"When he’s not running the legendary Sub-Zero Group Inc. the 75-year-old family-owned company founded by his grandfather based in Madison, Wisconsin, Jim Bakke loves nothing more than to combine two of his great interests: travel and wine. So it is not too much of a surprise that Napa Valley, California is on the top of Bakke’s bucket list for travel in 2021—-as soon as things safely open post-pandemic.
“Napa Valley is a beautiful part of the world,” explains Bakke chief executive of Sub-Zero since 1992 and the third-generation of his family to run the storied brand that includes Sub-Zero, Wolf and Cove brands of refrigeration, cooking and dishwashing systems respectively. “The people are warm and friendly and as you drive around and gaze at the wineries, you can tell it is a special place.”
"Travel down a beautiful, gently curved alleé surrounded by more than 100 Autumn Gold ginkgo trees to reach the beautiful Far Niente winery. Here, you will see stunning views of the Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards of western Oakville. Established in 1885 by John Benson, a forty-niner of the California gold rush, Far Niente is known for its Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
"Far Niente winery is surrounded by 13 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and is among the most stunning landscapes in the Napa Valley. The highlight of the gardens are the thousands of southern azaleas that bloom every spring, carpeting the estate in brilliant hues of bright red and deep pink. It is said to be the largest single planting of this particular variety of azalea in California, and possibly throughout all of the west coast. At the height of bloom, colorful patches of azaleas are visible from a mile away on Highway 29.
"Visitors to Far Niente are able to tour its beautifully cultivated gardens, sprawling vineyards and historic wine caves. Guests are also able to enjoy a seated private tasting of its world-renowned Napa Valley wines. A 60 or 90-minute experience costs $80 or $95 per person respectively (complimentary for wine club members).
"In accordance with local guidelines, Far Niente is temporarily closed for tastings, but normally, the winery is open for tours and tastings to the public, by appointment, each day from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. In addition to a guided tour and tasting, the winery also offers two private tasting experiences. Tours include a walk through of the historic tri-level winery, which is built into the surrounding hillside as well as a portion of the 40,000 square-foot Far Niente wine aging caves, which were the first modern wine caves built in North America when excavation began in 1980. Every tasting ends with a taste of Dolce, the sumptuous, late harvest wine produced by Far Niente’s sister winery, also called Dolce."