Greystone Winery

Karen Frazier
wine and food, CIA cooking school

Napa Valley's old Greystone Winery is now home to one of America's finest cooking schools, the Culinary Institute of America. The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has more than one campus, but the one located on the old Greystone Winery site is unique because it sits on a large piece of land that was previously home to one of the oldest stone wineries in the world.

Winery Once the Largest in the World

The largest building housed on the old Greystone Winery's site was built in the late 1880s. The structure itself is beautiful and very historical. At one time, the winery was one of the biggest and most productive wineries in the world, and it is said that the way in which the winery grew grapes in its vineyards, picked them, and converted them into sellable wine changed Napa Valley's entire wine industry.

Christian Brothers Purchase Winery in 1950

In 1950, The Greystone Winery was sold to the Christian Brothers. The Christian Brothers did not produce the same wine as their predecessors, but instead created and manufactured their own brand and types of wine. The winery continued to be owned by the Christian Brothers until the 1990s. After the Christian Brothers closed their winery, it sat idle until 1995 when the Culinary Institute of America opened and converted it into a school.

Building Made of Thick Stone

The building that now houses the Culinary Institute is built with extremely thick walls. The walls are made of stone that is almost two feet thick, which is probably the reason the building has been able to withstand tough weather conditions, as well as two major earthquakes over the course of hundreds of years.

Tourists Welcome

Even though the old Greystone Winery is a culinary school, tourists can still visit, enjoy, and learn from this important and historical landmark. Visitors can visit the school's gardens, grape vineyards, and even eat at a well-known restaurant located on the premises. Guests are encouraged to view one or more of the shows in which cooking students demonstrate their skills. In addition, there is a museum, a library, and a store, which are all open to the public.

Obtain a "Wine Professional" Certificate

Recently, the "Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies" began operations on the Culinary Institute of America's Greystone Winery campus. At this center, individuals, restaurant owners, or those in the liquor business are welcome to enroll in courses, and eventually obtain a "Wine Professional" certificate after passing a test.

Spend the Day

Visiting the old Greystone Winery grounds is an interesting and enlightening experience. For those who are making a trip to Napa Valley, a tour of this location should not be missed. Because there is so much history associated with the Greystone Winery, an entire day can be spent there for shopping, eating, wandering through the gardens, and viewing the elaborate kitchens.

Visit the official CIA - Greystone web site for more information.

Greystone Winery