“Hanukkah at its core celebrates freedom,” says Judd Finkelstein, winemaker and co-owner at Judd’s Hill in Napa. “There’s not too much that’s more important to keep in mind and celebrate.”
When his mother, Bunnie, and late father, Art, moved their winery to Silverado Trail in 2007, they decided to welcome their community with a Hanukkah Hootenanny. There’s no line dancing or cowboy hats; a fondness for alliteration drove that title. It’s a lighthearted annual celebration with dreidel games, lighting the Menorah and retro surf music by Frankie and the Pool Boys that inspires dancing.
The traditional menu includes beef brisket and jelly donuts. But the standout is Art’s legendary potato latke recipe. Whether topped with sour cream or applesauce, the rich, crisp and salty potato pancakes are perfect with the Judd’s Hill Sauvignon Blanc. Some mavericks top their latkes with brisket, which calls for a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon or their Mourvèdre that reveals bright acidity and dark red fruit.
The party benefits the Community Health Initiative Napa Valley, ensuring everyone can access health care. “I’m a big believer that when you’re in a community, it’s important to be involved, to work toward its betterment and bring people together,” Finkelstein says.