Building bridges between our foothills and Napa wineries

Nell Esterhazy Scannon, an accomplished equestrian, author and food and wine connoisseur from Nevada City, is now living and working at Jarvis Estate winery and vineyards in Napa. Her family — including Phil and Belinda Rush Carville — is well-known and successful in the foothills.

We fondly remember Nell telling us the history of the Loma Rica Ranch in Grass Valley in its heyday, when thoroughbred champions such as Noor galloped around the training track. Or eating local produce from the Ranch’s organic farm.

Nell’s recent involvement in the Napa Valley wine scene is a reminder that our wine growing regions are never far apart — and increasingly interwoven.

“Being a stone’s throw from hundreds of world-class wineries and restaurants is enough to make the average person dizzy with happiness,” Nell says. “I was also incredibly drawn to the hospitality of the locals and their willingness to talk about their ventures and welcome me.”

Jarvis Estate is a family owned winery that makes a limited quantity of award-winning wines from sustainably farmed, estate vineyards on a rugged hillside, just four miles east of downtown Napa.

Varietals include Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and proprietary Bordeaux blends.

Jarvis Estates is the country’s first winery built entirely underground in a 45,000 square-foot cave. A stream and waterfall running through the center of the winery helps maintain the humidity level in the cave at an ideal level for the barrel aging of wines.

Food & Wine magazine has said it is “one of Napa Valley’s best winery tours.” For more information, visit

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