Posted on July 23, 2012
Twenty Rows, the only working winery and tasting room in downtown Napa Valley, is an amazing discovery outside of the numerous vineyards. Walking into the family-owned tasting room, I’m struck by the room to my left, with bright red walls, beautiful flowers, and a long wood table. Instead, I continue to the cellar across the foyer, and park myself at the two communal tables between barrels and stainless steel tanks. This is not uncommon according to Timothy Nuss, who says the atmosphere in the chilled cellar draws clients right in, prepared to taste.
The wine comes from Vinoce (vin-o-chay), a 24 acre vineyard planted on Mt. Veeder, and operated by the Nuss Family. Meaning “wine nut”, Vinoce produces 1,800 cases depending on the year, and showcases production at Twenty Rows like a brew pub for wine. The huge, open space with concrete floors and tall ceilings is filled with the aroma of barreled wine. The Nuss Family opened Twenty Rows as a place for “wine nuts” to relax and drink a wine catered for every day consumption. To make it even more inviting the Nuss’ decorated the area with flowers, a shiny pink child-size convertible car, dimmed lights and votive candles. Wines are set on a rustic hutch and are poured straight from the people who get their hands dirty during harvest.
Clients immediately get that family experience when they walk into Twenty Rows and are greeted by sons Timothy and Tyler Nuss. I’m offered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and within minutes feel as though I know the whole family. Their parents, Brian and Lori Nuss, have been growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot, for nearly three decades. In 1996, they began making their own wines from their Mt. Veeder estate before setting up production in downtown Napa. Periodically, the Nuss clan hosts public parties, often featuring live music and catered food. On July 28th they will hold their third annual Blues and Cheese Festival.
Twenty Rows is a truly unique experience in Napa Valley, and just so happens to have great wine at a great value!