Camp Schramsberg – A Champagne Lover’s Dream Come True
Those of us who love to drink our bubbles—or as Dom Perignon said, we "are drinking stars”---are not only happy, but thrilled to tour producers of sparkling wine.
And there are a number of sparking wine producers to visit in Napa County. But the possibility of actually participating in the process of making sparkling wine is something we only dream about, right? Add to that, the fantasy of having the premier sparkling producers as your personal coaches. Well, Camp Schramsberg, has made your dreams come true!
Twice a year, Fall and Spring, the folks at Schramsber offer a lucky few guests the unique opportunity to spend three intensive days and evenings exploring all the facets of making and consuming the most prestigious sparkling wine of Napa Valley.
By the way, this same brand, Schramsberg, was selected to seal the deal on the opening of US-China relations under President Nixon and Schramsberg has been served at numerous important state dinners for dignitaries and royalty under every US president since.
During the Fall Harvest Session in September, your adventure begins with a reception and dinner al fresco in the vineyard grove to introduce you to your fellow guests and the sparkling wines you will be studying.
After an early morning breakfast and an information session on viticultural practices, it’s off to the vineyard for harvesting, where you will pick grapes by hand---cluster by precious cluster--- and, follow those very same grapes through the vinefication process.
That process includes de-stemming, crushing, and primary alcoholic fermentation, just for starters. Then, after sampling some of the base wines that go into the secondary fermentation process (that is part of the sparkling wine protocol), it’s on to a gourmet lunch with plenty of paired bubbly.
And, afterwards, you participate in a series of carefully crafted workshops, which highlight important aspects of sparkling wine tasting and food pairing.
Double-qualified Chef/Enologist Holly Peterson will guide you through the principles of component tasting to learn how to pair food and sparkling wine to its advantage.
Throughout camp Owner Hugh Davies, Winemakers Keith Hock and Sean Thompson, and Schramsberg’s knowledgeable team will coach you on your journey of experiential knowledge and understanding about the fascinating process of making sparkling wine.
The next day after breakfast, you will experience a vertical tasting of the base and sparkling wines on through the finished product. You’ll tour the famous Schramsberg Caves, observe a master riddler, and try your own hand at this turn- of the-bottle process called “riddling.”
You will then disgorge, blend, cork and label YOUR OWN cuvee of sparkling wine to take home!
Lunch includes another food and wine pairing lesson, and then you’ll be part of a team that will prepare a prize-winning food and wine pairing menu.
Before graduation, you’ll learn “sabering” or how to open a sparkling wine bottle with a saber, an historic, time honored ritual started by Napoleon to celebrate his victories!
And after this intense immersion into the world of sparkling wines a la Schramsberg, you too will feel victorious!
As with any great camp experience, you’ll leave with new friends, new skills, and a profound appreciation for the technique, the mystery and the magic of truly great sparkling wine--- made in the classic methode champenoise tradition.
Most of all, you’ll have your memories of a once –in-a-life-time learning adventure and your personally blended bottle of bubbly to share with friends back home.
Dreams can come true!
Postscript: Since the famed Meadowood Resort is the host property for meals and activities of Camp Schramsberg, many participants choose to book their stay there at this property and also at other hotels and resorts in the Napa area.