
Is it really considered work when you have this great of a view and glass of wine in your hand?
Another amazing aspect while visiting Silver Oak is the people working there. Each of them is clearly dedicated to their work, and has accomplished great things before and during their time at Silver Oak. Learning that individuals came to Silver Oak from some other great companies such as Google and Disney displays the desire that Silver Oak has to constantly improve upon their previous achievements. You can see in the above two pictures, Nick and I received our Silver Oak tour by Ian. Ian was so knowledgeable and passionate about Silver Oak and their mission, and it truly shown through. Enthusiasm is contagious, and we felt it!

I swear, I only drank one bottle of wine!
Back to the wines though... Silver Oak is known for great wine. Any visit, or bottle, of Silver Oak will not leave one disappointed. As I've mentioned here, crack a bottle of Silver Oak for a random Wednesday night (like I did tonight!), or save it for a special occasion. No matter what, you are bound to love it!

Silver Oak was a great and fun vineyard to visit, and really leaves you with a lasting impression. As you depart, you receive a complimentary Silver Oak wine glass to take home with you- and I can tell you, this is by far my favorite wine glass at home now! Another fun aspect I've seen on social media is Silver Oak's usage of the hashtag #LifeIsACabernet - what a great way to connect with other Silver Oak lovers! I know that tonight (it is Wine Wednesday, after all!) I'll be enjoying a glass of Silver Oak and using the hashtag to connect with others!

Does anyone else have a great story with Silver Oak wines, or have you visited the vineyard? What was your favorite part?


  1. Silver Oak really is pretty terrific. We had a similar experience last year which I wrote about in my wine blog:

  2. Your posts about these wineries makes me want to plan a trip up there ASAP!

    1. Well, get on it! Definitely something for everyone in Napa!


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