Napa’s Liquid Gold
California has always had a connection to gold. The Gold Rush was sparked by the discovery of gold nuggets in the Sacramento Valley in the late 1840s and was one of the most significant events to shape American history. Napa, too, was affected by the Gold Rush. The city was laid out by Nathan Coombs in 1848 and grew tremendously through the gold rush era. Drawing on that legacy, Napa de Oro, or Golden Napa, was born.In 2019, two lifelong friends who shared a passion for wine and excellence pursued their dream to make wine in Napa Valley. Abe Marapao, an attorney based in Los Angeles, and Noe Taojo (known as Butch among friends) teamed up with Napa’s hotshot winemaker Rudy Zuidema to create their own brand. Napa de Oro (Spanish for gold) was named with the hope of becoming a lasting, internationally respected producer of quality wines, similar to gold, which is useful forever and never dulls. True to their heritage, their patented logo, which features a golden sun surrounded by three stars, was inspired by the Philippine flag.
Zuidema uses a natural, respectful, and non-manipulative approach to winemaking, resulting in wines that tell their individual and unique stories. Having worked with many exceptional vineyards throughout the Napa Valley region, including AVAs of Howell Mountain, Coombsville, Rutherford, Mount George, Carneros, and St. Helena, Zuidema believes wine should represent its region, vineyard, and year of origin. Napa de Oro wines, produced from their vineyard in Coombsville, illustrate his technique and stand out for their fragrant aroma, sophistication, elegance, balance, complexity, and beauty.
Napa de Oro currently produces eight varietals of wine: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé, Grenache, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and its sister varietal, Caroline’s Red Blend, named after Butch’s wife. A reserve Cabernet, the Au79 was named after the atomic number and symbol of gold on the periodic table of elements, from the Latin word aurum meaning shining dawn. The bottles are already drawing rave reviews. Napa de Oro’s Chardonnay was recently awarded the “Double Gold Award” and named “Best in Class” at the 2021 OC Fair Commercial Wine Competition.
Napa de Oro is establishing its rightful place in the Napa region and recently acquired the historic Tudal Winery in St. Helena, which gained prominence when President Ronald Reagan served their wine at the White House. The new winery location and soon-to-open wine tasting room will put this unique boutique winery in the center of the map of Napa Valley. It is all part of Napa de Oro’s big plan to make their portfolio accessible to wine lovers everywhere, and in going for the gold, around the world.
To become a Napa de Oro insider, the Karat Wine Club features two types of membership: the 14K and the 24K. Member benefits include decreased prices on shipments, invitations to Karat Club events, access to large format bottles, and two annual private tastings for up to six people at the estate vineyard house.
Story By: Katie Sweeney // Photos By: Dean Patrocinio
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