If Quality, Variety and A Proven Track Record are Your Thing…
Navarro Vineyard’s “Pre Release Tasting Program” is highly recommended.
Overall Rating 4.75 stars.
Rated 5 out of 5 in 4 of 5 main categories
Navarro could well be the granddaddy of all wine clubs. Still family owned and operated by Deborah Cahn and Ted Bennett, Navarro has been selling direct through its mailing list since 1974.
Over such a long run, the winery fine tuned the wine club program and in many ways wrote the book on how to make it work.
And, most important, these guys how to keep members’ loyalty over the years.
Almost all wines are sold direct from the winery, and with rare exception, they are not sold in wine stores. So the exclusive angle is strong.
First, the staff, many of whom have been there for many years, is extremely knowledgeable and attentive. They have first hand information about the winemaking and get involved in the evaluation and marketing of all wines.
Members are offered all wines before non members can buy them. This is a big plus.
Normally wines are pre-released in the Spring and in the Fall. Members are notified about new wines by mail or email, and either way, the information is cleverly presented in a personal, no baloney prose style.
Memberships remain active by purchasing a case a year. The choice is yours, but the winery also offers special case samplers around a theme like “Springtime Whites” or “Hearty Reds.” Typically, six different case samplers are offered.
Without question, the wines are of high quality as evidenced by the inordinate numbers of medals won each year. I’ve judged their wines on several occasions and they almost always steal the show.
The flagship wine is the high end Pinot Noir, “Methode a l’Ancienne.” closely followed by the Barrel Fermented Chardonnay.
But if you have never liked a Gewurztraminer or a dry Riesling, you owe it to yourself to try Navarro’s, each the best of the breed. My favorite is the Sauvignon Blanc.
But there are wide choices for members as the winery normally bottles 20 or so wines per year. There are 3 different Chardonnays and 3 Pinot Noirs as a rule.
And there is always something new going on…a new varietal to the roster, a new vineyard source, or a new technique.
Some wines are offered in half bottles and a few magnums are available.
Prices: range from $16 to $50 a bottle. There normally are 3 or 4 wines priced below $20 a bottle.
Discounts range from 20% to 25% for members
Twice a year timed with the Pre-Release events, the winery offers 1 cent shipping on each full case.
Special Events and Member Perks
Located in the remote town of Philo, the winery makes its facility open to members. Two Pre-Release events are held each year.
The picnic area is tranquil and lovely. Non alcoholic grape juice is available for kids to sample.
The family also owns the successful Pennyroyal cheese company, so often a selection of cheeses is available.
Pinot Blanc, new to the roster and far better than any Chardonnay below $20. A super everyday white!
The Anderson Valley Pinot Noir at $22 a bottle is a fantastic red wine deal.
When to buy. Wait for the window of one cent shipping and stock up.
When not to visit. Late afternoon on any Friday when tourists heading to the Mendocino Coast clog the tasting room and slam down the samples.
The Happy Family Ted Bennett and Deborah Cahn
Aaron and Sarah Cahn Bennett
Address: 5601 CA-128, Philo, CA 95466, USA
Hours: · 8AM–6PM
Phone: +1 800-537-9463