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Members can reserve the buildings for private events, or, if they’re thinking a little more small scale, they can retreat to the caves. “There are 50,000 square feet of them, dug out of the side of the mountain behind the vineyard,” says Baizer. “They’re completely temperature controlled. After they drilled it out, they lined the walls with rebar and what looked like surgical tubing, then shot a layer of concrete over it. The tubes carry water and can heat or cool the caves to an exact temperature. If you want it warmed up for a tasting, they can do that. The caves are set up in concentric circles, and scattered throughout, there are rooms called Member Wine Libraries, where about 30 members can get together and have that be their space.”

But for all the lifestyle, the wine is the main thing, the reason Baizer dreams of passing his membership along to his children. Harlan started making a Napa Valley Reserve wine back in 1997, “so that members could start getting wine right away.” (The 2000, which I tasted, offered the longest finish of any wine in recent memory.) “The vineyard wasn’t even planted yet, but he knew it was going to be a reality. Our vineyard is on the valley floor, while Harlan’s is mountain fruit. But we’ve got the same clones that he’s using,” and the same winemaking and viticultural team. “Our wine isn’t expected to taste exactly like Harlan’s, but it’s expected to be very good. When we get the first release of estate wine, wine actually made at Napa Valley Reserve, we can start to decide if that’s perfection or if we want to deviate. It’s a long-term thing; hopefully, there will be many vintages to practice and experiment.”

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