• Image about Napa Airport
The Napa Valley Reserve
Standing on the flagstone terrace of THE NAPA VALLEY RESERVE in the last of the evening, gazing out over hypnotic rows of vines and olive trees and taking in Napa’s soft dusk, it’s very easy to think you’re the only one in the world.

Not quite true, but you are among a distinct minority. The Reserve, as it’s more simply known, may be the best little wine club no one has heard of, a 500-charter-member organization whose ranks currently comprise A-list actors, musicians, sports figures, and captains of industry who, as you quite rightly imagine, shall not be named. Let’s just say that celebrations in the massive-timbered Hospitality Barn have included an evening with Itzhak Perlman and a cooking lesson from Dorie Greenspan. Members invite guests for wine-tasting dinners in a cave where their personal wine collections are stored. When there is a big event at The Reserve — say, October’s grape harvest — private jets clog the Napa airport.

If it sounds elitist — snobby oenophiles debating a vintage’s insouciance — it isn’t. Membership is open to anyone (though board approval and a $175,000 lifetime membership fee are required), and plenty of the members don’t know much about wine, which is one reason they join.

“Many members don’t come in as experts and they don’t want to be experts,” says Philip Norfleet, The Reserve’s director. “They just enjoy the wine and the fine food and camaraderie that come with it.” thenapavalleyreserve.com