Dressage horses, they say, are developed like fine wines.
Likewise, some wines and spirits are infused with a love of all things equine.
By L.A. Sokolowski
Hacking out in a vineyard? It’s all in a day's work for Alex Greer, resident dressage trainer at Alko Equestrian Center, located on the Shadybrook Estate Winery at Rapp Ranch in Napa, California. After graduating from Cornell University in 2012, Greer trained in Wellington, Florida, imder the tutelage of intemationally renowned coaches and fine-tuned her “horses first, always” focus on boutique training, sales, and imports. “It is truly incredible to call such a beautiful facility home,” Greer says. “My clients and I love riding the estate’s groomed vineyard trails and hills. The horses are so happy. Our indoor arena has a vineyard view, and it’s a lovely backdrop to our dressage training. “Horses and wine are a perfect blend,” Greer continues. “The wines from Rapp Ranch/Shadybrook Estate are bold and frill of flavor, much like our dressage horses! It’s really special to drink wine made from the grapes you ride past every day. Their cabernet sauvignon is a bam favorite.” The estate’s winemaker, Rudy Zuidema, suggests that the 2017 vintage will age gracefully or, with proper decanting, can be enjoyed now” “The Shadybrook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon show-cases aromatics of lilac, blackberries, and mocha powder. The palette starts out rich and juicy, with notes of boysenberry preserves, hazelnut, and chocolate, transitioning into long, balanced tannins of exquisite texture.”
This spectacular equestrian property sits among a thriving vineyard.
By Stable Style
Alex Greer Dressage is based out of Alko Equestrian Center in Napa, California. The facility is beautiful, but it also offers a peaceful environment for the horses and riders. Alex found the stunning equestrian center through a close friend and client.
“When I started riding her horse and spending time on the property, I knew it was home. My motto is ‘Horses first, always’ and Alko Equestrian Center fully supports that philosophy,” Alex said. “It is an incredibly welcoming and serene property and the horses are so happy. Alice Alkosser (owner) and Diana Bregman (barn manager) are such lovely people, and everyone involved with the care and management of the property is fantastic.”...
THIS CALIFORNIA WINERY HAS A UNIQUELY EQUINE COMPONENT.
By Jordan Mackay
In March 2019, Doriane Woolley was driving up an oak studded country road just outside Napa, California, a place she’d never been, on the way to a job interview, when something made her stop. An experienced rider and barn manager, Doriane was on the run from a Michigan winter in the icy grip of a -45-degree polar vortex. The New Mexico native was cursing the day she had left Texas horse country for a job in the icy Midwest. It was that Texas horse connection that caused her to stop. Suspended over the road was a large wooden plank carved with the words “Rapp Lane.” A sign embedded in the stone pillars flanking the drive read “Rapp Quarter Horse Ranch.”
“I stopped and stared at it and said, £No way!’” Doriane recalls. “I had worked with the Rapps, who were very dear friends of mine, in Texas. And this was where Phil, who is a leading cutting horse trainer, grew up.”
Through this gate was Shadybrook Estate, a winery and horse operation that was looking for an equestrian center manager. Doriane was there to interview for the job. She knew Phil had grown up in Napa but had no idea she was headed to the very site where his career began. Phil and his wife, Mary Ann, sold the Napa ranch and relocated the family to Weatherford, Texas, in 1994. Even though the ranch and the valley in general have been transformed by the advent of global wine fame, the Rapp spirit in this property lives on. Doriane got the job at Shadybrook and found respite from the cold. She also found an unusual combination of vineyards and Quarter Horses-Napa past and Napa present...
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