Wine Barrel Tasting & Future Wines: Best Barrel Tasting & Drinking in Napa, CA

Barrel Tasting and Wine Futures

Wine Barrel Tasting and Drinking the Future at Keenan Winery

Each year, wine barrel tasting enthusiasts eagerly look forward to tasting “the future” straight out of the barrels at the Keenan Open House. It is the one time every year Keenan Club Members, email newsletter recipients and their guests have the thrilling and unique opportunity to not only barrel taste, but buy the wine they are tasting in the barrel. In this video, Michael Keenan—Keenan Winery President and Owner—tells about the wonderful tradition of barrel tasting and futures sales at Keenan Winery. Below, we’ve given you a few more details related to barrel tasting and futures sales.

Matt Garder, General Manager at Keenan Winery, pulls some wine from a barrel to taste. The bung (like a big cork) is first removed from the barrel. Then, here, Matt has inserted a glass tool (called a “wine thief”!) to draw the futures wine from the barrel. Notice that Matt had his thumb on top of the wine thief and then released it so the wine would pour into his glass. (Like the common trick kids sometimes do with straws in their sodas.) It is especially insightful and entertaining to compare wines over time. The difference is dramatic. One can do this by ordering a case and opening a bottle every few months or every year, for example on a birthday.

Wine Barrel Tasting and Wine Futures Defined

For the uninitiated, in the world of wine at Keenan Winery, “futures” refers to the rare opportunity to taste and buy one of our wines straight out of the barrel. Once bottled (in the future!) it is then sent to the fortunate few (who had the foresight and excitement of tasting the wine straight out of the barrel, before it was bottled). Think of it as a deal to “pre-order” one of our wines before it’s been finished.

The Annual  Summer Party “Open House” in Napa Valley

Our annual Keenan Winery Open House is one of the ways we say “thank you” to all our club members and newsletter fans. We celebrate our fans’ and email list’s ongoing patronage and enthusiasm by giving them what is referred to as one of the best parties in Napa. This is the place to be if you love barbecue, live music, and great people. Usually, these come with generous sunshine and inevitably they are paired with our delicious wines. There are generally only two-hundred fifty spaces available, so please R.S.V.P. early. It fills to capacity every year! Club members receive two free passes to the event. Non-club members are charged a fee, payable at the door. The annual Keenan Winery Open House occurs the day before Father’s Day. This year is no different. We look forward to seeing you there! If you’re a Facebook user, you can see pictures and get reminders about the party on our Keenan Facebook Page.

About the Tradition of Wine Barrel Tasting and Future Wine at the Open House

As you’ll see Michael Keenan, our President and Owner, explain in the adjoining video, we have a unique tradition at our Open House of producing a custom and very special red blend especially for the event. This wine is shown and sold straight out of barrel–on that day only. This future wine receives a special label that makes it extraordinarily unique, like a collector’s item.

When to Open Your Futures Wine

For those who partake in the wine barrel tasting and decide to sock some of these one-of-a-kind wines away in their cellars, you may wonder when is the ideal time to begin drinking them. We release our Cabernets when they’re four and the Merlots when they’re three; so, they haven’t reached their peak yet – they’re just beginning their drinking cycles. As our wines age so well that we think our prime drinking years are between the ages of six and fifteen, you can’t go wrong with opening any of our red wines once they’ve been aged anywhere in that range of years. That said, it is really fascinating to see how wines develop over time. One way to get that experience is to buy a case and open one bottle every six months to see how it changes.

An Example of One “Future” Wine We Poured at the 2017 Open House

The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Clone 15, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley is a true collector’s wine. The strong mountain structure is enlivened with the perfect showing of complex flavors for which our wines are known. It was blended, finished, labeled and made available for–one time only–summer of 2017, to our fans.

A One-of-a-Kind Opportunity

The Keenan Open House is a once-only chance to order some of the “premiere wines” for the first time. These wines are delicious along with food from the minute they are shipped, and when they hit their prime a few more years later they will blow your socks off. So, head on over to the Keenan Open House and get your first look at that vintage and get your case of special label futures reserved. It’s a great opportunity.