It was a peculiar sight at 8 o’clock sharp on an August Monday morning in St. Helena. Two dozen people, masked and socially distanced, stood in the Harvest Inn parking lot near a row of vintage and contemporary Porsches, Ferraris, and a 1965 Shelby Cobra. Harvest Inn co-owner Rick Kaufman was giving a pre-talk about the day’s route, along with reminders about hand sanitizer and information on gas station locations. “This is not a race; this is a rally,” he says, his beloved 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 nearby awaiting his key in the ignition.
Clearly the day’s agenda was no ordinary wine country tour. For one thing, there would be no wine at all until sunset, when everyone had safely returned to the property. The group of farmers, tycoons, winemakers and philanthropists, including a few couples from Colorado (their collector cars having been trucked over the Rockies), had gathered for the inaugural Napa Valley 750: The Wine Country Road Rally. The name refers to the number of miles covered over the course of the three-day event, through parts of six counties of the Golden State. It’s also a sly allusion to the volume of a 750 ml bottle of wine.