What fascinated art professor Jay Heminway on his field trips from Berkeley to Napa in the 1960’s was the colors in the soil in the mountains just east of Napa Valley. Here Serpentine, California’s greenish state rock is layered with iron rich red chert. Hard to visualize how these elevated mountain soils were born from the Pacific Ocean floor, but what Heminway saw was an opportunity to revitalize a piece of this eastern portion of Napa Valley that was once a thriving vineyard area and the site of the first flour mill in Northern California. Jay’s grape of choice was the one that was planted around here in the 1800’s – Zinfandel. Over years, Jay went on to establish his home here and plant three vineyards: Chiles Mill, Catacula, and Tip Top – each vineyard with its own personality based on their locations on the mountain.
Sadly, Jay passed away in 2019 but his wife Pam and daughter Tobin – who grew up here helping her dad craft his wines are keeping the dream alive and assuring that the vineyards and wine are as great as ever.
Removed from the hubbub of Napa Valley proper, a tasting experience here is down-to-earth, friendly, and personalized. Superbly crafted wines by winemaker Aaron Whitlatch, a rural mountain setting, the cave cellar, and personal contact with the family make for a Napa Valley experience. Time, weather, and harvest demands permitting, Green and Red often offers jeep tours up to Tip Top, the pinnacle of the winery’s estate with a panoramic view. Visits can be booked on the website or by calling the winery directly. Tasting fees are waived for two people with the purchase of a case of wine. And oh, be sure to ask about the great story behind Green and Red’s mysterious label art.