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Wise Villa Winery - A Good Stop Near Sacramento

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I entered Wise Villa Winery with slight curiosity and a somewhat cynical attitude. To me, wine had always been like that charming and popular guy in high school whom I couldn't bring myself to appreciate, despite seeing a whole horde of girls helplessly lusting over him. If a friend served wine to me at a party, I would gratefully drink it. But if it was totally my call, wine wouldn't be my first choice. The main reason I accompanied my friend, Danny, to Wise Villa Winery the other day was because he would like to reunite with his old buddy who happened to work there. And also, I had never been wine tasting before; why not give it a try? My afternoon at the winery turned out to be much more worthwhile than I had expected. I can't say this experience has converted me into a big wine lover, but I do have a bigger appetite for wine now. It didn't equip me with a brand new set of wine-craving tastebuds, yet it gave me a new perspective about the wine industry. I really enjoyed some of their unique wines and even successfully convinced Danny to buy me a bottle of Nocturnal Light, a crisp white wine with a peachy aroma. In fact, I'm sipping it right now as I'm writing. Oh, don't worry; I can responsibly drink and write at the same time. There won't be any mispellings or senselessly rambling paragraphs.

The Vineyards


Wise Villa Winery is located in the Sierra Foothills, just about a 30-minute drive from Sacramento. Family owned and managed, it is nestled among 14 acres of vineyards that bear a total of 11 grape varieties. It was amazing to learn how much calculating and planning winemakers need to do before they plant their grapes. This hilly piece of land has as many microclimates as Sybil has personalities, and vines are a very finicky plant. If not cultivated in the right soil and perfect microclimate, they won't yield flavorful grapes. And without good grapes, there won't be good wines. This whole thing is like "wine feng shui" in a way; it's all about locations and being meticulous.

The Winery and the Tasting Room


Once we arrived at the winery, we were warmly greeted by Kevin, Danny's old friend who is the Associate Winemaker & General Manager. As I understand, his main responsibilities are to oversee the day-to-day winemaking operation, manage the wine club and supervise the tasting room staff. He doesn't normally present the wines himself, but that day we were fortunate enough to have him pour the wines for us.

Kevin told us he had been cultivating his viticultural knowledge from many wineries, including ones in New Zealand and Argentina. Then he modestly added, "Oh, I know it probably doesn't sound very good to have worked in too many places within just a few years." Yeah right, I thought. No one would ever accuse him of being a "winery slut!" He had traveled across the globe, learned from some of the best winemakers and made friends in various continents. I can't believe he found an excuse to humble that down. Nobody I know can brag so unpretentiously the way he did.


Having helped make all the wines, he gave us lots of interesting details about each wine's production process. It actually involved much more craftsmanship than I had imagined. At Wise Villa Winery, they harvest only about 3 tons of grapes per acre in contrast to many other places that crop up to 20 tons on the same scale. They'd rather produce fewer crops with intense flavors than a huge bunch of mediocre grapes. Although the stories of winemaking didn't fully register in my little brain, the look on Kevin's face when he described his wines was quite familiar to me. It was the same look I had seen on many writers, chefs and artists when they talked about their beloved novels, signature recipes and precious creations.

We also had a chance to briefly speak to Dr. Grover Lee, the owner and chief winemaker. Well, I guess it was more like a quick self-introduction, followed by a short episode of eavesdropping. Dr. Lee handed Kevin a glass of new wine, and they exchanged some serious thoughts about it. I was just listening to their conversation and quietly admiring their expertise. These guys are like mad scientists. They're very creative and passionate about their wines, and not afraid to try something a little unorthodox. Obviously, they treat winemaking a bit more like an art project than a business. I could taste passion in the wines and smell venturesomeness in the aromas.


My Favorite Wines at Wise Villa Winery

Nocturnal Light (Torrontes) - This white wine is made from Torrontes grapes, which are rare in the U.S. Its flavor is pretty light and also quite acidic, but not overwhelmingly so. Plus, I love its warm citrusy aroma a lot.

Syrah - The Wise Villa's Syrah has won a gold medal at the last State Fair. Very spicy. Very dynamic. And intriguingly complex. If it was a person, it would be an emotional genius with a twisted personality that people can't easily comprehend. Luckily, it's just a wine, and we don't need to try to make sense of it. Just drink it and enjoy.

Wisdom of Wise (WOW) - The WOW is a Bordeaux-style blend with a mellow and sophisticated taste. It's probably about as complex as the Syrah, but tastes much "cleaner" and smells slightly sweeter.

What Else Do They Have?

Food - Well, there was actually no food when we were there, BUT as I heard, they're going to add a dining area to the wine tasting room very soon. I'm sure it will be great and go perfectly with the wines.

Wine Club - For locals who are looking for fun activities to participate in and learn, I suggest you join the Wise Villa's Wine Club. (I'm contemplating it myself!) You can be a part of the picking parties, harvest celebrations, bottling parties and many exclusive barrel tastings. It's a great way to support California wines, not with your money but your labor.

Special Events - The winery either hosts or joins in local special events basically every month. This coming weekend, for example, they're having an event called "I Love Lucy Grape Stomp." There will be lots of wines, food, music and of course, barefooted ladies stomping grapes. I wonder whether they would do the Lucy's "WAAAAAAAAH" also.

Map and Directions


Om Paramapoonya (author) on October 08, 2011:

@Maren and Bail Up - Thanks both of you for the read and kind comments. =D

Bail Up! on October 07, 2011:

Like you in younger years I was no fan of wine. As I got older and tastebuds matured I learned to enjoy a nice glass of wine now and then. Your writing style I rate up! The vineyards, and wine making process is very interesting, thanks for the write up.

Maren Elizabeth Morgan from Pennsylvania on October 06, 2011:

I enjoy your writing style. Voted up.

Om Paramapoonya (author) on October 05, 2011:

@J.S. Matthew - Of course, I'll tell you. There's no big secret. I just used Photoshop. That's all. :)

@Denise Handlon - Thanks, Denise. I'm planning to go wine tasting in Napa Valley next summer. After my first wine tasting trip, I guess I have become attracted to "the popular guy" a little bit. LOL

@DzyMsLizzy - Hi, Ms. Lizzy. Thanks so much for stopping by. It actually took me a while to come up with that description of the Syrah. hehehe :)

@Manthy - Thanks a lot for the read and the vote! :)

Om Paramapoonya (author) on October 05, 2011:

@Arlynne - Yes, passion is very important. It helps us succeed and makes life more meaningful. I'm really glad you enjoyed this hub. :)

@marellen - Hey, thanks for dropping by. If you like wine, I'm sure you'll have a great time at Wise Villa. :)

@applecsmith - Thank you so much for the read and kind comment. :)

Mark from Alabama,USA on October 04, 2011:

Kudos on winning the hub of the day - I enjoyed reading this nugget.

Voted up and awesome

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on October 04, 2011:

Congratulations on making Hub of the Day!

Great job, well-described wines. I love your characterization of the Syrah--very cleverly put.

While I am no wine connoiseur in any professional sense, I do enjoy a nice glass now and then. I'm bookmarking this hub for a future wine tasting tour!

Voted up!

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on October 04, 2011:

Om-this is one of the things I enjoy about Hubpages-any event has the potential to become a Hub of interest for the Hub community.

I lived in CA far too short of a time in my opinion. While there I did the wine tour in Napa Valley with an old High School friend. Like you, I found it an interesting and pleasant experience.

My daughter grows grapes in Michigan and has successfully bottled a batch of wine. My favorite right now is a pinot grigio (not sure of the spelling) that is a pear flavor-light, refreshing and thirst quenching.

Congrats on your 'Hub of the Day'. BTW-I loved the opening paragraph and comparison to the 'popular guy' LOL That's brilliant.

JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on October 04, 2011:

Congratulations on being selected for the Hub of the Day! What an awesome Hub! I love the pictures! Could you tell me how you did that? I hope you do tell! Great job. Voting up and sharing!


Carrie Smith from Dallas, Texas on October 04, 2011:

Congratulations on being the Hub of the Day! Your description and photos are great. Thanks so much for sharing.

marellen on October 04, 2011:

Wine tasting can be a fun excursion for the day. Thanks Om, for sharing this information. I will have to give this winery a try, since its in my neck of the woods.

Om Paramapoonya (author) on September 30, 2011:

Good morning, Audrey. Thanks so much for the read. Don't forget to call me whenever you come to Sac.

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on September 30, 2011:

As always, Om, well done and beautifully put together. I love your pictures and feel like I just got the grand tour. I'm a Syrah gal myself and would love to visit - will have to put it on my to visit list~

Om Paramapoonya (author) on September 28, 2011:

Yes, you should absolutely go there! It's totally worth a visit. =D

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on September 28, 2011:

What a charming place this is! I'll have to visit Wise Villa next time I'm in the area!

Om Paramapoonya (author) on September 27, 2011:

@prasetio - hmmmm....I thought I looked obviously like a girl in that photo and yet you still call me "brother"! LOL

@Always Optimist - Thanks so much for your kind words.

Always Optimist from India on September 26, 2011:

hi om very nicely written blog. It is such a wonderful talent that if you visit any place, you can bring out so much from it..keep it up

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on September 25, 2011:

Wow...this was a beautiful place to visit. There are many great activities we can do here. I love your review and I believe that you enjoy this tour. Well done, brother. Vote up!


Om Paramapoonya (author) on September 24, 2011:

Yay!!! Glad you like this article!!! I'll stop by at the winery sometime next month!!! (I'm much better at using exclamation marks.) LOL

KevinLutherWinemaker on September 24, 2011:

This was a wonderful article! Thanks for coming by, Om! I'm glad I was nice that day, little did I know Danny's friend was an amazing writer with a large following! Lucky me! Everyone else, hope to see you soon at the winery! I am always happy to pour when good folks come by! That was a lot of exclamation marks for one paragraph!

Om Paramapoonya (author) on September 22, 2011:

@Movie Master - Yes, he's very passionate about what he does and seems to really excel at it. I actually envy him a little.

@DDS - Ah, your father was absolutely right!

@randomcreative - Hey! Glad you enjoyed this. Now you have another fun thing to add to your to-do list. :)

@Susie - Thanks a lot. I'm actually very far from being a wine expert. I just know what I like. :)

@tipogue - Yep, it was fun indeed. Thanks for dropping by. :)

Tammy from USA on September 22, 2011:

This sounds like an enchanting place to visit in my travels. I will have to add it to my bucket list. Thanks for the tour! I have never been to a winery. It sounds like fun.

SusieQ42 on September 22, 2011:

I love white wine with a fruity flavor too. Very nice hub! Excellent description of various wines. I've never been to a winery, but finally got my chance tonight. Thank you for the tour.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 22, 2011:

I did my first brewery tour this past summer, but I have yet to do a winery tour. It looks like a neat experience.

David Sproull from Toronto on September 22, 2011:

Great article! My father was a wine consultant when he was alive, and he always said the best wine is the one you enjoy. :-)

Movie Master from United Kingdom on September 22, 2011:

I have so enjoyed joining you on your visit to Wise Villa Winery, the tour was very informative and Kevin is obviously very commited to his work!

Many thanks for sharing, cheers!

Om Paramapoonya (author) on September 22, 2011:

hehehe Thanks for the read and comment, Ms. Yik! :)

You know who am i, heehehe on September 22, 2011:

Hey, dude, a glass of Nocturnal please!

Wanna try some :)

Nice write, wanna get mao tonight loei hehehe


Om Paramapoonya (author) on September 22, 2011:

That's great! You won't be disappointed. :)

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on September 22, 2011:

Wow! what a delightful hub! You certainly have inspired me to visit next time I go to Sac on I80. Thank you!

Om Paramapoonya (author) on September 22, 2011:

@Peggy - haha...can I? Well, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. California wines are great, and I like to support local businesses and food artisans. :)

@venzkhvam - Thanks! I didn't get to taste his new wine, though. Kevin did. :)

@anglnwu - Of course. Come to Sac and I'll take you there. :)

anglnwu on September 21, 2011:

Thanks for the nice tour with such stunning pictures. Way to turn a friendly visit with your friend into an educational hub. Next time, take me with you...please?!! Voted up.

VENZKHVAM from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers on September 21, 2011:

Winery's is comes in my top ten interesting business ventures and always dont leave any thing available to read.

Since this is your own experience that has made it more interesting.And you are very lucky to drink the new wine from Dr. Grover Lee, the owner and chief winemaker.

I am book marking this hub for future referral

I have pleasure in voting this up and useful

With Warm Regards

Dinesh Nair

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2011:

Loved reading this about Wise Villa Winery. You had a great introduction through your friend who knew the assistant wine maker. Yes...you surely CAN write and drink from the nectar of the gods at the same time!

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