Naggiar Vineyards: The road less traveled
UNFORGETTABLE BEST DESCRIBES a visit to Naggiar Vineyards, the foothills’ premier destination winery. Owners Mike and Diane Naggiar have created an ideal wine country experience—from fine wine to delicious food to inspiring live music on weekends.
“People love the idea of wine, food and music,” says Mike, who along with Diane opened the winery on a 135-acre estate in the rolling hills of western Nevada County eight years ago.
This spring, Naggiar kicks off its biggest season yet, starting with a wine release party on May 7. A Friday and Saturday summer series with wine, “petit plates” and music, runs through October 1. Summer barbecues, ranging from grilled Tri-tip to a festive pig roast, are also planned.
Planted with 60 acres of vineyards—with grapes ranging from Cabernet Franc to Viognier—Naggiar is the foothills’ largest family- run winery. Its Italian villa-in- spired tasting room is iconic, providing sweeping views.
Naggiar’s estate-grown wines are sold at the winery and in area restaurants, such as Monkey Cat and Latitudes in Auburn, and Kane’s and Villa Venezia in Grass Valley. Its winemaker dinners, from charming B&Bs in Nevada City to Il Fornaio in Roseville, are legendary.
Undaunted by the economic slowdown, Naggiar soon will increase its already eclectic selection with more blended wines.
Some of its wines are selling out.
One of the most memorable parts of a visit to Naggiar is the journey itself. This road less traveled—west of Hwy. 49 between Auburn and Grass Valley—is surrounded by picturesque hillsides, studded with oak trees and fields of wildflowers. Coveys of quail are visible along the rural lane.
There’s an eccentric touch too—a roaming herd of buffalo as you approach the winery. At the end of your scenic drive, the vineyards and winery appear in an expansive valley. The site provides for warm days with cooling afternoon breezes, ideal for growing top-quality grapes.
Naggiar’s 3,600 square-foot tasting room—with a patio, dining room and commercial kitchen—faces a lush lawn, leading down to a tranquil pond. Tables and chairs are set up outdoors for guests to bask in the sun.
The Naggiar family members are gracious hosts. Mike and Diane decided to turn their passion for a small Bay Area vineyard into a full time business, and some family members have joined them.
The family, now three generations strong, is onsite to welcome visitors and answer questions. The winemaker is Derek Irwin, an experienced graduate from UC Davis’ school of viticulture and enology.
Naggiar has about 16 wines but is adding more, including a rose and some red and white blends (one of them called Mamma Mia). “We grow 17 different varieties of grapes and are taking advantage of it,” says Naggiar.
18125 Rosemary Ln, Grass Valley
Wine Release Party
Sat., May 7, 12-4pm Live Music featuring The Nevada County Regulators, complimentary wine tasting, small plates. Evening venue 6-9pm featuring The Double
Shots, an acoustic guitar duo.
The Beach Boys Tribute
Sat., June 18
First of the Tribute Series.
Located between Grass Valley and Auburn
Take Hwy. 49 north to Grass Valley for 10 miles
Turn lefton Wolf Rd. (traffic light) Travel 3.2 miles on Wolf Rd. to stop sign.
Turn lefton Garden Bar. Go 3.2 miles on Garden Bar.
Turn righton Rosemary Ln. Travel about one mile, stay-
ing left at the “Y” in the road
(Photo credits: Dan Senkbeil)