Adam Housley - President of Housley Napa Valley
By Craig Smith
Adam Housley is only in his forties, yet he has already lived a full and blessed life. Born and raised in Napa, he played minor league baseball, reaching AA and pitching for both the Milwaukee Brewers and Detroit Tigers. He left baseball for journalism career, and with Fox News probably covered more international stories than any other journalist. He and his wife Tamara (Mowery) Housley, co-host of The Real and star of Sister, Sister, are raising two children, Ariah and Aden. After 21 years away, the Housleys moved back to Napa. With all that, you’d think the guy deserves a break and a glass of wine, right?
Well, yes, and he’s enjoying his wine, only he’s doing it his way – as president of Housley Napa Valley and as the completely hands-on manager of their new tasting room, of the same name, at 1038 Clinton Street (the old UVA site). The room, opened in June, is already one of the most consistently busy rooms in the Valley. That’s because Housley runs it like a family business, with an eye on attracting locals.
“Our tasting start at $15 for a flight of four wines, or $20 for seven. We want locals to be able to say, ‘Let’s go have a taste before or after dinner.’ That shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. Same goes for visitors.” It seems to be working – at any given time, the guests at Housley are equal parts locals and tourists.
The family business model comes naturally to Housley – his parents opened the Ranch Markets in Napa and Yountville in 1976. They are down to earth, welcoming people who raised their kids to be the same way. “Everyone is welcome in our tasting room,” said Housley. “We don’t care who you are or what you look like, just as long as you are looking for a friendly environment.“ He, his wife Tamara and a co-star from Sister Sister designed the entire space, from wines to furniture to décor, with a living room in mind.
It also helps that their wines are good, solid wines. “These are good quality wines at a good price.” Housley specializes in small lot wines that can’t be found everywhere. Besides their own wines, Housley currently features wines from Guy Fieri, with other labels pending ABC licensing. Other products are mostly local – hats, shirts, candles, glassware. “Our chocolate is from Salinas – the farthest we go for anything.”
Housley left Napa after graduating from Vintage High. He attended and played baseball at Pepperdine, and later got his masters in International Relations and Terrorism. He loves foreign cultures; seeing how people and governments get along. “The world is really quite small, and it’s important to see and understand how people interact,” he said. After a few years playing professional baseball, he pursued his passion for news, joining Fox News and becoming one of the most recognizable faces covering national and international news. “I think I’ve covered 11 or 12 hurricanes, 2 tsunamis, the terror attack in San Bernardino, Hugo Chavez, and the trapped mine workers in Chile, Saddam Hussein – you name it, I was probably there,” he said.
He would still be on assignment, but the way news coverage has changed left him with a bad taste for the profession, which in his opinion, worsened with the Trump Presidency. “I didn’t leave because of the actions of the President, I left because that’s all the news we covered.” Housley said that the birth of twenty-four hour news and social media mean that the media doesn’t focus on the 95% of the issues on which viewers all agree, only the 5% on which they disagree.
He thought about leaving and diversifying his life. Then his niece, Alaina Housley, was shot and killed at a mass shooting in Southern California. The family was devastated. “That did it for my wife and me. Life is short, and we wanted to make the most of it.”
The Housley family has been in the wine business in Lodi for 42 years, and Housley thought it was time to open a tasting room in Napa. His wife was on-board from the start.
“I married into the wine business,” said Tamara Mowery-Housley. “I knew nothing about wine. I was one of those girls who waited until I was 21 before I ever tried alcohol.” It was pairing with food that first appealed to her. “I love food!” Wine was a big part of their courtship, and Mowery-Housley helped with harvests and bottling. “If I wasn’t a mom, I might go back to school and become a winemaker. Adam and I are a natural team in the wine business, as well as in every other way.” Opening the tasting room in Napa became increasingly necessary. “People were constantly asking me where they could try our wines,” said Mowery-Housley.
Napa has doubled in size since Housley first lived here, but has retained its small-town feel. “We went to the 4th of July parade, and loved it,” said Housley. As for the location of the tasting room on Clinton Street, Housley chose it over a First Street location for a good reason. “I can look out front and see trees and the creek. How great is that?”
Housley Napa Valley is open Thursday through Monday, until 9 pm on weekends. Call 690-9192 or visit housleynapavalley.com.
Open Thursday through Monday | Open Until 9 pm on weekends 690-9192 | housleynapavalley.com