Napa Valley Wine Tours: Robert Biale Vineyards

Mar. 5, 2018 | by Jim Beazley

I’d like some zucchini, prunes, walnuts and a black chicken!

Robert Biale At Robert Biale Vineyards this is so much more than just a Black Chicken. He is a legend.

When the founder’s son, Aldo Biale, was running his family’s Napa Valley farm in 1942 he and his mama sold mostly vegetables, walnuts and eggs. But they also had “heritage vineyards of Zinfandel” and made what became a very popular wine.

Since the Biale’s phone was on a “party line” and because wine production then, as now was highly regulated, Aldo cleverly developed a code name for his much in demand Zinfandel, “black chicken.”

Soon orders for two dozen eggs, some zucchini, prunes, walnuts included a “black chicken,” AKA, jug of Aldo’s homemade Zin.

Fast forward a life time of 70 plus years and you can still get some of this legendary juice at a sweet little family vineyard just north of the Beazley House on Big Ranch Road. Founded by son Robert Biale in 1991, his vineyards produce what has become a reference point Zinfandel among wine writers, sommeliers, and Zinfandel lovers all asking for that Black Chicken!

Pat Jeffries is the tasting room manager at Biale and he hosted us recently. Biale is located just an easy 10 minutes from the Beazley House. The winery is surrounded by valley-floor vineyards up to their dormant stalks with lush, yellow mustard with a back drop of the Vaca Mountains.

Private, by appointment tastings are staged throughout the small property. There is no wine bar, but instead “visitor experiences”: “Valley Vista” looks out on estate vineyards, a cushy outdoor couch shares the scene with tall barstool tables.

This is Biale at its most relaxed with a generous tasting for $30 per person hosted by an affable wine educator guiding your through the fine points of appreciating world class Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Biale’s rare blends.

The Founders Tour, for up to 8 guests ($50 each) is available once a week, Friday mornings at 10 a.m. and offers a “deep dive” into all things Biale, including wine directly from the barrel of a future wine and a taste through currently released wines.

The “Zinner Sanctum” is for those looking to taste and purchase rare wines cellared all around you in a hidden library in the barrel room. There will be a comparative tasting of current wines matched with past vintages. This is offered daily at 10 am and 1 pm for $60 per taster.

“The Aldo’s House experience” is a genuine visit in a rural Napa family home. This secluded venue on the Biale winery property affords guests the chance to be immersed in the bygone days. You’ll gather to leisurely taste a selection of current vintages paired with a selected artisan cheeses. Surrounded by stories and memories of the Biale family you’ll learn about their many Napa Valley vineyards and literally “taste the fruit” of their labors. This unique experience is offered daily at 10 am and 1 pm for $75 per person.

Views at Biale

Visit Biale Vineyards ONLINE. Or stay with us and see the vineyards up close and personal.

All of these extraordinary wine experiences require advanced reservations which your Innkeeper can arrange prior to, or during your stay at the Beazley House.

–JB