After a gorgeous drive through the redwoods on a winding country road we arrived at The Hess Collection and realized we had found a hidden gem. Located 20 minutes outside of Napa, The Hess Collection is a special destination where a world class art collection is part of the wine tasting experience. Both are located in historic stone buildings connected by contemporary architecture and are fully accessible.
4411 Redwood Road
Napa, CA 94558
currently available by appointment only
- Hess Collection Contemporary Art Museum open daily without charge 10:00 – 5:30
- complimentary winery tours daily 10:30 – 3:30
tastings 10:00 – 5:00
- Small Bites $35
- Private Tour & Wine Tasting $40
- Tour of the Palate $85
- Tour, Wine & Chocolate Experience $65
After our leisurely country drive we arrived at the vineyards of The Hess Collection. This is a winery located all by itself away from the potentially busy traffic of highway 29, Napa Valley’s main corridor. The drive to get here is a pleasurable part of the day’s itinerary.
The 2 accessible parking spaces were easy to find and close to the main entrance.
It was a short walk/roll to the dramatic entrance tower that grandly stated we had arrived. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the redwoods and nearby Mount Veeder there was a sense of calm and serenity.
The pathways were all paved and a gentle ramp led from the entry tower to the tasting room, banked by the stone-walled fish pond and the meadow garden. This was the main entrance for everyone, so I was not delegated to a separate accessible entrance. It was very welcoming.
Before heading inside we took a few minutes to explore the grounds and enjoy the fish pond and the garden. The garden was unusual, designed to be wild and natural, giving the experience of an alpine meadow. The hard-packed garden pathways allowed me to get up close and personal.
Upon entering the winery building we were greeted by an impressive lobby and Sue Markwood, our Wine Educator. The lobby is a contemporary interior space connecting 2 historic stone buildings, such that the original exterior walls are now the interior walls. The imposing 3 story staircase is counterbalanced by the very modern glass-enclosed elevator as a centerpiece statement to the architecture, making this beautiful structure wheelchair accessible.
Sue started our tour by taking us back outside, past the fish pond and the garden, to the historic Mont LaSalle vineyard with cabernet planted in 1936. So often a tour of a vineyard is not accessible, but here there was a hard-packed decomposed granite path making the vineyard tour wheelchair accessible and inclusive to all. Touring the grounds and the winery covers some territory so be sure to bring the right mobility equipment to go distances.
Next we headed into the old stone building barrel room where an accessible elevated platform overlooked a sea of barrels full of aging wine.
Our next stop was our private wine and food pairing, as we were here for the Tour of the Palate tasting. In the elegant library room our table was ready for us with our own personalized menu. The wines were poured and the food presented. What an incredible experience! Sue sat down with us and leisurely described the wines and the food pairings. They were wonderful. Here’s what we were tasting:
- 2013 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc with prosciutto wrapped white peaches
- 2012 Mount Veeder Chardonnay with pan-seared dayboat scallops
- 2011 Collection Cabernet Sauvignon with grilled black angus skirt steak
Don’t have lunch before you come if you’re doing the Tour of the Palate!
Fortified with a little food and wine it was then time to stroll the art gallery. The gallery space covers 3 floors, all elevator accessible, and we were free to roam at our own pace. The art here is from the private collection of Donald Hess, a collection he began in 1966. The pieces are dramatic and memorable, some whimsical, some thought provoking, all interesting. This is a rare winery experience.
Though our tasting was the private Tour of the Palate, there were other tasting experiences that were public, with the tasting bar in the midst of the art gallery. The lowered bar was reserved for wheelchair accessible tastings.
The accessible Men’s and Women’s restrooms were classy and in keeping with the style and luxury of the rest of the Hess Collection ambiance.
The Hess Collection is an incredible collection. With so many wineries to choose from in the Napa Valley, this experience stands apart. Don’t be in a rush! You’re going to want to be leisurely and enjoy the art and the wine.
- 2 accessible parking spaces
- all entrances wide with flat thresholds
- spacious interiors and ample maneuverability space
- wide exterior paved pathways
- hard-packed decomposed granite paths in garden and historic vineyard
- accessible Men’s and Women’s restrooms
- roll-under sink
- low mirror
- soap, towels, towel disposal reachable from sink
- automatic water faucets
- automatic soap dispenser
- accessible toilet room with back and side grab bars
- roll-under sink
- make an appointment for tastings
- bring the right mobility equipment to go distances