Despite a couple of years of incredibly poor fortune, with COVID-19 and Californian wildfires driving a concerning downturn in tourism to the region, Napa vintners say demand for luxury wine-tasting experiences has never been higher, with their loftiest offerings priced at $500 or more selling out in record speed.
A conscious desire for social distancing may represent one reason for the sharp rise in demand for more private, exclusive experiences. People are also seeking once-in-a-lifetime adventures following lockdown, reports the San Francisco Chronicle, which spoke to vintners about the surprising trend.
Speaking on the exciting new trend, Tim Martin, owner of Immortal Estate, which has just begun offering a $550 four-pour tasting called the 100 Point Experience, said:
“June is typically not a big month for wine hospitality here, but requests are off the charts. I’ve not seen traffic like this for years.”
Angela Duerr, owner of luxury wine concierge service A Cultured Vine, agreed that interest in high-end Napa experiences is the highest she’s seen, and cites eye-watering price tags of around $13,000 per couple as being far from unusual right now. Racking up the bill are airfares, rental houses, private chef dinners and around $2,000 splashed out on wine at each winery visited.
Other extravagant wine-tasting experiences being snapped up include Tor Wines’ premium Black Magic Experience, where for $950 per person, visitors can tour marquee-name vineyards, whose fruit goes into the estate’s Black Magic Cabernet; Theorem Vineyard’s Baccarat Experience, which provides a custom-engraved crystal wine glass by the French company for a staggering $750 per person; and Aileron Estates’ biplane flight tastings where for $550, clients enjoy 20 minutes in a vintage, open-cockpit aircraft before heading back to ground for hosted wine tastings.
The Kardashians are also driving a larger influx of crowds to Napa. Del Dotto Vineyards has become a favorite for America’s most famous family, and the winery has seen a considerable uptick in interest since featuring on the show in April. Door-to-door luggage service My Baggage has gathered research revealing that demand for stays in Napa Valley has increased by a whopping 49%, a result of what it’s calling the “Kardashian effect”.