Napa Valley: Calling all electric vehicles to our tasting room

Are you are a forward-thinking tasting room manager? If so, have you considered installing an EV Charging Station? Electric vehicles are “hot” right now, especially among the younger set and the affluent. Most of those who drive electric cars are highly educated and professional, and we can surely conclude that many in this group are very much into the wine scene. Electric car use is soaring in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, and by next year it is predicted that 20 auto manufacturers will produce an all-electric car. President Obama has a goal of one million electric cars on the road by 2015.

Napa Valley wineries with EV Charging Stations

To our knowledge these are the wineries in the Napa Valley that currently have electric vehicle charging stations available for their tasting room guests.

  • Cade Winery
  • Chateau Montelena
  • Clif Family Winery
  • Hall Wines
  • Jarvis Winery

That’s a measly five tasting rooms out of the 400 total tasting rooms that are in the Napa Valley.

I spoke with John DeGregory, the tasting room manager at Clif Family Winery in St. Helena. Clif has had a Blink Charging Station for two years now. John states that they see three to five electric vehicles a month. Clif offers an incentive to those charging their cars. Two guests can sip and swirl a complimentary flight of four wines while their eclectic car charges up. The Blink Charging fee is $1.00 per hour for Blink members.

image of electric car being charged at a winery

Photo courtesy of Clif Family Winery

The Hall Winery also has a Blink Charging Station, which was installed in April of 2011. They see about 2 cars per week and do not charge customers to power up their cars. The station is adjacent to the front entrance of the tasting room and according to Ed Curry, the marketing manager at Hall, it becomes the center of attention when someone charges their car. Folks congregate around the car and ask the owner the pros and cons of owning an electric vehicle. It creates a lot of interest and fun in the tasting room.

Ed Curry feels that the Electric Charging Station does draw Napa Valley tourists to the Hall tasting room, because the owners of these cars receive up-to-date information for locations of EV Charging Stations. Ed expects the number of cars using the station to dramatically increase in the next couple of years.

The average distance for most electric cars is 100 miles. From the San Francisco area to the Napa Valley, it would be necessary to have at least one charge to safely get around the Napa Valley and back home again. An electric car owner will plan a wine country trip knowing the wineries where they can recharge. It can be great P.R. for a winery to have an EV charging station. It sends a message to tourists who live near the Valley: we are concerned about clean air, the vineyards, etc. We want to encourage folks to drive electric cars.

In the case of Clif Family Winery , their Velo Vino tasting room is also a mecca for Napa Valley cyclists. It’s their hangout for meeting for rides, fueling up on coffee or sipping wine in the later afternoon. The charging station and the cyclist theme add up to a “Cool Factor” that draws attention to the tasting room.

Hall Winery is the first California winery to receive a gold LEED certification, so having a charging station goes right along their environmental goals.

Back in October of 2011, Ford Motor Company included both Hall Wines and Clif Family Winery in the “Top 20 Cool Places to Charge Your Electric Vehicle.”

So how about other wineries in the Napa Valley? Is it time to get an EV Charging Station for your tasting room guests?