A Tasting Room for the Senses

January 28, 2021

by John Komes

It was the early 1990s and Flora Springs had been in business for just over ten years when I decided we needed to have a tasting room on Highway 29.

There wasn’t quite as much tourism in Napa Valley as there is now, and I wanted a place right on the highway where people could easily visit us. I bought a building – an old HVAC shop – just south of the old Dean & DeLuca gourmet grocery (now Gary’s Wine & Marketplace) in St. Helena. I cleaned it up, installed a circular bar, hired an artist to paint some wall murals, and opened up for tastings.

But business was slow. I kept hearing folks say they hadn’t “noticed” the tasting room, even people who stopped at Dean & DeLuca. I decided to do something about it. My wife, Carrie, and I had recently visited Barcelona and seen many of the buildings designed by renowned architect, Antoni Gaudí. I loved the flow and imagination of his structures, the fanciful nature of his designs.

You can guess what happened next.

Wine Tasting in St Helena
Wine Tasting Napa

When I returned to St. Helena I consulted with a local architect, and together we designed a new Tasting Room that echoes, in Gaudí-like fashion, the look and feel of a wine cave set into a mountainside. We used bent plywood to give the structure its curvature and painted the outside to represent geologic striations in the earth.

Inside we created separate tasting areas made to feel like private rooms in a wine cave, and installed a curved tasting bar with a modern bistro vibe. The rooftop, which has magnificent views of mountains and vineyards to the west, feels like a comfortable living room, a place where people can relax and enjoy a glass of wine.

Wine Tasting in Saint Helena

Wine Tasting in Napa

Wine Tasting in Saint Helena

Thanks to my son Nat, our Tasting Room has gotten some upgrades recently, and I’m excited about the improvements. I always wanted it to be a place where people could indulge their sense of sight as well as taste and smell. Most of all, I want the Tasting Room to inspire curiosity and delight, to be the place where people come to learn more about the legacy of Flora Springs.

Now we are thrilled to be reopening for outdoor wine tasting, by appointment. Plan your Napa Valley wine tasting adventure today.

 

Flora Springs Tasting Room
677 S. Saint Helena Highway
Saint Helena, CA 94574
(707) 967-8032

Flora Springs Tasting Room Reopens February 1

January 27, 2021

Wine Tasting in St Helena

We have missed you and can’t wait to welcome you back to our Tasting Room in Napa Valley for wine tasting while enjoying views of flourishing vineyards and the western hillsides. We are now accepting reservations starting February 1.

By Reservation Only

To ensure the health and well-being of our guests and employees daily capacity is limited. For now, Tasting Room reservations are required. Reservations may be made online, or contact us at (866) 967-8032 or theroom@florasprings.com.

Outdoor Seating & Open-Air Tastings

As the safety of our Tasting Room guests and staff is of utmost importance, all tables are placed six feet apart for our outdoor, open-air wine tasting.

Curbside Pickup

We are also pleased to offer safe, touch-less and convenient curbside pick up at the Tasting Room, by reservation.

Plan Your Visit

Learn more about visiting the Flora Springs Tasting Room.

Flora Springs Tasting Room
677 S. Saint Helena Highway
Saint Helena, CA 94574
(707) 967-8032

Now Available! Curbside Pickup at the Tasting Room

April 29, 2020

Tasting Room in St Helena

We are pleased to offer safe, convenient curbside pickup at the Flora Springs tasting room.

How to arrange your pickup:

  • Place your order – info@florasprings.com or call (800) 913-1118. Or, shop online and include a note that the order is for pickup.
  • Schedule a time via our online reservation system. Please be sure to provide your order number in the notes when making your reservation. Allow 24 hours from the time of placing your order.
  • Arrive at your scheduled time, and park in front of the tasting room and call the phone number posted out front. One of our staff members will bring your wine out to your car.
  • Wine Club Members, please contact Madeline Nossiter at 707-967-6724 or madeline@florasprings.com to coordinate shipments or pickup of your wines.

Our staff is onsite 10 am – 4 pm, Monday – Saturday and able to safely and conveniently fulfill your wine order. Please allow at least 24 hours for us to get your order ready for you. Thank you for supporting our small family-owned winery.

During this unusual time our entire Flora Springs family wants you to know that your well-being is our top priority. We are not able to offer wine tastings or other wine experiences right now, but are looking forward to when we can. We can’t wait to see you!

Flora Springs Tasting Room
677 S. Saint Helena Highway
Saint Helena, CA 94574
(707) 967-8032

Flora Springs Featured in Napa Valley Register

April 4, 2019

Note: The article excerpted below was originally published in the Napa Valley Register and can be found here.

Arts in April reception with John Bonick at Flora Springs Winery April 12

Flora Springs will hold an artist reception with John Bonick, from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 12, at The Room in St. Helena.

Arts in April Napa Valley

For this year’s Arts in April installation, Bonick has created “Flora’s Garden” – a series of 8 feet by 3 feet tulips of dibond aluminum adorning the exterior façade of The Room in St. Helena.

He has also created a 10-feet tall wine bottle made entirely of grapevine cuttings from Flora Springs’ estate, a signature piece that Bonick originally developed for BottleRock Napa Valley. Several of his paintings, which have been featured in San Francisco’s Andrea Schwartz Gallery and shown in museums in the Bay Area and beyond, will also be on display.

Flora Springs’ “Arts in April Artful Wine Flight,” featuring the 2017 Dashaway Chardonnay, the just-released 2012 Wine Love Stories Napa Valley Red Blend, and 2016 Ghost Winery Malbec, will be served, along with light appetizers.


See event details.

Making Spirits Bright at The Room

December 2, 2018

Note: The following article was originally and published in The Mercury News and can be found here.

4 spectacular Sonoma and Napa wineries dress up for the holidays

St Helena Tasting Room

Countless wineries offer suggestions and specials on their wares to make the yuletide merry, but there are some that go way beyond the bottle to make spirits bright. These Sonoma and Napa estates and tasting rooms take bedecking and bedazzling to the next level as proof that it’s not just harvest that’s the most wonderful time of the year. Here are are four special spots to explore….

Winery namesake Flora Komes loves the holidays and each year, her grandkids and winery employees go up to her attic for decorations and inspiration. The main estate on Zinfandel Lane is always decorated, but it’s the main tasting room on Highway 29 that gets the full tree and tinsel treatment. A giant wreath and ornaments outside make the already eye-catching modern building even more noticeable. Inside, it’s wall-to-wall trees, wreaths and garlands.

They even bottle up their contagious Christmas cheer in special seasonal releases, including a cabernet called Holiday Helper, and a holiday red blend in a trio of etched bottles with artwork inspired by Flora’s Christmas card collection, such as this year’s toy soldier and snow globe of the estate. For true cabernet connoisseurs, the Three Kings vertical includes the 2014-2016 vintages for a gift that’s fit for, well, a king.


Helpful Links:
Visit The Room
Holiday Wines
2016 Holiday Helper Cabernet Sauvignon
Three Kings Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 3-Bottle Vertical

Flora Springs’ Halloween Festivities Featured in Napa Valley Register

October 11, 2018

Note: The following article was originally written by Jess Lander and published in the Napa Valley Register on October 11, 2018 and can be found here.

Creepy visitors, ghostly wines: Flora Springs gets into the spirit of Halloween

Halloween Wines Napa Valley

As a tribute to their 1885 ghost winery, one of the few remaining in the area, Flora Springs Winery goes all out for Halloween.

You can’t miss the trio of enormous skeletons that dance outside their Highway 29 tasting room in St. Helena. Inside, the walls are covered in cobwebs, rooms are transformed into a crematorium and morgue, and you might just find a headless horseman sitting at your table and struggling to sip his wine (for a lack of mouth). But the decorations, done by local design team, The Baker Sisters, are just the beginning. The winery’s Halloween preparation starts months in advance.

Halloween Decorations

Halloween Decor

For eight years running, Flora Springs has released a collection of limited release, Halloween wines. Featuring custom labels and usually 100 percent bottlings of varieties that are traditionally used for blending, the initiative was started by Nat Komes, general manager and son of proprietors John and Carrie Komes. He has a personal fondness for the holiday and even tied the knot on Oct. 31.

Komes’ inspiration for the Halloween collection came from an unlikely place: beer. Once a year, hundreds of thirsty fans spend hours lined up outside Santa Rosa’s Russian River Brewing Company, all for a taste of their cult release, Pliny the Younger.

He wanted his own version of that, saying, “I was trying to generate some of that excitement in the wine business.”

There might not be a line outside of Flora Springs, but there’s certainly a high demand among the winery’s followers. The Halloween wines often sell out well before Halloween each year and have become collectors items in the cellars of many wine club members.

It all started with the Ghost Winery series in 2010. For the labels, Komes partnered with artist Wes Freed, best known for his eerie illustrations on Drive-By Truckers album covers. One of those albums was a favorite of Komes’ brother.

“My brother passed away from cancer right when I was starting the Ghost Winery project,” said Komes. “That’s how I got a hold of Wes Freed, because that was his favorite record at the time. I reached out to him, started telling him about my brother, how he loved the art, and he came right back to me and said, ‘Let’s get going on this.’”

Over the years, the Ghost Winery series evolved into the Halloween collection with a Ghost Winery label at its centerpiece. Always a bottling of malbec —fittingly sourced right in front of Flora Springs’ ghost winery — the label is a modern interpretation of the 1978 label. It features a sketch of the stone ghost winery building, which was severely damaged in a fire in 1900, but has since been restored.

While the Ghost Winery Malbec stays the same every year, the labels of the others change. Komes develops his vision by scouring through children’s books, album covers, comic books and even skateboards, then contacts the respective artist and commissions them to create a one-of-a-kind wine label for that year’s release.

His favorite label of 2018 is the 2016 All Hallows’ Eve Cabernet Franc, a throwback to old school Halloween imagery of a black cat and jack-o-lantern. The art was done by artist Emmenline Forrestal, a former wig maker who illustrated the children’s book “Gloppy,” a favorite of Komes’ daughter’s.

The true collectors item this year is the 2014 Drink In Peace Merlot. On it, a hand-etched, glow-in-the-dark skeleton holds a wine bottle across its chest. It even comes packaged in a coffin box.

And then there’s the 2013 Black Moon Cabernet Sauvignon. Available only in magnums, it’s already sold out and therefore as rare as an actual black moon (defined as an additional new moon that appears in a month or in a season, or the absence of a full moon or of a new moon in a month).

Skateboard artist Dennis McNett’s illustration depicts the phases of the moon surrounded by bats, which Komes said are regulars in the steeple of the ghost winery. The art is etched and hand painted on the bottle.

The new ghost tour
Those who want to taste the Halloween wines can reserve a tasting at The Room, Flora Springs’ St. Helena tasting room, but this year, the winery is taking their celebrations to a new level of creep with a ghost tour. Flora Springs has teamed up with Napa City Ghosts & Legends to lead a paranormal tour of the ghost winery and estate on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 10:30 a.m.

Komes said he was always curious if the ghost winery was haunted and that Napa City Ghosts have since identified three spirits during their recent visits. There’s Matthew, who supposedly died in a horse-related accident, a flapper who loves to party, and another man who gave off a particularly unsettling vibe.

Let’s hope he’s not in the mood for socializing that day.

For more information on Flora Springs’ Halloween tastings and ghost tour, visit www.florasprings.com/events.


Helpful Links:
Visit The Room | Visit The Estate
Ghost Winery Tasting at The Room
Paranormal Ghost Winery Tour at The Estate
Our Ghost Winery History
Halloween Wines
Ghost Winery Malbec
2014 Drink In Peace Merlot
2013 Black Moon Cabernet Sauvignon

Arts in April Final Weekend – Join Us!

April 26, 2018

This year Flora Springs, in conjunction with Arts Council Napa Valley, celebrates the 8th annual Arts in April event at The Room. Contemporary artists have been busy all month long with demonstrations, installations, and musical performances that showcase the creative genius of artists at work paired with wine flights featuring the winery’s artist series labels. We invite you to join in on the fun for the final weekend of this series.

This Saturday, April 28th will feature the awe-inspiring Dominic Fontana of tapedmetalcanvas.com. Tape and metal artist Dominic uses various methods and materials to carve, weave, and layer colorful metallic tape. He often transforms each piece into a balanced, symmetrical, and often abstract piece of artwork. Dominic has also had his work featured throughout the month at The Room and you can have some fun with his pieces and the flash on your iPhone.

Also, featured will be the sounds of Lauren Hulbert is a folk-rock singer-songwriter. She has a sultry, warm voice and a wide variety of raw and authentic songs. For more information about this event click here.

Below are a few snapshots of other artists that have been featured earlier this month for Arts in April.Brett Crawford of startvault.com is a painter, metal sculptor, printmaker, illustrator and street artist are a few of the titles California native Brett Crawford holds. His work can be found in galleries and on walls all over Los Angeles. His preferred medium for large works is spray paint, but he is versatile and not limited to one material.Amandalynn is a muralist inspired by the female form and spirit, Amandalynn depicts strong, seductive women and illustrates their strength through line work and decorative patterning.Katie Colver is a singer-songwriter and guitar player. Her voice is earthy and powerful, and her music is most influenced by folk and rock music of the 70s.

Celebrating National Library Week

April 4, 2018

Flora Springs will celebrate National Library Week by pouring select library wines at both The Estate and The Room next week, April 8-15. Featured wines will include rare, cellared vintages of Flora Springs’ flagship red wine blend, Trilogy. Library wines will also be available.

Nat Komes, third-generation family member and Flora Springs General Manager, has a particular affinity for libraries, as his mother worked as a librarian when he was growing up. He said he developed a great love of reading which he shares with his own children. In fact, while spending time at the library reading to them, Komes said he has found inspiration for several of his wine projects.

“We’re excited to celebrate National Library Week by opening our wine library throughout the week,” said Komes. “Library wines are older, unique, and rare wines that have been purposefully stored to age. Just as libraries transform minds, the aging process transforms wine, often in unexpected and delightful ways.”

Flora Springs’ limited-time “Libraries Transform” tasting experience will be held at both The Room (677 South St. Helena Highway, St. Helena) and The Estate (1978 West Zinfandel Lane, St. Helena), open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. Reservations are required to visit The Estate. Additional tasting fees for the library wines may apply. For more information visit florasprings.com or call (866) 967-8032 or 967-6723.

Purple Teeth Barrel Tasting and Great Tastes Member Pick Up Party

March 19, 2018

One our fun and favorite events of the year is the Purple Teeth Barrel Tasting and Great Tastes Members’ Pick Up Party that was held on Sunday at The Room. As usual, The Purple Teel Barrel Tasting included a barrel seminar led by Flora Springs Associate Winemaker Enrico Bertoz. It was a fun but educational exploration of the impact of using different coopers on Flora Springs wines straight from the barrel.

The event is held annually for our Great Tastes Members and since this year was on a Sunday, our theme was a relaxing ‘Sunday Brunch’.

Who wouldn’t want chicken and waffles from The Waffle Roost, the perfect fare for Sunday Brunch?

Guests were entertained with live music by provided by a collaboration between Jules Leyhe and Tapper Dan (John Devoto) and Ivy Hill Entertainment.

Thank you to all our Great Tastes Members who could join us, we appreciate you and raise our glasses to your continued support of Flora Springs!

Napa Valley Fire Relief Benefit Music Festival at The Room

October 25, 2017

Flora Springs will hold a benefit music festival on Sunday, October 29th at The Room in St. Helena with all proceeds going to victims of the recent Napa Valley wildfires through the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund. The fundraiser, held from 12pm to 5pm, will feature five San Francisco Bay Area bands and musicians including Serf & James, Fellow Vessel, Sean Garvey, Mr. Kind, and Miss Moonshine. Flora Springs wines by the glass and bottle will be poured and small bites will be served. The event will also feature an auction including wines and other items. Admission to the event is complimentary and no RSVP is needed.

“We wanted to jump in quickly and support the Napa Valley community as it recovers from these devastating fires,” said Flora Springs General Manager Nat Komes. Although the fires that raged through parts of Napa Valley hovered at the ridgeline to the west of Flora Springs’ winery and vineyards in Rutherford, the estate escaped unharmed thanks to the heroic efforts of firefighters and first responders.

“We were among the lucky ones, but we know many who were not as fortunate,” said Flora Springs Co-Founder and Proprietor John Komes. “The Festival will raise monies to help fire victims, but will also serve as a way for our community to come together in a show of strength and fellowship. Everyone is welcome.” The lineup of artists includes several who were themselves affected by the fires in Napa and Sonoma Counties.

Napa Valley Fire Relief Benefit Music Festival at The Room

The following is the festival schedule:

Miss Moonshine
12pm – 12:45pm
This Petaluma, CA band was personally affected by the fires in Sonoma Valley: one lost her house, one lost his job. On October 29th, they come together to bring the healing power of foot-stomping, folk-rock music to The Room.

Fellow Vessel
1pm – 1:45pm
A successful engineer quits his job to form a band with old friends, determined to follow his life’s true passion: that’s the story behind Fellow Vessel. With a catalog of original melodic rock songs, this band inspires anyone with a dream.

Mr. Kind
2pm – 2:45pm
Brian Bergeron and Jonathan Devoto are founding members of Mr. Kind, an electroacoustic band out of Oakland, CA. Over the course of 4 EPs and local shows, they have established their own brand of Americana. They are also founding members of Ivy Hill Entertainment, a music and event production agency responsible for booking music for the Napa Valley Film Festival, and most recently, a summer piano music series at Flora Springs. They will be collaborating with Tapper Dan as part of this performance.

Sean Garvey
3pm – 3:45pm
An accomplished musician, Sean Garvey is also Flora Komes’ grandson and the winery’s vineyard manager. He witnessed the fires that swept through Napa Valley, just a few miles from the Estate and winery that has been home to his family for three generations. Sean is grateful for his family and winery’s safety, and carries a renewed perspective on the fragile nature of our livelihood.

Serf and James
4pm to 5pm
Serf and James live and work in the Napa Valley. In fact, the duo works at Flora Springs. They have played at the Napa Valley Film Festival, BottleRock, and Flora Springs Club members’ weddings and parties.

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