The World of Fine Wine : "All in His Own Time"
"On my first trip to Robert Foley Vineyards, I got lost. In my defense, that’s an easy thing to do—Foley’s place perches near the relatively remote, Seventh Day Adventist-dominated (and alcoholically dry) town of Angwin, which in turn snuggles up to the backside of Howell Mountain in northeastern Napa. In some ways, the location is ideal, sufficiently far from the hustle of Napa Valley yet close enough to drive in for dinner. It’s also an absolutely fabulous area for Cabernet Sauvignon, where neighbors include Dunn Vineyards, Ladera Winery, Neal Family Vineyards, and Clark-Claudon Vineyards.
Howell Mountain is, however, quite hilly and meandering, with squiggly roads and scrubby forest vying for space with ordered rows of grapevines. For guidance, I had just a few notes jotted on the back of a used envelope and a GPS. But the road seemed to make a lot of extra turns, and my GPS faded in and out. By the time I found the gated entry, I was almost an hour late, as well as hungry, thirsty, and nearly incontinent.
There are several buildings on site, and of course the office was the last one I tried. I pushed through the door and skidded to a stop in the entrance. Catching my breath, I peered into the room beyond and saw the maverick Napa Valley winemaker sitting on the far side of a long, darkly finished oak table. He was surrounded by workers and interns, all of them tucking into a communal plate of sandwiches prepared by the local mega-mart.
Foley looked up at me, pointed to my right, and shouted, “Bathroom’s down the hall!” Upon my return, he gave me a bottle of water and a turkey sandwich. “Dig in!” he enthused. “Plenty for all.” It wasn’t a great sandwich, but then, he really didn’t need to feed me at all.