On a beautiful fall day in the Bay Area, there are not many better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon than a quick trip to California wine country. My boyfriend, Michael, and I were invited to visit Ladera Vineyards for wine tasting in St. Helena. We met personally with Managing Partner, Kacey Stotesbery, to enjoy four of their top wines while learning more about both the winery’s history and future plans.
Upon our arrival, Kacey invited us into the winemaker’s den, which offered an intimate setting within the Brasswood Estate in St. Helena. Over the next two hours, Kasey proceeded to explain to us the history of Ladera, and the ways in which their wines have evolved over time. We were lucky enough to hear the Ladera story from Kasey herself, who began her career in the food industry, and acted as a chef for over 10 years.
Kacey and her husband Dan took over control of Ladera back in 2017 when Anne & Pat Stotesbery (Dan’s parents) decided that they wanted to phase out their involvement. During the year prior in 2016, the Stotesery’s sold their hillside property on Howell Mountain, including the winery and vineyards, to the PlumpJack Group. The sale of the Howell Mountain property was a turning point for Ladera as they began reducing production significantly and focusing on producing premium wines. During their peak in 2012, Ladera was producing as many as 25,000 cases a year and have scaled down significantly in the years since to produce ~6,000 cases per year currently. With production more limited than in the past, Kacey and Dan are focused on keeping quality at a premium, and their wines continue to be distributed across the entire country.
During our sit down with Kacey, we tried four different wines from the tasting menu including a 2017 Ladera Sauvignon Blanc, 2015 Malbec, 2015 Ladera Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, and a 2014 Ladera Howell Mountain Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. We paired the wines with a plate of cheese and crackers, which was a great compliment to the red and black fruits present in most of the wines we tasted. As we got deeper into conversation with Kacey, it was apparent how knowledgeable she is about the different blends, and how much passion she and her husband, along with winemaker Jade Barrett, put into each of the Ladera wines. These handcrafted wines are very well balanced so as to not be overly fruity nor earthy, and they can be properly enjoyed whether you want to drink upon release or let them age for many years.
Whether you have a sophisticated wine palate and want to taste some of the Napa regions best Cabernet Sauvignon, or are simply new to wine tasting, Ladera Vineyards Private Experience in north St. Helena is a great starting point and we absolutely recommend a visit.
Insider Tip: After you have finished your Ladera Vineyards wine tasting in St. Helena, be sure to visit the Brasswood Bar + Kitchen and order their homemade mozzarella cheese appetizer. Fresh sliced mozzarella cheese served on warm crostini bread that will literally melt in your mouth! What’s not to like?!
If You Go:
Ladera Vineyards (707) 965-2445
3111 St Helena Hwy
St Helena, California 94574
Ladera Vineyards Wine Tasting in St. Helena written by Kendall C. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Photography courtesy Kendall Brown. Kendall received complimentary wine tasting for review purposes. All views of Ladera Vineyards wine tasting are the opinion of the author.