Kelley Bailey and her husband Jim have been staunch advocates of Meals on Wheels SF for many years and we are thrilled to see their winery thrive and grow. We recently spoke to Kelley and learned from her that despite Covid-19, the Knights Bridge Team has an optimistic and excited outlook for the future.
Founded in 2006 by brothers Jim and Essel Bailey and friend Tom Costin, Knights Bridge Winery is well known for its elegant, small-lot Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon with fruit from the Knights Valley estate vineyard. Nestled on the pristine, undeveloped west side of the valley, the organically farmed vineyard rises to 900 feet in elevation on the rocky slopes of the Mayacamas mountain range, at the perfect intersection of climate and location. Guided by a deep respect for nature, the Knights Bridge team seeks to make wines of energy and purpose that are unmistakable expressions of their estate terroir.
Firstly, and this may be worthy of a drum roll, after eight years of thoughtful planning, the new Knights Bridge Winery is nearly done. Completion is expected mid-2021, making Knights Bridge Winery only the second ever built in the valley, after Peter Michael in 1989. The new winery will include extensive caves as well as panoramic vistas of Knights Valley and Mount St. Helena. When complete, it will truly be an exceptional hospitality experience for guests. One of the many unique features is a tunnel that will go through the hillside into one of the winery’s Cabernet blocks. When visitors emerge from the tunnel, they will be in the middle of the vineyard. They will enjoy the views from a place that would otherwise be inaccessible or would at least require some seriously athletic hiking up a steep hillside vineyard!
The past week has been a challenging time for wine county as lightning strikes started fires across several wine regions, although none in Knights Valley. As in 2017 and 2019, the Knights Bridge estate has fortunately been unaffected. The vineyard has undergone veraison and the vineyard team is preparing for harvest—in fact, they have just started picking Sauvignon Blanc. Director of Winemaking Douglas Danielak believes that the fruit mirrors some of the better vintages of the past 20 years, and although the 2020 harvest will be challenging, he has high aspirations and is feeling positive.
This year, in lieu of an in-person event, their annual Fall Release will be held virtually on September 26 at 2pm. The event will feature a full agenda, including updates on winery construction, vineyard information, wine tasting, and Knights Bridge owners and winemaking team will participate in a lively Q&A.
Fall Release Webinar: After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about how to join the webinar.
With the addition of a new sidewalk patio, Knights Bridge has been welcoming guests by appointment to their downtown Calistoga tasting room and offering picnic experiences on the grounds of the historic Brannon Cottage Inn. They have also expanded tastings to include exclusive, private experiences hosted at Solage, an Auberge Resort. Guests enjoy Knights Bridge wines with an exquisite four-course wine and food pairing in the shaded courtyard of the Michelin-starred Solbar, located at Solage in Calistoga. Each wine selection is expertly paired with dishes created from seasonal, farm-fresh Napa Valley ingredients.
When you book a Wine and Food Experience at Solbar, mention Meals on Wheels San Francisco and receive an additional complimentary course featuring Knights Bridge Fairview Sauvignon Blanc.
For those who are limiting their travel during this time, or simply looking for a way to connect with friends and family, Knights Bridge is offering virtual tastings, hosted by Private Client Manager Kenji Yoshida. To book your virtual tour contact Kenji Yoshida at email@example.com or 707- 812-4487.
Kelley finished our conversation by sharing with us that despite the many challenges this year has brought, there is much to be grateful for. While the pandemic and fires have been heart-wrenching, it has also been inspiring to see the community come together in support of each other and of the brave first-responders. Essel and his wife Menakka, Jim and Kelley have also had the opportunity to shelter employees and colleagues displaced by evacuations in the safe haven of Knights Valley.
Wine has a way of connecting us, even when that connection is in a moment of adversity, or over Zoom! She and Jim take it one day at a time, knowing that this too will pass, and they look forward to welcoming guests in Knights Valley soon and sharing many more vintages together in the years to come.
Donations to the Star Chefs and Vintners Fund-A-Route Pledge Drive of $2,500 or more will receive a Virtual Wine Tasting Sampler courtesy of Knights Bridge Winery.
Knights Bridge Winery has curated an elegant tasting of Knights Bridge wines that represent the character and personality of their Knights Valley Estate. The Virtual Tasting Sampler featured on the October 11 Live Broadcast, includes one bottle of their 2018 KB Estate Sauvignon Blanc, a half bottle of 2015 Pont De Chevalier Chardonnay, and a half bottle of 2015 Knights Bridge Cabernet from Knights Valley.
You can also purchase a Virtual Tasting Kit for $95 directly from Knights Bridge Winery online or by calling or emailing Kenji Yoshida at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (707) 812-4487. A portion of the proceeds will benefit MOWSF!
* Limited to residents of California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho as well as the metropolitan areas of Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. Must be at least 21 years of age to participate, proof of age required.