It may surprise some, but I’ve made it to my 50s and never explored wines. Sure, I’ve had the occasional glass of celebratory wine but never cared enough to explore the many nuances that come with being a wine drinker. With several spring celebrations on the horizon, filled with family and friends who adore wine, I felt it was time I started learning about wine as a beginner, especially since I’d been given three bottles of wine to try. If you are a novice wine drinker, or just like learning more about wines, read on. 

Learning About Wine for Spring Celebrations!

Learning About Wine for Spring Celebrations

My thanks to Hoopes Vineyard for the complimentary wine, along with information on each bottle to help my beginner wine journey. All opinions are my own.

About Hoopes Vineyard in Yountville, Napa California:

According to their website, Hoopes Vineyard is a small, family-owned wine grower and producer with deep roots in Napa Valley. I used to live near this area in California, so seeing the beautiful images on their site felt like coming home. Now in its second generation, Proprietor, Lindsey Hoopes still works and lives on the farm in as she says, “a revered dedication to her family heritage in dogged pursuit of perfect wines.”  I now understand why their label has a dog jumping through a hoop. How perfect is that?

Let’s Learn About Hoopes Wine!

Bottle One: 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville California, Aged 29 months:

2018 Cabernet Sauvignon

Hoopes Proprietor, Lindsey says, “It’s hard to think of a vintage where conditions were all so ideal as 2018.”  She went on to share that the idyllic weather conditions, made for optimum ripeness, and that the only potential fault of 2018, was the abundant crop, which they carefully monitored the vineyard to ensure a balanced crop load on the vines. According to Lindsey, “The result was a beautiful, complex, and intense wine with the freshness and structure to age for decades.”  


Here’s where the learning fun begins! Hoopes Vineyard was kind enough to send a leaflet with information including tasting notes with each wine. For the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Winemaker Aaron Port suggests that as we pour this wine into the glass, we should take in the natural earthy tones. We should inhale the aroma of :

  • The forest floor after rain
  • Fogared Porcini Mushrooms
  • Newly Stitched Leather

I can close my eyes and call to mind all those lovely scents, can you? 

Tasting Notes: 

Next, we should explore taste and explore the taste. Aaron says this is a luscious and fruity wine and the mid-palate notes of fennel seeds and buttery toffee might surprise us. The silky tannins lead us through a lengthy finish of dark plum and bright cassis. 

Truth be told, I’ve always been intimidated by Cabernets and “red wine” lovers, of which my husband is one, so reading all the details about this 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, the history of the bottle from grapes to bottle and what to expect when drinking it, actually makes it less intimidating to me. I can’t wait to share this special wine with my husband and family.

Next, is a lovely-looking white wine, one I’m a little more familiar with. 

Bottle Two: 2021 Sauvignon Blanc from Yountville, Napa Valley, California, Aged 11 months:

2021 Sauvignon Blanc

Lindsey Hoopes notes that drought conditions coming into the 2021 growing season set the stage for a year with relatively low yields. This brought the vines into a natural balance and gave them incredible concentrated flavors. “It was an exciting vintage to watch develop in the barrel and bottle.” 


Winemaker Arron Pott explains as soon as you pop the cork on this wine, you are transported to the true soil of Yountville. Having visited Yountville and Napa Valley, I can imagine it as he goes on to paint the scene of a beautiful picnic complete with stones and a field of Acacia flowers. Scents of:

  • Fresh Pears and ripe Apricots
  • Sharp Pecorino Cheese
  • Jagged Stones 
  • Wildflowers

Tasting Notes:

Aaron notes that as you uncork and pour this delicate wine, you find a bright acidity balanced by the taste of tasty white peach. “Hints of stone and Anjou Pear guide you to a long fresh finish with just a touch of green tea.” 

Doesn’t this Sauvignon Blanc sound like springtime in a bottle? I can’t wait to open this battle to help celebrate my daughter's upcoming birthday. She is our spring baby, who happens to love white wines, so I think this is a perfect match.

Last, but certainly not least, is a lovely bottle of Rosé, a perfectly pink wine I opened and enjoyed while watching the Oscars

Bottle Three: 2022 Rosé, Napa Valley, California, Aged 4 months:

2022 Rosé

According to Lindsey, 2022 was an extremely unique growing season, in large part due to a September heat wave, followed by heavy rainfall. Growth sped up, and all was well by mid-October. Harvest ended a little earlier than usual. Lindsey concluded that “ they expect high acidity and delicate beauty from their 2022 vintage,”


Aaron Pott, Winemaker says this wine gives off the scent of a summer farmers market with scents of:

  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Lemon Zest
  • Plum

He goes on to explain that this wine boasts a bright acidity, which I agree with. More about that in a moment after we explore the taste.

Tasting Notes:

The first sip is a mix of strawberries and cherries, which I love since strawberries are my favorite fruit. The long finish, according to Aaron, “is reminiscent of a watermelon jolly rancher that will have your mouth watering for more.” 

My Thoughts on the 2022 Rosé:

Poured 2022 Rosé

I enjoyed a glass of this wine as an after-dinner drink and enjoyed the fresh, summery fruitiness. I’m glad Aaron mentioned the watermelon Jolly Rancher because it helped me identify that flavor I tasted, but couldn’t quite put my finger on.

It was a wee bit too acidic for me on its own, so I’ll be sure to pair it with a fruit and cheese board. I’d like to learn more about wine and food pairings as well now. I think it would make a perfect couples activity. It will enable me to buy and share wines more confidently when we entertain. Now that I’ve started learning about wine as a beginner, I see so many avenues to learn even more. 

The Takeaway:

I’m excited to have this opportunity to share these unique Hoopes wines with my family and friends during our spring celebrations. If you’d like to learn more about the wines I’ve discussed today or more about the Hoopes Vineyard, I invite you to visit their website and follow them on Instagram @hoopeswhere youvineyard) where you’ll learn more about their wines and the beautiful Napa Valley.

Please share in comments: Are you a wine drinker? Which one of these wines would you uncork first? 

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