Go behind-the-scenes to see how winemaking is more than a job, its a lifestyle. We will feature our annual events, rare interviews, new tour and tasting experiences, wine trends, happenings in the Valley, wine country fashion, and recent wine scores - all while having a little fun along the way. Cheers!
Raise Your Standards to HALL
We set the standard for our Cabernet early on. We set out to make exceptional wine without shortcuts or excuses. This pursuit for a higher standard expanded beyond winemaking to creating exceptional wine experiences. Whether, it is building world-class tasting rooms, cultivating a unique community of members, or our commitment to sustainability and innovation, we have set a new standard. From vine to bottle, HALL is unsurpassed. Raise your standards to HALL.
Veraison - Magic in the Vineyard
It’s that time of year again when we’re almost at the Harvest season and veraison begins in the grapes. If you visit Napa Valley around July-September, you’ll notice grape clusters growing and changing colors. This is called veraison and is important because it determines the amount of time left until the fruit is picked – a crucial time for the winemaking and vineyard teams.
HOW DOES CLIMATE AFFECT VERAISON?
With Pacific Ocean influence, many microclimates, configuration of hills and the right amount of heat, Napa Valley remains world famous for growing grapes. For veraison to be successful, it should begin earlier and last longer – the grapes become extra flavorful in the heat. If the season is too cool and short, the grapes typically do not have as much sweet flavor.
While Veraison is a physical transformation to the eye, it’s also an important time for the winery. The most evident change is the color. Veraison is a time in the lifecycle of a grape where they start to accumulate sugar and start to soften.
COLORS IN THE GRAPES
During this time, grape colors change from green to a range of colors such as deep purple and golden yellow. You also might notice different colors all mixed in a grape cluster. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes start as green, hard grapes and during veraison, they turn pink and then a dark purple, deep blue color. Sauvignon Blanc grapes also start off at green color and are hard, small grapes and then become translucent or yellow tinted.
THE NITTY GRITTY
While Veraison is a physical transformation to the eye, it also contains an important chemical transformation. Essentially, the energy from photosynthesis in the roots is transferred from vine to grape. As the fruit grows from the energy, the grapes develop sugar, polyphenols, and aroma compounds – this protects them from the sun! As the grape starts to turn color, it is important to monitor them. The winemaking team picks a few grapes to test sample’s acid levels, pH, and sugar levels. The time in between grape veraison and harvest fluctuates, however this stage is exciting for the whole winery as it predicates the first day of Harvest!
The History of HALL's Historic Bergfeld Building
Peterson used the top floor of the building as a wine production facility, and the bottom floor as a cellar. Fun fact: the stone walls of the Bergfeld helped to keep the wines cool and the perfect temperature for aging!
When Napa Valley was invaded by phylloxera in 1890 (a small insect that feeds on grape vines and nearly destroyed the Napa Valley Wine Industry), Peterson sold the winery to Robert Bergfeld, which is where the building derives it’s name.
Bergfeld promptly sold the property to a Theodore Grier, who was the director of the newly formed Grape Growers Associates of California and very against prohibition. Grier increased the production size of the winery by ten-fold and tried to continue winemaking even after prohibition in 1920, but was ultimately sent to prison.
After prohibition, the Bergfeld building was abandoned and dubbed a “ghost winery” for many years, until being rediscovered in 1933 with its production equipment intact. New structures were built and the tank capacity was doubled to over 500,000 gallons. The Bergfeld building became the Napa Valley Co-Op Winery, and the largest and most important winery in the Napa Valley—producing 40% of Napa Valley Wines through the 1950s.
When the Hall family bought this property in 2003, their intent was to create a spectacular winery facility combining great architecture, art, and wine all while maintaining the incredible history of the Bergfeld Building as a once integral part of our winemaking community. We now honor this building by hosting our most exclusive seated tastings on the top floor. You can learn more about tasting experiences hosted in the Bergfeld Building on our visit page!
Plan Your Trip to Napa Valley
HALL’s Ultimate Cabernet Experience
This exclusive, seated experience showcases our highly rated Napa Valley Cabernets paired with artisan cheeses. Our most experienced wine educators will guide you through the terroir and wine making techniques of each wine - It’s the perfect tasting for any wine lover looking to experience the best of Napa Valley Cabernet .
90 minute experience hosted daily
$150 per person
Our signature tour starts with a stroll around the grounds where you’ll learn about the history of the property and our extensive art collection. You’ll also get an in-depth explanation of the HALL winemaking philosophy of precision grape growing and wine making. The tour concludes with a seated tasting of a flight of our artisan Cabernet Sauvignon wines paired with select cheeses.
This tour is a wonderful way to become acquainted with HALL as a wine producer, and an excellent opportunity to learn about Napa Valley as a whole as you walk by beautiful vineyards.
90 minute experience hosted daily
$75 per person
The Art of Cabernet
This tasting features a flight of award-winning Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons, and is hosted at our world class tasting bar overlooking the vineyards and Mayacamas Mountains. This tasting is 60 minutes and is a great way to taste through our Napa Valley Cabernet portfolio.
60 Minute Experience hosted daily
$60 per person
Dinner at home with HALL
Looking for an excuse to uncork your favorite bottle of wine? How about a cozy night in — HALL Cabernet paired with a hearty Beef Stew.
This classic dish is made by simmering beef, vegetables, and spices in a rich broth until the meat is tender and the flavors are melded together. And when it comes to a wine pairing, HALL’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent choice - the dark fruit and rich tannin of our wines compliment the bold flavor profile of the meal.
Just ask HALL Wines aficionado Tracey Ceurvels (@traceyceurvels). She sent us this mouth-watering Beef Stew recipe to accompany Ellie's Cabernet Sauvignon.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
3 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into pieces (about 1½-inch)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1½ tablespoons tomato paste2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
2 ½ cups of red wine to cook with (typically a wine you don’t mind missing out on drinking)
2 ½ cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon sugar
5 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
4 large potatoes, cut into chunks
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and set a rack in the lower middle position.
- Pat the beef dry and season with the salt and pepper then dust with 2 tablespoons of flour
- In a large Dutch oven (or a large pot) heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the meat until browned, about 2-3 minutes on each side. You may need to do this in batches as you don’t want to crowd the pan. Transfer the meat once browned to a plate or bowl.
- Add the onions and stir for a minute or two.
- Add the tomato paste and garlic, continuing to stir. Then add the balsamic vinegar and stir to get up the brown bits—about 5 minutes total.
- Return the beef to the pan and sprinkle with remaining flour. Stir until the flour is dissolved then add the wine, beef broth, bay leaves, thyme, and sugar. Stir so everything is combined. Bring to a boil. Then cover the pot, place in the oven and cook for 2 hours.
- Once the 2 hours are up, add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and return to the oven and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Serve with bread, wine, and perhaps HALL’s Ellie’s Cabernet Sauvignon which features notes of blackcurrant preserves, sage and oak with silky tannins.
Cheers to cozy nights in, and dinner at home with HALL!
Art & Wine at HALL
Come for the world-class wine, stay for the expressive art (and more wine of course!). Across our properties are exquisite pieces of modern artwork. At HALL St. Helena, there is art everywhere – including the Visitors Center itself!
HALL is more than just about crazy good Cabs. We are actively involved in numerous arts, culture, music, and philanthropic efforts adding to the rich and diverse character of Napa Valley.
Wine and Art Exploration Experience
It’s no doubt that the winery structure itself is state of the art. With its modern look and expansive property, this experience is the perfect way to enjoy the art, your wine, or both! The Wine and Art Exploration Experience is private experience where we share the stories about Craig and Kathryn Hall’s vision, passion for art, and history. Featuring some of the most internationally acclaimed artists today, guests will be guided through the collection, while tasting some of HALL's amazing wines.
The Art Tour App
Came to visit on a busy weekend or just wanting to take your time? Download the HALL Wines St. Helena Art App on your smart phone for the perfect self-guided experience. Enjoy walking throughout the property to learn about our art pieces and sip as you go! All the artists mentioned on the App can be found on our Art Page.
At our HALL Rutherford property, we offer our Appellation Exploration and our Platinum Experience. Both of which can be hosted in our Chandelier Room. Experience a lovely tasting and enjoy the cave brought to life by Donald Lipski’s magnificent “Chilean Red” chandelier.
Beginner's Guide to CABERNET SAUVIGNON
Once upon a time, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc met and created Cabernet Sauvignon. Originally from Bordeaux, France, Cabernet Sauvignon has become the most planted wine grape in the world. Cabernet Sauvignon is a popular red wine that is full in body and thrives a few special regions such as Bordeaux, Chile, and California (The Napa Valley of course!).
When it comes to flavors, a Cabernet sauvignon is typically packed with complex flavors of dark berries with hints of spice or tobacco and a powerful finish. With tannins and acidity falling right in the middle, a good Cab can be enjoyed and paired with many different foods, or even by itself. You can’t go wrong!
Our favorite pairing recommendations:
There are so many ways to pair your wine, and we’ve highlighted our favorites to ensure that you can receive the full flavors notes of this delicious wine. Whether you’re looking for ideas for a wine night with friends, holiday gatherings, or a dinner date, here are 3 classic pairings that will make your glass of Cab shine.
Red meat is the soul mate of Cabernet Sauvignon. To enhance the most flavors and a smooth finish on the palate, we suggest sipping your Cab with a slightly fattier steak such as ribeye or sirloin, served rare to medium-rare. A grilled rack of lamb recipe is another perfect pairing – the flavors of the meat & Cabernet will be sure to impress. For those looking for a non-meat dish and want to taste the notes of their Cab, we love a grilled Portobello mushroom with butter and garlic. Pair your dish of choice with a side of cheesy polenta and a bottle of the Coeur Cabernet Sauvignon, and bon appétit!
Ladies’ night? You can’t go wrong with a charcuterie board. With a Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s recommended to pair your wine with a hard cheese such as gouda or an aged cheddar. Make your board full by adding crackers, nuts, dried fruit, and prosciutto with your favorite cheeses, and you are good to go! Pair each bite with the delicate Eighteen Seventy-Three Cabernet Sauvignon. With complex fruit aromas of ripe blackberry and plum, and a powerful, bright finish, your contribution to Ladies’ night will be an absolute hit. Cheers!
It’s a pizza night, and wine with pizza is a must. Elevate every pizza night with a bottle of Craig’s Cabernet Sauvignon! A rich cheesy pizza with pepperoni or sausage from your favorite restaurant will pair perfectly with this exceptionally balanced, drinkable wine. Something so easy as pizza and wine has never tasted so good. We love a Wednesday night pizza with Craig’s!
When Should I Drink My Wine?
How Long Do I Age My Wine?
This is a question we hear quite a bit. The truth is, wine ages at different rates depending on the varietal, vintage, wine region, and wine making style. No one can tell you when your wine is “ready” because it is completely based on your personal preference. We can, however, give you guidelines to follow so that you can decide for yourself how long to age your wine before drinking.
Do You Recommend Aging HALL Wines?
The #1 question to ask yourself when aging wine is, is this wine of quality? A good wine will endure over time, but a GREAT wine will get better as it ages. All of HALL’s wines are hand crafted from the best fruit Napa Valley has to offer. Our wines are nuanced and layered, and elegantly balanced with a firm tannin structure and bright acidity. Because of this, you can count on HALL wines to age beautifully.
How Will My Wine Change as it Ages?
As your wine ages in the bottle, there are many chemical reactions happening that can alter the flavor, aroma, and texture.
For example, as red wine ages, the bold tannins will become softer. This is why Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent wine to age. (If you’re wondering what a tannin is, it’s what creates a drying sensation on your tongue when you take a sip). Cabernet Sauvignon grapes have a thick skin, which is what gives the wine bold tannin structure. Because of this, a young cabernet sauvignon can age for many years, and with each passing year you’ll find it develops a softer, rounder flavor profile.
You’ll also notice a very different nose and taste over time. This is the appeal of aging wine, as it almost transforms as it sits in the bottle. The big fruit flavors you might notice in a young wine will become secondary, and other more subtle flavors will come forward - especially earthy and savory flavors, and the oak influence. If these are flavors you enjoy over bold fruit, then you are a great candidate for aging your wine.
Here is a basic outline of how long you should age wines based on varietal:
0 – 2 years: Aromatic white wines like Riesling, Muscat, and Sauvignon Blanc
1 – 4 years: Lighter reds including most Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Tempranillo
2 – 5 years: Medium reds like Zinfandel, Barbera, and Merlot
2 – 7 years: Medium/heavy reds including Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Malbec
2 – 10+ years: Heavier reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Red Ports
Choosing the Right Wine Glass
What style wine glass is right for me?
The right wine glass is going to change from occasion to occasion because it very much depends on the varietal of wine you are pouring into it.
How important is it that I choose the right wine glass?
As winemakers, we craft our wines carefully so that you can enjoy and savor the aroma as well as the taste. The right wine glass will gather the wine’s aroma in a way that brings out the unique characteristics and nuances we have worked hard to create. For us, the right wine glass is essential to your experience!
What are the most important aspects of a wine glass to consider?
When it comes to picking the right glassware, the decision is less about deciding between a stem vs. stemless wine glass, and more so about the size and shape of the bowl.
Which wine glass is best suited for red wines?
In general, you want your red wine in a wine glass with a wide bowl. A wider bowl will expose your wine to more oxygen allowing the full bodied flavors to “open up".
The classic Bordeaux wine glass - perfectly paired with bold reds with high tannins like a cabernet sauvignon, or merlot. Look for a glass with a wide rim and medium sized bowl. The design of this wine glass allows more oxygen to contact the wine, and ethanol (alcohol) evaportes. Your bold red wines will taste smoother and the shape will bring out the fruit flavors.
Burgundy or Pinot Noir Wine Glass - This style wine glass generally has a shorter stem and very wide bowl to help collect the bolder aromas of delicate red wines like pinot noir. The wide rim also makes sure the wine hits your palate in the right way to bring out maximum sweetness.
Which wine glass is best suited for white wine?
White wine glasses are generally shorter and have a smaller bowl size. The aromas are much lighter in white wines, so you want a wine glass that allows you to get your nose much closer to the wine.
High Acid White Wines - When drinking a white wine with high acids like a sauvignon blanc, or riesling you want a wine glass with a narrow bowl to concentrate the aromas. This slim wine glass shape also helps regulate the temperature and keep the wines chilled.
Chardonnay or Montrachet Wine Glass - Glasses designed for chardonnay or other full bodied white wines have a very large bowl similar to the burgundy style but are slightly smaller and shorter, with a much smaller stem. These varietals are often oaked, and you want the big surface area to bring out their rich qualities.
Decanting wine is the art of slowly pouring the wine from the bottle into a different container (usually a glass decanter), and is a way to add oxygen and enhance drinkability. Decanting is an excellent way to elevate your wine drinking experience, and showcase your wines at their absolute best.
Why Should I Decant My Wines?
The main reasons to decant is to amplify the wine’s flavor by exposing it to air, bring wines to the correct temperature, and to separate the sediment from the liquid. Decanting is especially important for Cabernet Sauvignon! Young Cabernet Sauvignons tend to have strong tannins, and decanting can accelerate the breathing process, increase the natural aromas from the fruit and oak, and soften the harsh taste of the tannins. HALL’s Napa Valley Cabernets age beautifully, and decanting is the best way to remove the sediment that builds up as the wine ages.
Should Every Wine Be Decanted?
Yes! Nearly every wine will benefit from being decanted, with the exception of sparkling wine.
How Do I Decant Wine Correctly?
The first step to decant successfully is to let your wine sit upright for a full day before decanting. This is key in letting the sediment settle on the bottom of the bottle.
When you are ready, pour the wine in the decanter at a slow, steady pace, making sure not to disturb the sediment. Ideally you will keep the bottle below a 45 degree angle. Pour the wine into the decanter so that it hits the sides of the glass - this is important because it will expose your wine to more oxygen! Try to leave about half an ounce of wine in the bottle with the sediment.
How Long Do I Decant My Wines For?
Decanting can take anywhere from 15 minutes up to 4 hours, depending on the wine. Full-bodied red wines with high tannin (like a Cabernet Sauvignon) generally need the most time to decant, but you can speed this process up by choosing a decanter with a wide base to increase the amount of oxygen exposure to your wine.
Expect to let your full bodied red wines decant for 1 - 2 hours, and decant light bodied wines for 30 minutes - 1 hour.
What Type of Decanter Should I use?
As mentioned above, if you want to decant a full-bodied red wine, opt for a decanter with a wide base.
If you want to decant a medium-bodied red wine (like our WALT Pinot Noir) opt for a medium sized decanter.
If you want to decant a light bodied red wine, serve in a small to medium sized decanter that’s been chilled.If you do choose to decant a white wine or a rose, we recommend using a small, chilled decanter.
visit our Wine Tips page to learn more
2022 In Review
HALL, WALT, and BACA Wines look back at a year full of wonderful memories.
Happy New Year's 2018!
Vintners Craig & Kathryn Hall sat down to share a message of gratitude for all of the fire-related support received in 2017 as part of their matching campaign, and share details about visiting numerous cities all over the country in 2018.
Craig's Day in the Office
Craig came to the office to help promote his new 2014 HALL Craig’s Red Wine.
He took phone calls from members, adoring fans, and at least one special guest. He rallied the staff, taught us all a few new tricks, and kept us all entertained. His presence was enjoyed by all.
2017 Cabernet Cookoff - “Video Recap”
Video courtesy of Flynn Kelleher.
On Saturday, April 29th, over 750 wine and food enthusiasts came together on the great lawn at HALL Wines in St. Helena to raise a record $80,000 for local charities at the 8th Annual Cabernet Cookoff. 14 chefs from Bay Area restaurants teamed up with local non-profits of their choice to create the best dish to pair with our 2013 Coeur Cabernet Sauvignon. The competition was exciting, the wine was flowing, and the weather was perfect at this year’s sold out event. Full list of winners found here
The Sound of Harvest - “Our Favorite Things”
Vintner Kathryn Hall channels her inner Maria Von Trapp as she shares some of her favorite things with HALL and WALT staffers. Enjoy our version of The Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things”. We aren’t claiming to be award winning singers here, just award winning winemakers.
A Perfect Score the new book by Craig & Kathryn Hall, available September 12!
Craig Hall and Kathryn Walt Hall recount their twenty-year climb from amateur winemakers to recipients of an elusive perfect score from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.
2016 Kathryn Hall Release Party
Video courtesy of Flynn Kelleher.
700 wine lovers visited HALL St. Helena on Sept. 10th, 2016 for the annual Kathryn Hall Release Party.
7th Annual HALL Cabernet Cookoff
HALL's 7th Annual Cabernet Cookoff raised over $60,000 for local charities! Cheers to another successful Cabernet Cookoff filled with spectactular food and wine for a great cause!
Happy New Year!
Craig, Kathryn and all of us from HALL Wines wish you a very happy 2016!
The 12 Days of Christmas
The holidays are about celebrating the great people in your life and for us, that means celebrating the fabulous team at HALL & WALT. Our team collaborated to recreate “The 12 Days of Christmas” song with each department singing a different verse. It’s our way of saying Season's Greetings combining laughter and humor, with a glass of HALL or WALT wine in hand. Cheers to all of you this holiday season and hope yours is filled with similar sentiments.
Episode 4: Perfect Holiday Pairings with Kathryn Hall and Jennifer Cain
Kathryn Hall sits down at home in Rutherford with her daughter Jennifer to talk about two of their favorite family recipes. Kathryn shares a special recipe, Wild Blueberry Crumble, that her parents Bob and Dolores Walt used to make every Thanksgiving. This colorful dish is gluten free and vegan, and pairs perfectly with 2013 WALT Blue Jay Pinot Noir. On the flip side, Jennifer shares one of her favorite vegetarian dishes, a Stuffed Kabocha Squash. The recipe includes seasonal ingredients sourced from the Napa Valley Farmer’s Market that includes pecans, tomatoes, raisins and rice. Jennifer prepares this flavorful dish each year and this year pairs it with the new 2012 HALL "Coeur" Cabernet. Watch the episode to find out more about perfect holiday pairings that bring families together. Cheers!
2012 Kathryn Hall Y’All Release Party 2015
Video courtesy of Flynn Kelleher & Darren Chestnut.
Nearly 700 HALL wine lovers converged on the grounds for a western-style bash on Saturday, September 12, 2015. Guests received bandannas upon arrival, noshed on farm-to-table bites, western style by Feast Catering, took scenic hayrides through the vineyard on a luxurious horse drawn carriage with leather bench seating, kicked up their spurs to the country band Twang Ditty and, of course, enjoyed the delicious new 2012 Kathryn Hall Cabernet which award-winning Director of Winemaking Steve Leveque should be quite proud of considering the cabernet received 97+ points from Robert Parker.
Episode 3: Perfect Summer Picnic Pairings with Certified Sommelier Ryan Williams
Summer is here and the first thing that comes to mind is hot weather, a summer hat and California beaches. In Napa Valley, to us it means delicious summer picnic baskets filled will all this Valley has to offer. Jen Cain, daughter of Craig and Kathryn Hall, had the chance to sit down with HALL’s Associate Visitor Center Manager and Certified Sommelier Ryan Williams to chat about summer wines and picnic pairings. The duo also share the date for our annual harvest event, Kathryn Hall Release Party, set for September 12 -- So grab a few bottles of wine and head out to enjoy these beautiful summer days – and may those wines be HALL or WALT. Cheers to summer!
Ode to Joy" Flash Mob at HALL Wines - Auction Napa Valley 2015
HALL Wines was honored to host the 2015 Auction Napa Valley Barrel Auction this year at our winery in St. Helena. In partnership with Festival Del Sole, we were able to share a joyous surprise with our guests! An Ode to Joy Flash Mob, featuring 40 musicians and 40 vocalists delighted auction goers on Friday, June 5th.
2015 HALL Cabernet Cookoff™
Video courtesy of Darren Chestnut.
More than 680 food and wine enthusiasts headed to HALL St. Helena on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to taste, sip, and crown four champions at the 6th Annual HALL Cabernet Cookoff. Raising more than $59,319 in ticket sales and sponsor contributions, plus a generous donation from the HALL Napa Valley Community Fund to all participating charities, no one left empty handed. 15 Chef teams were tasked to create a dish to pair with 2012 HALL Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and competed for a local charity of their choice.
Episode 1: Pilot
Hosted by the Hall's daughter, Jennifer Cain, our first episode introduces a motley cast of characters from HALL & WALT who embody all facets of winemaking excellence. Featuring a guided tour through the vineyards of Sacrashe. This episode gives you a peek into the Napa Valley lifestyle that few get to live day-to-day.
If you share on your social channels, be sure to tag us!
@hallwines @waltwines #hallnews