Mira recently announced plans to shutter its Napa Valley Education Center & Tasting Room on Queen Street. According to owner Jim “Bear” Dyke, the closure was precipitated by the winery’s purchase of 16 acres south of Yountville.
“I moved my family to Napa last July, and that was a big sort of turning point,” Dyke says. “Then we got our use permit to build our own hospitality house on the property, so it seemed it was time to make a fuller commitment and really be present.”
Perhaps best known locally for trying to speed up the wine aging process by submerging bottles in Charleston Harbor, Mira in 2015 opened its education center in hopes of acquainting area drinkers with Napa Valley wine. Prior to buying its own vineyard, Mira produced its wine in St. Helena.
Dyke says the venue drew a mix of passersby and dedicated Mira wine club members. Over its run, the Education Center hosted 22,000 tasters. “We tried to create a unique experience for people,” Dyke says, referring to the videos, maps and soil samples that instructors showed participants.
Currently, Mira is in the process of replanting its acreage; Dyke estimates the land in three years will yield enough fruit for wine-making. In the meantime, Mira will continue to buy grapes, although it will next year start producing wine on the property.
“We’ve always believed the more our hands and heart can be a part of the process, the better product we’d end up making,” Dyke says.
The Charleston center will close July 30, following a farewell party on July 28. But Dyke stresses that Mira will return to South Carolina for wine dinners, and its wines will remain on local menus. “Bill Hall has been a great friend and a great partner,” says Dyke, who keeps the first check he received from Hall Management Group in a commemorative frame.