Napa producers have shocked the world by announcing they will be making a growing number of products that taste even less like wine than their wines do.
Beer, cider and even spirits are all growing in popularity in the valley. But some have questioned whether this increasingly diverse offering could confuse customers.
‘Napa has worked for decades to build its existing reputation,’ said Merle O’Plantings of the Napa Growers Union. ‘It should stick to doing what it does best.
‘Which is fleecing tourists.’
But tech billionaire Anal Musk who recently paid $2bn for Twizzler Estate was excited by the possibilities.
‘Napa’s not just got a great climate for growing overripe and overpriced grapes,’ he told Fake Booze.
‘It’s perfect for growing overripe and overpriced apples as well.’
All about the name
Winemakers, he added, were attracted to cider because they were ‘naturally curious’ by nature.
‘Having fucked up the grapes in the Valley for decades, a lot of them are really keen to see whether they can pull off the same con job with other fruit.
‘We’re betting that if the word ‘Napa’ is on the label, then they probably can.’
Wineries admit that their teams are having to learn cider making skills fast.
‘Apples have a lot of acidity, bitterness and tannin,’ said Dabinett Cox of Slag’s Heap. ‘It takes a lot of work on our part to remove all that so they’re just as sweet and overblown as our table wines.’
Cox’s brand Sidra-ways has its own film, podcast and Youtube channel, all of which are crap.
The core of the range is 10% abv, matured 200% in oak eggs and costs $25 a can, which, Cox says, ‘is a perfect expression of what Napa is all about.’
The apple orchards are largely unirrigated – though in hot years some producers have taken to encouraging local restaurant customers to use the orchards for ‘personal irrigation’ breaks.
Others water the trees with judicious sprinklings of Sauvignon Blanc, which, agronomists say, ‘comes to much the same thing’.
‘We reckon it’s the best use of the variety in Napa,’ said Merle O’Plantings. ‘And definitely better than drinking it.’
Bourbon producers have also taken to ageing their spirits in old barrels from the wineries.
The result is described as ‘overpriced, gimmicky and as undrinkable as most Californian wines, though marginally lower in abv.’