After filming for several hours, promoting new movies and projects, helping with harvests, spending time with the children, and running a tasting room, there’s no doubt about it — Tamera Mowry-Housley deserves to take a break.
“I love to drink wine when I’m cooking. It has become a thing. So when I cook dinner, I have to start with a glass of wine. It just makes me more relaxed,” says Mowry-Housley, the star of Hallmark’s newest holiday film, “The Santa Stakeout,” which debuted in October.
She continues, “I’m a foodie, and I love the whole aspect of pairing food and how wine elevates your tasting experience. And also, being a mom, it kinda calms my nerves a bit as well.”
Enjoying a glass while tinkering over the stove has become a peaceful routine for the mother of two. However, Mowry-Housley’s journey with wine expands far beyond just drinking it.
From Hollywood to Napa
For five years, Mowry-Housley and her twin sister Tia Mowry-Hardrict entertained audiences with their family sitcom “Sister, Sister,” which aired on ABC and later WB in the mid to late 1990s. Mowry-Housley has since appeared in several other shows and movies — many of which have aired on the Hallmark channel as part of their “Countdown to Christmas” roster — and she’s starred as one of the hosts of the Emmy award-winning syndicated daytime talk show “The Real.”
Nowadays, when she’s not on set appearing in or producing a television show or film, Mowry-Housley finds herself keeping busy with her second career of sorts. She is the co-owner of Housley Napa Valley, the winery established by her father-in-law more than 20 years ago, which Mowry-Housley now operates alongside her husband, Adam Housley.
“I have been a part of every aspect of it,” Mowry-Housley says.
Yet although she grew to love the wines her husband’s family made with grapes from their Napa Valley vineyard, Mowry-Housley never thought she would play a role in its legacy when she married into the family.
“My father-in-law wanted to sell it because it was just a lot of work. He’s very hands-on, but he was getting to that age where it was becoming too much. My husband asked me if I wanted to do this because winemaking was not in the cards when we first started dating. I said, yeah, why not? I love our wine. It’s amazing,” Mowry-Housley recalls.
Today, she is involved in every part of the winery’s day-to-day function, from harvest and bottling to picking out the labels. It was also her idea to open a tasting room in downtown Napa.
More than just a place to sip glasses of Housley Napa Valley’s wines — like the fresh, crisp, and incredibly aromatic River Ranch Chardonnay 2017 or the jammy and spicy Inez’s Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel 2016 — the tasting room has become an inclusive, family-friendly neighborhood gem recognized for its welcoming environment. It’s a place where folks don’t need to come decked out in their fanciest attire. Reservations aren’t required. And just about everyone who walks in leaves out feeling like a member of the family, especially after they’ve shared a glass and a conversation with Mowry-Housley’s father, retired Army First Sergeant Tim Mowry, who is often working behind the bar.
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“We wanted it to be a tasting experience and very inclusive. There are people who live in the Bay Area that never come up to Napa. Can you believe that? Living in Oakland, living in San Jose, and these areas around San Francisco and never getting up to Napa because they felt that they just weren’t going to feel seen, or heard, or understood, or most importantly welcomed,” Mowry-Housley says. “We’re on the Silverado Trail, and there are hundreds of posh tasting rooms and wineries to visit. We wanted to create a place that’s elegant and sophisticated but also comfortable.”
A winemaking future
Now that so much of Mowry-Housley’s life has become immersed in wine, she’s interested in taking her journey even further.
“Whenever I can have time off, I actually want to take classes. I want to go to the University of California, Davis and study how to make wine,” Mowry-Housley says.
The time spent helping her husband with Housley Napa Valley has opened her eyes to all the possibilities that come with working in wine. And while she notes that running a winery is no easy feat, she enjoys the process that comes with the final product and the chance to create something that people can enjoy.
As for her work in entertainment, Mowry-Housley expects that to continue, especially regarding the holiday franchise she’s building with Hallmark.
“I know that this is something that my entire family can watch, and it’s something that I can be very proud of. I love Christmas. I love how Hallmark usually shoots their movies. It’s like I’m addicted. I do one, and then I immediately want to do another. I like being a part of the stories they tell, which, a lot of the time, are about persevering spirits, giving a person a second chance, hope, love,” she says.
Mowry-Housley also likes to drink wine on the regular. Of course, Housley Napa Valley is a mainstay at her home, and she’s a big fan of the winery’s “dark fruit and peppery, perfectly balanced” Estate Judy’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2017. However, she’s prone to popping bottles of Cabernet from other producers too. She recommends three of her favorites to turn to when she’s off the clock and winding down with her family after a long day.
3 Napa Valley Cab Sauvs to try:
With its toasted spice and purple plum aromas, this Cabernet Sauvignon produced by Elyse Winery is one Mowry-Housley often turns to when she’s breaking out the pots and pans. Though she enjoys it with food, this lush and medium-body style Cab is one she likes to sip on when she’s preparing the meal. “If I’m making some spaghetti or some steak or something and I want a really good, nice solid glass of red, this is one of my go-to wines,” she says.
This garnet-purple Cabernet Sauvignon, produced by the Mexican-owned winery Bazán Cellars, is a wine that Mowry-Housley often shares with guests. “When I have people over, and I want to impress them with a glass of red wine, this is one I know is always going to be nice. It’s definitely a crowd-pleaser,” Mowry-Housley says. “If you want to taste luxury, here you go.”
Produced by Domaine Curry — the winery partnership between cookbook author, restaurateur, and food TV personality Ayesha Curry, her sister-in-law Sydel Curry, and John Schwartz of Napa’s Coup de Foudre winery — this bottle is another staple. Comprised of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon,10% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the wine is rich in fragrances of dark cherry, lavender, and pencil shavings while the medium-to-full-body palate is saturated in black cherry nuances. A big and bold wine, Mowry-Housley believes this is worth every bit of the price. “It tastes like what it’s worth,” she says.