The historic Calistoga National Bank building in downtown Calistoga is now a charming tasting room and an ideal setting for Huge Bear Wines. Founded in 2006 by family members with a heritage in agriculture and love of wine, Huge Bear Wines embodies the spirit and history of California.
Beyond the fact that bears have always been an important symbol in California’s heritage, the winery’s name was inspired by an article uncovered in local historical archives. According to written lore, a huge bear repeatedly descended from the mountains in Knights Valley in search of food and raided the home of the local justice of the peace. The bear was never captured, and his rogue independence inspired those who fought for the Independent Republic of California. Today, his legend lives on— as a symbol on the California state flag and in Huge Bear wines, whose grapes are sourced from some of California’s finest vineyards.
Huge Bear Wines shares the same ownership as the exclusive Knights Bridge Winery, which features estate Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Both wineries began bottling a decade ago. Even their earliest wines attracted the attention of Wine Enthusiast and Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine who gave the 2006 Huge Bear Cabernet Sauvignon 90-plus points.
Early in 2015, Huge Bear found its own den in a beautiful building adorned with high ceilings and crown moulding on Calistoga’s main drag. Guests are invited to drop in and immerse themselves in the area’s history and listen to the legend of the Huge Bear as they sample the exceptional wines. While no appointment is required to come and taste the Huge Bear wines in the historic building, those who are interested in the wines from Knights Bridge Winery need to make an advance appointment for The Vault Tasting. These guests are in for a special treat: a private seated tasting of Knights Bridge limited production wines paired with local cheeses or small bites by noted local chef Sarah Scott.