Sterling Vineyards, a northern California winery, recently reopened after three years of closure due to a 2020 grass fire. The winery was left damaged from the fire and subsequently has undergone renovations over the past several years. On October 29, Sterling officially reopened to the public and is now taking reservations.
While many wineries in Napa and Sonoma vie to catch visitors’ attention, Sterling presents a unique experience for wine enthusiasts. The vineyard is known for its soaring gondola that guests embark on to reach the hilltop winery with sweeping views. The gondola cabins are fully ADA-accessible, so everyone can enjoy the views. According to Sterling’s website, the new gondolas are powered entirely by solar energy to minimize environmental impact.
Sterling boasts the title of being the only winery in the world with an aerial tram, and the design of the man building is white stucco, resembling Greek buildings. Sterling sits roughly 2 hours from San Francisco, a slightly farther drive than many popular Napa wineries.
Sterling was founded in 1964 by Peter Newton and was only one of 27 wineries in Napa Valley at the time. The gondola and views are made possible by the 300-foot hill the winery sits on in Calistoga. Newton utilized European wine-making techniques and made a range of wines.
The grass fire that damaged the vineyard and led to its closure started in September 2020 and burned for 23 days. The fire covered over 67,000 acres in Napa and Sonoma counties. Sterling was not the only structure affected, with over 15,000 destroyed and 282 damaged by the fires.
Sterling Vineyards offers several tasting experiences, including sitting on the hilltop terrace, a tour, and a stroll through the winery. Tastings start at $55 per person. Reservations are required for the tastings, and groups of over 15 people must submit an inquiry on Sterling’s website.