The truth is, wide-open spaces and panoramic vistas have a great deal more appeal than highways and traffic jams. To imagine the look of Northern California’s wine country when wine country was young, head just over the hill from St. Helena to picturesque Pope Valley Winery, established in 1897. It’s situated above Napa Valley on the northern face of Howell Mountain.

At the helm of this winery’s extended multi-generational family, there is a Napa Valley rarity—a talented brother-sister team. Diana Eakle Hawkins, owner/general manager, and David Eakle, owner/vintner, are proud to be supported by Jean Hoefliger, director of winemaking, and Greg Fitzgerald, winemaker. Creative guest experiences are hosted by winery hospitality staff for a unique wine tasting experience that’s only found here at Napa’s Last Frontier.


Veer off the beaten path, take the winding road, get off the valley floor, and discover the “untouched” Napa Valley. Take a step back in time in this beautiful corner known as “Napa’s Last Frontier,” where the peaceful, relaxed vibe is more 19th century than 21st century, and the wine is every bit as delicious as the look and feel of this special place. Have a wander around the 40-acre property, a showcase of early winemaking technology. Built into the hillside, a pre-Prohibition hand-dug cave creates naturally cool temperatures and higher humidity for the barrel room. See the original homestead family house, a wagon shed, and a blacksmith’s workshop with vintage tools and equipment on display. There’s also a barn where the original crush pad in the third floor attic operated and where “Past, Present & Future” Cabernet vertical tastings can be booked under the covered beams.


Relax on the Vineyard Patio for a four-flight tasting accompanied by a charcuterie board. Or spread out lunch, which can be brought in or ordered on-site, on a shaded picnic table for a tasting under a majestic oak tree. Play bocce and cornhole, hike along the trail or stroll among the dry-farmed Zinfandel vines, some of which were planted in the 1940s.

Book the cave and barrel room for a “Bubbles, Barrels & Charcuterie” tasting experience that begins with a glass of limited production 2020 Brut Rosé. Next, the Reserve Sauvignon Blanc is poured while guests learn about the wine’s journey from barrel to bottle. A special treat awaits—tasting two red wines straight from the barrel and paired with dark chocolate.


What’s being poured is special, too. Try the wines and take home a selection of best in class, gold, double gold, and even triple gold medal winners among Pope Valley Winery bottles of Cabernet, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, and Merlot. Drink Pink Vino is a gold award winner, and aromatic Sauvignon Blanc is widely considered the best grape in Popes Valley.

Tasting experiences may be booked seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Story By: Laurie Jo Miller Farr