Mike Chowla


When I lived in Berkeley, I used to go to Napa quite often but since I moved to the other side of the bay, the extra distance has made my visits much less frequent. This visit was my first in a long time and it surprised how much more commercial the whole wine tasting experience has become. Almost all the tasting rooms in Napa now charge to taste. The wineries sell more than just wine with both art and tourist trinkets on display. Instead of the tasting rooms being almost an afterthought to the wineries, there are now custom built structures that look like palaces or castles which are more focused on providing a unique visitor "experience" than showcasing the vineyards wine.