B Cellars truly stands out in the sea of majestic wineries that blanket legendary Napa Valley.
What makes them soar and pillar above the crowd is their unique presentation of wine tastings along with inspired food pairings created by their on-premise chef de cuisine, Derick Kuntz. This stunning winery is actually the only winery in Napa Valley that houses a full-service open demonstration kitchen, which is featured center stage within their stunning state-of-the-
art tasting hospitality building.
B Cellar’s full time culinary team is spearheaded by the direction and creation of Chef Kuntz. On your visit to the winery expect to be wined and dined small plate style during your two-hour tasting and multi-course pairing with your culinary extravaganza experience. As you can imagine with the detailed prep of the daily cuisine presented to guests, don’t expect to just pop in at the winery, as all tastings are by appointment only. So be sure to call in advance, as the seating is limited.
Chef spends a great deal of time tasting the wines to create specific dishes that go best with each wine offered at the winery during your tasting. Chef has the run of the kitchen and gets to do what he wants with the small bites he creates and plates for the guests. All of these “B Bites” are designed around the available meats and produce from locally sourced purveyors and he only utilizes the freshest ingredients as well as the seasonal bounty grown in the abundant and lush B Cellars gardens.
B Cellars offers a variety of tasting and food pairings and they will even customize your experience with advance notice for larger groups. The tastings range from a lighter paring “The Sojourn,” which starts around $45 for sixty minutes with a selection of wines from their Flagship Portfolio paired with locally sourced
cheeses and chocolates.
They also offer a variety of other options such as the “Oakville Trek” where you will be presented with an introductory food bite and wine pairing before taking an informative tour of the grounds, the cave
and the winery. Then you will head back into the Hospitality House for a culinary pairing of “B-Bites” and their Flagship and Limited Production wines, which will last about 90 minutes in total.
Another option is a private tasting created for the discerning wine collector in mind. The “Heritage Excursion” is hosted in the Beckstoffer room in their impressive wine cave. On warm sunny days, you may want to indulge in the “Chef’s Garden Pairing”, a 2-hour culinary journey at their outdoor garden table. And as a member of their B Society, you will receive a select number of complementary tasting invitations as well as winery events and release tastings.
Here is a delicious sample of the “B Bites” and B Cellars Wines that we had the opportunity explore. Just to get your taste buds going:
• 2014 Blend 23 Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc/Viognier – Cast Iron Shrimp, Pear Salsa and Espellette Butter
• 2014 Maldonado Chardonnay – Winter Flatbread with smoked bacon, Grilled Apple, Parmesan Cream
• 2014 Blend 24 Sangiovese/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon – Portabella Slider with Tomato Jam, Parmesan Cheese on a Brioche Bun
• 2014 Kick Ranch Syrah – Smoked Duck Agnolotto with Pickled Beet Puree and Fava Leaf Pesto
• 2014 Ehrlich Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – Beef Meatball with Cipollini Onion, Candied Garlic and Crispy Kale
B Cellars opened their doors to their Oakville winery location in 2014, envisioning their dream of creating a food centric winery. Partners, Jim Borsack and Duffy Keys were no strangers in wine production in the Napa Valley; they actually launched their B Cellars brand in 2003, operating originally out of their business office in Orange County. Duffy and Jim actually met at a July 4th Barbecue many years ago and realized they both had a similar passion and dream to make wine out of the Napa Valley. It was two years after their happenstance meeting on that warm July afternoon when B Cellars came in to fruition and they haven’t stopped since.
Duffy and Jim are like-minded individuals who share a mutual vision and have successfully succeeded as a dynamic duo with a very hands on approach in the development of their brand. Since their inception, they have spent extensive amounts of time doing their due diligence with numerous trips from their original Orange County headquarters to the Napa Valley in an effort to engage with select growers that have the perfect fruit they seek
for their spectacular award-winning varietals.
Shortly after creating B Cellars, they added a third component to the team, adding Kirk Venge as their winemaker who has been a part of the synergy of their success since the inception. Kirk, son of well-known winemaker Nils Venge, who has also been involved in the development of B Cellars, followed in his fathers foot-steps in the Napa Valley. Kirk was named “one of the 20 Top New Winemakers in the World” by Food and Wine Magazine in 2005.
The winery and hospitality building located in Oakville is spread throughout their gorgeous grounds on a knoll overlooking the valley. The majority of the vineyards used in creating their amazing blends are sourced from over 18 different vineyards around the Napa Valley keeping with their mission to utilize only grapes from the best of the best with the highest quality possible fruit available. “Quality is of the utmost importance in our wines and we are not going to blend anything that doesn’t meet our strict standards.”
Adding to the artistic and wine ambience surrounding B Cellars, you will find nestled throughout the spectacular landscape of the grounds and magnificent buildings a variety of life-sized human sculptures depicting everyday life. Greeting you at the cave entrance will be the working Gardner on his knees planting flowers or the man relaxing on the grass as just as you enter the hospitality building. You will find these charming animated sculptures created by artist Seward Johnson, welcoming you throughout your walk around the impressive grounds. Another perfect addition to your amazing experience. Your visit to B Cellars will surely be an impressive and memorable journey and delicious too!!!
Article by Dynie Sanderson – Napa Valley Life Magazine
Photos Courtesy of B Cellars Vineyard & Winery