Huge Bear Wines
Meet Expert Wine Guides
Damian Lagle and Jeanie Connelly
You will find Damian Lagle and/or Jeanie Connelly working in the tasting room on any given day. They share a passion for great wine, so it’s no surprise that these two love to pour Huge Bear Wines and navigate you through the delicious distinctions that come with each bottle.
Huge Bear’s tasting room sits in the wild, wild, west of downtown Calistoga in the old national bank. Here, Damian and Jeanie take you on an expedition like no other, pouring small production wines to suit your adventurous taste.
About Damian Lagle
Damian came to Huge Bear with nearly 30 years of hands-on experience in the wine industry. Born in Oregon, he moved to central Texas where he grew up on a vineyard with his family until he was 29 years of age. As he put it, “I’d been growing grapes from the ripe old age of 13.” From there, he went to purchase and run a 30-acre vineyard in Lake County, California, growing and selling grapes.
In 2007, he sold his property and began working in tasting rooms throughout the Napa Valley, joining Huge Bear in 2015. He loves spreading the word about great big wines. “Because I have a deep-rooted history in grape-growing, I’m able to offer an additional piece of knowledge, not only about the production of the juice, but the growing of the grapes.” In the tasting room, what he tries to offer is a pleasant and enjoyable experience that guests will always remember. Humor is key. What matters most is that, “you have a good time!”
Damian’s Favorite Wine Picks:
If you ask Damian which Huge Bear wines he loves the most, he’d have to say undeniably the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County for its light, crisp taste. He describes this vintage as, “summertime in a glass.” He also praises the 2013 Red Blend Ursa Gigantes, which means Big Bear in Latin, for its depth, ripe fruit and beautiful deep, purple hue. The blend changes every single vintage. For the 2013, the blend is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot. This wine goes well with a hearty steak and potato dish.
About Jeanie Connelly
Jeanie was born in Chicago but moved to sunny Napa in 2000 to work as a concierge at a hotel. For the past eight years, she’s been working in the wine industry, and at Huge Bear since 2015. From the time she stepped foot into the tasting room, she was impressed with the owners. Their respect and team-effort approach trickles down to the staff. They all work together as a team. Everyone matters here.
She’s also impressed with the wines because, as she says, “They are simply some of the best wines in the valley.” Jeanie strives to give each person a custom experience, educating them as little, or as much, as they want. She loves when people leave with wine they usually wouldn't buy after tasting something new and learning more about it.
Jeanie’s Favorite Wine Picks:
Jeanie praises the 2013 Cabernet Franc because it’s everything it should be: fruit-forward, elegant and sexy with a hint of cocoa. With only 90 cases produced, it’s a must have. It’ll blow your mind. She also speaks highly of the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon with it smooth taste and no huge tannins. She calls it “The Porch Pounder,” easy to drink.
Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay,
Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Red Blend, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc