Despite having two lakes within its borders and a river sort of running through it, Napa County, Calif., is not—and never will be—a high-performance boating destination. But that didn’t stop Skater Powerboats 28 catamaran owners Erik and Julie Breckenfelder of Fort Myers, Fla., from enjoying a visit this week to the wine-country hotbed.
They even found navigable water—as you can see from the image above taken at Amizetta Estate Winery in St. Helena—in the form of Lake Hennessey, though their 28-footer soon to be repowered by 400-hp Mercury Racing outboard engines is far too large and powerful for the mostly shallow, 31,000-acre-foot reservoir. (Lake Hennessey is the primary water source for the City of Napa.)
What brought the Breckenfelders to Napa? First–go figure—they love wine and have been coming to the valley for years.
Second, they won a Napa Valley Wine Experience donated by Peacock Family Vineyard and Speedonthewater.com during Saturday night’s live auction at the 2022 Boyne Thunder Poker Run in Northern Michigan. So while they reaped the benefits of being high-bidders, children involved in the event’s primary charities—Camp Quality Michigan and Challenge Mountain—will benefit from their generosity.
After a cold but remarkable week in Napa, the Breckenfelders are ready to warm up in their 28-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran.
As you read this, Erik and Julie Breckenfelder are on a flight back to Southwest Florida. Their wine will ship next week, but in the meantime they are taking home memories from La Sirena—famed wine-maker Heidi Barrett’s own brand—Amizetta Estate Winery, Peacock Family Vineyard, Chase Cellars and other boutique brands. They enjoyed a fancy Friday night dinner at Farm Restaurant at the Carneros Inn and killer burgers and duck-fat fries, washed down with Mersault White Burgundy (French wine in Napa? Hell yes.) the next evening at Compline Restaurant and Wine Shop, a local favorite just a short stroll from the Archer Hotel, their home away from home for the weekend.
“In coming to Northern California wine country for more than 20 years, this was our first instance in having interactions with the local wine community, from unique inside access to some of the most sought-after wineries in Northern California to learning new production methods and how closely the wine community as a whole work so closely together,” said Erik Breckenfelder. “Best wine trip ever.”
Despite that they lived in Chicago for years before fleeing to Southwest Florida, the Breckenfelders are ready to get warm again as it rained for much of their Napa stay. And soon enough, they’ll be back on the water in their 28-footer.
And they’ll have plenty of beautiful wine to enjoy on land until the cat’s repower job is complete.
Though there’s no place like home, Napa Valley comes pretty close for Erik and Julie Breckenfelder, who have visited the area many times.
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