Picking the Perfect Wedding Wine with Far Niente


When it comes to planning your wedding day you want everything to be perfect. The decor, the flowers, the music, and of course the drinks! So today I am partnering with one of the most elegant wine brands, Far Niente, to share why it’s a beautiful choice for your special day. Also, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post because I am sharing an exclusive FH code for 10% off your order!

Here’s a little background…

Far Niente was established in 1885 by John Benson, a forty-niner of the California gold rush and uncle of the famous American impressionist painter, Winslow Homer. Benson hired architect Hamden McIntyre, creator of the former Christian Brothers winery—now the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone—to design the building. Constructed against a hillside in western Oakville, Far Niente functioned as a gravity flow winery, gently moving the grapes through each stage of production.

Far Niente prospered until the onset of Prohibition in 1919, when it was abandoned and left to fall into disrepair. Sixty years later, in 1979, Gil Nickel purchased the winery and adjacent vineyard and began a three-year restoration of the property, which resulted in placement on the National Register of Historical Places. During restoration, the original name, Far Niente, from an Italian phrase that romantically translated means “without a care,” was found carved in stone on the front of the building where it remains to this day. We felt an obligation to preserve the name with the hope that we could recapture a bygone era when life was indeed without a care.

Nineteen eighty-two marked the return of winemaking to Far Niente, with the harvest of the winery’s first Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay was also produced at the winery for the first time that year; the 1979, ’80 and ’81 vintage wines were made at an offsite location. Today, the winery continues to focus on producing only the two varietal wines.

What makes the wine so special….

Here’s a quote from Far Niente winemaker Nicole Marchesi,

“Our Chardonnay vineyards are planted in the southern Napa Valley appellation known as Coombsville. It’s a magical pocket for Chardonnay, with sloping hillsides, cool foggy mornings and warm days in the summer. As the fruit ripens from veraison (when the grapes start to soften) onwards, sugars are accumulating and acids are dropping.  Along with flavors and sugar level, acidity levels also play an important role in pick decisions; at harvest our malic levels are already in the range we want to be. Knowing our vineyards and fruit as intimately as we do, we understand the benefits non-malolactic fermentation can have on our wines. We have three main reasons for blocking malolactic fermentation in our Far Niente Estate Bottled Chardonnay.

First, it allows us to retain the fruit’s natural acidity, which gives our wine that refreshing, juicy finish that leaves you craving another sip. That natural acidity also allows our white wines to age beautifully and makes them super food friendly. Second, foregoing malolactic fermentation allows us to get more vineyard-driven aromas and flavors. I know the word terroir is often over-used, but in this instance, non-malolactic fermentation helps us preserve the flavors and characteristics that are truly unique to our vineyards. Third, by choosing not to put our Chardonnay through malolactic fermentation, we are able to showcase the incredible textures that we get from our own proprietary clone of Chardonnay. The Charlemagne clone comes from vine cuttings that the vintners in Burgundy shared with us nearly 30 years ago. This special clone gives the midpalate of our Chardonnay a magnificent creamy-mineral quality. We don’t need malolactic fermentation to overshadow or compromise this unique – and incredibly delicious! – texture.

Although foregoing malolactic fermentation in our Chardonnay is essential to our house style, there are Chardonnay-growing vineyards and wine regions across the globe that benefit from malolactic fermentation. For example, in cooler areas like Burgundy, where grapes can often have an extremely high acidity, malolactic fermentation can actually bring the wines into better balance.”

Why it’s the “perfect” wedding wine…

  • The Far Niente “house style” makes it one of the most versatile Chardonnays in the Napa Valley (and California). So the wines pair beautifully, and effortlessly, with a variety of wedding menus. Although every vintage is unique, the Chardonnays consistently show bright fruit, mouthwatering acidity and a luxurious creaminess on the palate.
  • The Far Niente label, designed by glass artist Tom Rodrigues, is incredibly romantic and elegant. It simply looks stunning on a wedding table which is perfect for photos!
  • Or maybe you want a special wine for your wedding toast or speech time? Many couples will request a special Cave Collection vintage for the wedding toast.

The FH discount…

FH followers can buy individual bottles or cases and save 10% with code NapaInLove. Shop here. If you need any assistance reach out to their private client services team – think of them as personal wine concierges – for custom gifting and larger volume orders. Erika at eboudreaux@farniente.com is a dream to work with (and tell her you found her through the Fashionable Hostess blog!).

Cheers to the most special wedding celebration!

Photography by Yesi of Simply Lively

Thank you to Farniente for partnering on this post.

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