FRIEND: "You're going to camp?"First matters first. Schramsberg calls itself "America's House of Sparkling Wine," founded by Jack and Jamie Davies in the 1965 on property originally owned by Jacob Schram, one of Napa Valley's pioneering 19th century winemakers. They set out to make America's most prestigious sparkling wine - no small goal, but one the Davies family has surely achieved, consistently garnering high ratings from critics and awards in international competitions.
YOU: "Yes. It's called Camp Schramsberg and it's in the Napa Valley."
FRIEND: "So... Are you gonna sleep on a cot? In a sleeping bag? Will they give you a tent?"
YOU: "Nope. I'm staying in a nice hotel."
FRIEND: "But what about food? You're such a foodie - I can't imagine you roasting hot dogs over a campfire or burning marshmallows on a stick."
YOU: "Nope, not doing that either. We are going to have dinner in the vineyard, eat some meals at the Culinary Academy and have a dinner paired with a selection of really great sparkling wine."
FRIEND: "I dunno. Doesn't sound much like camp to me."
FRIEND: "And who or what is a Schramsberg anyway?"
You can tour Schramsberg any time and it's been one of our favorite Napa Valley wine-tasting experiences for over a decade. Twice a year, they host a hands-on, in-depth experience geared toward people who want to experience sparkling wine-making first hand and learn more about how to appreciate and enjoy it. As confusing as the moniker "camp" is, it's probably better than their original name: Sparkling Wine Symposium.
Camp Schramsberg is held twice a year and sessions are personally hosted by Hugh Davies, Schramsberg President and chief winemaker. Both sessions include winery tours, hands-on sessions emphasizing how to enjoy sparkling wine and pair it with food and - maybe the most fun of all - every participant learns how to open a bottle of sparkling wine with a sabre.
- Harvest Camp (September): Campers help harvest grapes in the vineyards, taste freshly pressed grape juices and nascent wines, learn what riddling is and why it's important, then participate in making a bottle of Schramsberg bubbly of their own.
- Spring Blending Camp (March): Participants prune vines and find out why it's important for the harvest, take part in sparkling wine blending (assemblage) and sample some of more than 100 base wines made from the previous harvest.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary scholarship to Camp Schramsberg. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.