When you think of Napa Valley and wine, the phrases “it’s just juice” and “if it tastes like anything other than grapes, it’s not wine” probably are not what you would expect to hear.

When we first arrived in Napa, St. Helena specifically, we put on our nice clothes, fixed our hair and prepared ourselves for the overly sophisticated and traditionally versed wine tours.  We had no idea that we were about to meet the James Dean of Napa Valley!

When a long haired man with board shorts and flip flops walked up to our RV, we thought is not someone in the wine business and certainly not from a great winery such as Karl Lawrence.  That was our first look at our host, Ric Henry.

Ric is a partner and what I would call the “social face” of Karl Lawrence Wine.  He has spent most of his life in the Napa Valley and has a great appreciation for really good grapes and an even better relaxed lifestyle.  He loves to cook, ride his bike and spend time with his very cute grandchildren.  In between all of that, he hosts wine tastings that are not really tastings at all.  It’s more like he is inviting you to his backyard to “shoot the breeze” over some wine.  He is super knowledgeable and can tell you anything you want to know about wine or the Napa Valley.   However, once you meet him I don’t think asking about the subtle undertones in the wine; will be on your mind.  If you do ask him what undertones are in the wine, you won’t get the answer you’d expect.

To say the least, we had a very refreshing and unexpected visit to St. Helena and the Napa Valley.  With so much wine and so many wineries in the Napa Valley, it’s hard to know where to spend your precious drinking time.  Our suggestion, call up Ric Henry at Karl Lawrence.  You can start there and as you drink, I am sure he will give you some great suggestions for your next un-pretentious stop!