Recently in Napa Valley Category

Top Five Reasons to Catch a Show at Uptown Theatre this Summer

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chrisIsaak_UptownTheater.jpg#1.   Best Headline Entertainment in the Valley!
The Uptown Theatre offers headline entertainment in a world class environment.  Uptown is a beautifully restored art deco period theatre originally opening in 1937 and brought back to its glory with state of the art sound system, lighting and comfortable seating.  Uptown Theatre has hosted a myriad of top named artists and this summer will be hosting hit-maker Kenny Loggins, comedian Lisa Lampanelli, crooner Chris Isaak, southern rock group The Marshall Tucker Band, comedian Dana Carvey and a special stop by Dave Mason and his Traffic Jam tour. 

More shows are always being added to the already amazing summer lineup so check the schedule regularly or subscribe to their newsletter for new show announcements here.

#2.  Beat the Heat in the Most Comfortable Venue in Town!  
The seats at Uptown are extra cushy and the leg room extra spacious. Customers have coined the catch phrase "Every Seat is a Great Seat" due to the wide aisles, soft slope of the floor and the best sound quality in Northern California. Not only is this theatre lovingly restored with beautifully appointed period murals and gold accents but whether you're in the front row or the last, the sound quality is just as good and the sight lines are great from every vantage point.  And best of all?  It's Air-conditioned!  Beat the heat after a long summer day of wine tasting, bike riding or sight-seeing by getting indoors where only the entertainment is HOT!

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#3.  Located in the Hub of Napa Valley!
Uptown Theatre is located in the heart of downtown Napa, which has become the hub of Napa Valley. Only a few steps and blocks away are world-class wines and restaurants. Dine at restaurants like Chef Morimoto's namesake restaurant for fresh, expertly prepared seafood and sushi.  You can never go wrong with dinner at Cole's Chop House for the very best in an American Steakhouse, or the newest restaurant along Main Street, Torc for elegant yet authentic California Cuisine with global influences.  There are scores of casual dining places in addition to a popping night scene where you can grab drink or glass of fine wine before or after a show at one of many wine bars that keep cropping up in downtown Napa.

Wine Tasting Itinerary: Two Sides of Carneros: Napa & Sonoma

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American Canyon is the southern-most city in Napa County and is a wonderful spot to stay when visiting Napa or Sonoma Wine Country. Stay at one of the three hotels that boast spacious rooms, top-notch service, meeting space and a luxurious spa.

Then, let your wine tasting experience begin! Get in your car and within a few minutes of driving along Highway 29 you'll start to see the beautiful vineyards of Napa Valley. A hop skip and a jump away is the Carneros Appellation, located at the crossroads of two major wine regions, Napa and Sonoma Valley. This wine appellation is is home  to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sparkling wine and where you will spend the day wine tasting in this itinerary!

Acacia Vineyard, 2750 Las Amigas Road, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 226-9991

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  • $15 Per Couple - Tasting Flight - 2 for 1 with WineCountry.com Mobile App
  • 10 AM - Allow One Hour
  • See the entire San Francisco Bay Area from Acacia. They celebrate "Locavore Lifestyle" which is the support of family-owned and small businesses producing fresh artisanal products, like themselves. They make several single vineyard Pinot Noirs. Single Vineyard means that every grape in the bottle came from one small plot of land, thus, you can point to exactly where the grapes grew.
  • Reservations: Required
  • Directions to Next Stop: (Allow 18 minutes for travel) R on Las Amigas Rd. for .3 mi., R on Duhig Rd. for 2.2 mi., L on CA 12/121 for 5.8 mi., stay left to remain on CA 121 for 1.1 mi., L on Arnold Drive (at 4 way flashing light) for .6 mi., Turn R on Wagner Rd, (sign for Gloria Ferrer on your R)

Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, 23555 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 996-7256
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  • $20 Per Couple - A Glass of Sparkling on the Patio
  • 11:15 AM - Allow One Hour
  • Reservation: Not Required
  • One of the most impressive views in Carneros. Take advantage of the patio to soak of up some rays of sunshine and fabulous bubbles. Take a moment in their Spanish hacienda to shop. Always something fun in stock! Gloria and Jose Ferrer came to Carneros to plant vineyards when it was mostly prime cattle and sheep grazing areas in 1980.
  • Directions to Next Stop: (Allow 8 minutes for travel) L on Arnold Rd for .6 mi., Turn R on CA 121/Freemont Dr. for 2.7 mi., Fremont Diner is on your L


Fourth of July Festivities in Wine Country

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Check out family friendly festivities in wine country this 4th of July. Take the kids to the parade and fireworks on Friday, and then get in some adult fun aka "wine tasting" over the weekend! 

LIVERMORE/TRI-VALLEY

>> See more 4th of July events here

Alameda County Fair - Concert & Fireworks Spectacular
Pack up the entire family and bring them to the Alameda County Fair! Before the fireworks, sit back, relax and enjoy a free Concert Series Blues Festival (1pm-9pm) Later, watch the night sky come to life with the return of the 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular (9:45pm)! This show promises to live up to its name with non-stop, razzle-dazzle fireworks set to music and a cool video tribute to Alameda County.

4th of July Parade in Downtown Danville
Park yourself curbside and cheer on the bands, gymnasts, scouts and other community organizations as they proudly march by. Horses and other animals will pace the route, while antique cars inch along for your enjoyment.


calistogaJuly4thParade_2014.jpgNAPAVALLEY
>> See more 4th of July events here

Join American Canyon for a spectacular July 4th celebration. The all-day event will include the morning parade, fun and free activities, contests and relays for the whole family, food and entertainment, and end with evening fireworks.

Enjoy the parade through downtown Calistoga,  and then head on over to the fairgrounds and enjoy picnicking on the lawn, live music & entertainment, fun games & contests, Kids Kountry, chef demonstrations & wine tasting, carnival rides & attractions, fine arts & photography shows, flowers, farms & garden exhibits, youth art & craft show, and of course, Fireworks!

SONOMA

Come celebrate Kenwood's hometown patriotic pride that only their picturesque town can supply! View parade entries of animals, classic vehicles, music, bicycles, Uncle Sam, and more are welcomed. New this year - after the parade, there will be jazz in the park!  Bring the whole family and join Kenwood on the 4th for all the fun!

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More than just a fireworks show - bring the whole family for an afternoon and evening of food, live music, and a ton of kid's activities (watermelon eating contest, jumpy houses, face painters, clowns and more). The evening will conclude with an amazing fireworks show simulcast live to music by our friends at KZST 100.1 FM
Weil Hall Green Music Center invites all to enjoy a concert by Judy Collins and post concert 4th of July Fireworks along with patriotic mainstays that include "America the Beautiful," "This Land is Your Land," and "God Bless America."

4th of July at Spoonbar Restaurant in Healdsburg
Celebrate life, liberty and the American picnic! Groove to the sounds of the Easy Leaves Duo and enjoy a delicious family-style menu by Chef Louis Maldonado, recent 2014 Top Chef Finalist and Last Chance Kitchen Winner. We've got cocktails to match, too! 


Annual Summer Music Festivals

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Chris_Isaak_1_1_227_201_c1.jpgRodney Strong Vineyards Concert Series (June 21st - August 31st)
What better way to enjoy the summer in Sonoma County than surrounded by beautiful vineyards while soaking up the sounds of music's top artists. Rodney Strong Vineyards will open their new patio to Chris Isaak (July 13), famous Jazz Trumpeter Chris Botti, Minidi Abair, Spencer Day,  & Elliot Yamin (July 26),  Tower of Power & Jonathan Butler (August 31). Enjoy music, award-winning wines all on the lush green lawn. Bring your blankets, chairs and picnic basket!



Robert Mondavi Concert Series (June 28th - July 19th)
One of the wine country's most popular concert events, the highly-anticipated series will begin on Saturday, June 28th with Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Then get amped to hear legendary artists Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (July 5th), Five for Fighting (July 12th), Dave Koz and Friends (July 18th) and then Colbie Caillat closes it out on July 19th!  These tickets always sell out so make sure to get yours early!
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Festival Del Sole (July 11th - 20th)
Every July, all of Napa Valley is on stage during Festival del Sole. The ten-day summer celebration artfully blends one-of-a-kind lifestyle programs and Napa's incomparable wines and culinary delights.

The region's beauty is the backdrop for breathtaking performances, vintner's luncheons, winery dinners, wine tastings, community concerts and rejuvenating wellness activities.

View Schedule & Performing Artists and Buy Tickets and Passes Online!




2015 EVENTS

For 2015 dates on the following annual events, be sure to check back often!

MAY 2015
Bottlerock Napa Valley  (Dates TBA)
The 2014 3 day music festival featured the likes of OutKast, The Cure, Eric Church, Matt & Kim, LLCoolJ and dozens more along with the signature Napa Valley wine and food.

June 2015
Healdsburg Jazz Festival (Dates TBA)
The premier Healdsburg Jazz Festival 2014 featured name artists and dozens of jazz-related events; everything from a Blues Brunch to Jazz and winery dinners.  Experience the music of famed performers Charlie Musselwhite, Joshua Redman, Ron Carter, Marc Cary, Poncho Sanchez, Bill Charlap & Renee Rosnes and special guest Bobby Hutcherson, plus many more. See them perform in various venues including the historic Raven Theater, the glamorous Hotel Healdsburg, boutique restaurants and local wineries. 

Napa Valley Jazz Getaway (Dates TBA)
2014's fun and exciting lineup featured legendary artists like guest comedian Keenen Ivory Wayans, Eric Benét, Morris Day & The Time, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Earl Klugh, Mavis Staples and many more! Listen to great music, taste fabulous wine, and eat at some of the most beautiful wineries in Napa Valley.

Memorial Day Events in Wine Country

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  • 1077613_10151788265599294_336624506_o.jpgBeringer Vineyards - Passport Tasting
  • Explore the picturesque property as you progress through this walk-around tasting. Savor a highlight from the wine portfolio matched with an inspired summer pairing by Beringer's Chef Maurine Sarjeant at each of the four tasting stations. Live music and bocce are also part of the fun. More Details
  • Memorial Day Ceremony
  • Come out for an Old Fashioned Decoration Day Commemoration! Honor the day with special activities. Lemonade and cakes will be served and flags will decorate the graves. The cemetery gate will be open for public vehicle drive through from 9am-4pm on Sunday and Monday. This is the only time of the year that the general public may drive in. More Details.
  • Paris Tasting Chardonnay Release Party at Grgich Hills Estate
  • Join Mike and family at Grgich Hills Estate to celebrate the release of the newest vintage of this exceptional wine with an afternoon devoted to savoring delicious wine paired with small bites of food. To honor Mike's legacy; the winery showcases its best Chardonnay vines to create this limited-production wine with Mike's woodcut image on the label. More Details.

  • Russian River Valley Pinot Classic
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  • The Pinot Classic will consist of several events and will showcase the region's premier Pinot Noir wines. Festivities include the Passport to Pinot whree more than 30 wineries and amazing producers offer ticket holders exclusive experiences like barrel tastings (a glimpse of the 2013 vintage), library and vertical tasting, food pairings, artist tours, vineyard tours, and much more! More Details.
  • San Ramon Arts & Wine Festival
  • This free, family-friendly 27th annual event highlights nearly 200 talented artists from California and beyond exhibiting and selling their work over Memorial Day weekend.The festival also features professional kite flying demonstrations, arts & crafts booths, entertainment on 3 stages, puppet shows, two large kids' activity areas, food booths by local non-profits and more! Join us early on Monday, May 26 for a 6am hot air balloon launch. Bring the family for a spectacular close up view of 6 hot air balloons as they lift slowly into the sky (weather dependent). More Details.
  • Santa Rosa Memorial Park - Avenue of Flags
  • Celebrate freedom by honoring the men and women who have served our country. Highlights Include: dedication of the gold star bench, live music, face painting with Twizzle the Clown, and a visit with Sonoma Humane Society dogs and volunteers. Take time to stroll the park grounds to see the 1,000 American flags we've placed on military service personnel grave sites. More Details -
  • Smooth Melodies in Chateau St. Jean's Garden
  • Sip our 90+ point wines while listening to the smooth acoustic soul of musician Kenya Baker. Baker's repertoire of jazz, R&B, pop, easy listening, blues, and original compositions is the perfect complement to a sunny afternoon in the garden during Memorial Day Weekend.More Details.
  • White Party at Imagery Estate Winery
  • Put on your brightest whites and sip away the afternoon with Joe Benziger and the Imagery crew as we celebrate in style the release of our new white wines. Celebrity Chef and Code Blue Artist, Bob Blumer will be grilling pizzas and signing his new book, "Pizza on the Grill." More Details

BottleRock Napa Valley

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Top Chefs and Wineries Create a Unique BottleRock Napa Valley Festival
with Signature Wine Country Style

BottleRock Napa Valley sits at the epicenter of America's wine and food playground, and the 2014 event May 30-June 1 delivers an impressive line up of Napa Valley and Northern California's best chefs, restaurants and wineries for a gustatory festival experience that is second to none. And of course, let's not forget the music! This year's lineup features an exciting and diverse set of artists, bands and performers, including The Cure, Outkast, Eric Church, Weezer, The Fray, Heart, LL Cool Jay with DJ Z-Trip, Matt & Kim, Deerhunter, Matisyahu, Sublime with Rome, Gin Blossoms, Spin Doctors, Third Eye Blind and dozens more.

bottleRock2014Image.jpgSituated on four stages on 26 acres just blocks from Downtown Napa, more than 60 artists on four stages are surrounded by superstar vintners like Miner Family Winery, Cakebread Cellars and Schramberg and restaurants including Morimoto, Angele, The Thomas and Oakville Grocery.  Iconic chefs Ken Frank of La Toque, Richard Reddington of Redd, and Oenotri's Tyler Rodde headline the culinary stage in the Platinum Lounge with Master Sommeliers pouring rare wines, only in wine country.

"BottleRock Napa Valley is all about blending great music, food and wine...It really is a feast for your senses" said Latitude 38's CEO David Graham. "Fans will experience rock star on so many levels: top chefs and culinary superstars, world class winemakers and amazing musicians all rocking out together making BottleRock totally unique. There's just no other music festival that matches the quality of wine and food offerings BottleRock provides."

With a craft brew garden, restaurant garden, food truck rally and wine cabanas and full bars conveniently located all across the festival grounds, guests will find no shortage of opportunity to wine and dine BottleRock Napa Valley style.

Tickets Are Still Available!
3-Day VIP passes ($599), general admission 3-Day passes ($279) and single-day passes ($149) can be purchased at www.bottlerocknapavalley.com or www.ticketfly.com or charge by phone at 877.4.FLY.TIX (435.9849).) A very limited number of 3-Day Platinum Passes ($3000), and Single-Day Platinum Passes ($1,000) are also available.



Get in Gear! Celebrate National Bike Month in Wine Country

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national-bike-month-250x250.jpgThe month of May is National Bike Month! If you're local or live near a wine region, why not bike to work (May 16th is National Bike to Work Day) or get outdoors and get healthy by riding by yourself or with friends and family around your community.

Visiting wine country? There are several bike tour & sightseeing companies that offer you the chance to see the beautiful vineyards of Napa Valley or Sonoma up close and personal while riding a bike. Visit several wineries, taste wine, have a gourmet wine country lunch, and get exercise all at the same time. It's a wonderful way to experience wine country. Check out two featured tour companies below!

Napa Valley Bike Tours or Sonoma Valley Bike Tours
Experience Napa or Sonoma vineyards up close! Join groups led by a local, knowledgeable tour guide, or go rent bikes and go on a self guided tour with the help of route maps and advice and support.  Cycle along country roads or ride off-road through the vineyards, away from the beaten path. One rider says "This was far and away our favorite way to see wine country". Others also rave about their bike riding trips.

napa-valley-bike-tours-vineyards-group.jpgGetaway Adventures
Bike along country roads while visiting family owned wineries or spend 3-6 days exploring the best of Napa and Sonoma on a multi-day tour. Currently, there are 8 different bike tours to choose from and ach ride includes a gourmet lunch. The bike routes are geared towards "Enthusiastic Beginners" are mainly flat with only a few bumps here and there. Need a higher level of difficulty, just let them know in advance.

getaway-adventures-bike-ride.jpgIn addition, wineries like Clif Family Winery aka Velo Vino invite you to Spin and Sip with them throughout the year! Visit the tasting room located in St. Helena where you can taste Clif Family Wines, enjoy a snack or an espresso drink, and embark on a world-class cycling excursion, all in the heart of Napa Valley.

>> Napa Valley - Things to Do
>> Sonoma County - Things to Do
>> National Bike Month

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Playing in Napa & Sonoma

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Photos by Eric Chazankin

Lucky Penny Productions' Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has been described as stylish, sexy, irreverent, and "Broadway musical comedy heaven." It's based on the Michael Caine-Steve Martin film of the same name from 1988 (based on the 1964 film "Bedtime Story" starring Marlon Brando, David Niven and Shirley Jones.)

Now playing at 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa through April 13th. Buy tickets online or call box office at 707.523.3544 ext 1  for availability.

Starting April 25th- May 4th, catch this highly entertaining affair at the newly renovated Napa Valey Opera House, now City Winery! Buy tickets online or call 707.260.1600;

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Ticket prices range from $25-$35 per show and are showing on the following dates at City Winery:
  • Friday, April 25th - 8pm
  • Saturday, April 26 - 8pm
  • Sunday, April 27th - 2pm
  • Friday, May 2nd - 8pm
  • Saturday, May 3rd - 8pm
  • Sunday, May 4th - 2pm
More About the Show:

Directed by Craig A. Miller
Based on the popular 1988 film, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels centers on two con men living on the French Riviera. Lawrence Jameson (Barry Martin) makes his lavish living by talking rich ladies out of their money. Freddy Benson (Rob Broadhurst) more humbly swindles women by waking their compassion with fabricated stories about his grandmother's failing health. After meeting on a train, they attempt to work together only to find that this small French town isn't big enough for the two of them. They agree on a settlement: the first one to extract $50,000 from a young female target, heiress Christine Colgate (Taylor Bartolucci) wins and the other must leave town. A hilarious battle of cons ensues that will keep audiences laughing, humming, and guessing to the end!


Napa Valley Arts in April - 2014 Event Highlights

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  • April 3, 2014 - Chimney Rock Winery Artist Reception
    Visit the winery on Thursday, April 3 for a special reception from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Meet the artist and enjoy a complimentary wine tasting paired with light appetizers while Clifford creates his next work of art!  Not able to make it to this event? No worries! Visit Chimney Rock any time during the year.
  • April 3, 2014 - Napa Valley Collects Preview Party
  • Napa Valley Collects, honoring the region's private art collectors, is a three-month exhibition presented at the Napa Valley Museum, in partnership with Arts Council Napa Valley and Visit Napa Valley. Please join the collectors at the preview party on Thursday, April 3 from 6-9pm to enjoy live music, fine Napa Valley wines, and hors d'oeuvres by Auberge du Soleil.
  • April 6, 2014 - St. Supery with Artist Suong Yangchareon
  • Join artist, Suong Yangchareon, for artist-led tours of his artwork on display at St. Supéry. Yangchareon is a master of painting the urban landscapes of California with a special focus on the city of L.A. and vanishing movie theaters. Explore his works in intimate group tours followed by small bites and wine with the artist.
  • April 6, 2014 - Napa's Riverfront Chalk Festival
  • Napa's Riverfront Chalk Festival 2014 kicks off Napa's week-long festivities celebrating Arts in April. Bring the children to join in the fun at the Children's Chalk Walk area. Vote for your favorite chalk art and see who wins at the 2:30pm Awards ceremony.
  • April 10, 2014 - Artist Reception at Bardessono
  • In conjunction with Andrea Schwartz Gallery, Bardesssono and Lucy Restaurant and Bar invite you to join our artist reception and meet the local artists who show regularly at the property: John Belingheri, Barbara Kronlins, Tom Bolles, Tim Yankosky, Donald Bradford and John Bonick. Wine tastings will be served by Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley, and light fare will be provided by Lucy.
  • April 7-11, 2014 - Robert Mondavi Winery Art Collection Tour
  • guests are invited to enjoy a complimentary tour of the winery's permanent Beniamino Bufano collection once daily at 11:00 am. In addition, the paintings of artists Margrit Mondavi, Thomas Bartlett and Jim Evans will be on display in the winery's Vineyard Room. A wine tasting will be included in the tour.
  • April 12, 2014 - Napa Slow Art Day at Di Rosa Art Preserve
  • Slow Art Day is a worldwide celebration of art that encourages people to look at art slowly -- and thereby experience art in a new way. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own picnic  and enjoy the scenic views from our Olive Grove at di Rosa.
  • April 14-20, 2014 - Peju Province Winery Featuring Christopher Hill Gallery
  • Enjoy our art exhibit Monday, April 14th through the Sunday, April 20th between the hours of 1pm and 4pm daily where we'll be featuring contemporary art from The Christopher Hill Gallery in St. Helena. Enjoy a complimentary wine tasting while you browse our upstairs gallery featuring the artwork of well known artists Mario Garcia Miro, TS Harris, Marsha Taylor and Benjamin Anderson.
  • April 17, 2014 - A New Perspective on Napa Valley
  • Join winery members of the Napa Valley Vintners and art photographer Sam Aslanian for an evening of wine tasting, light bites and a private viewing of some of the art prints from "Perspective Napa Valley." Within the pages of this unique coffee table book are captured scenes of life in Napa Valley in both photographs and chapter essays: from culture, history and civic life to the bucolic towns and vintner community, as well as the geology, climate and geography that make this place so perfect for the growing of fine wine grapes.
  • April 19, 2014 - Beaulieu Vineyards: Art, Wine, Soiree & Silent Auction
  • Join Beaulieu Vineyards for a unique fusion of art and wine! Featuring local artist Penelope Moore, live music and afternoon hor d'oeuvres. Each of Penelope's paintings will be paired with a sinfully selected bottle of BV wine. During the event, guests will have the opportunity to bid on each pairing.
  • April 20, 2014 - Yountville Art, Sip & Stroll
  • This event features Public Art Walk artists Boback Emad, Gordon Huether, Lorenzo Mills and  Clayton Thiel. They will be joined at their sculptures by Yountville Appellation wineries pouring tastes of their wines, paired with a tasty sweet or savory bite from our local restaurants.


Press Release: City Winery Napa at the Historic Napa Valley Opera House

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Opening Shows & Artist Line Up

City Winery Napa at the Historic Napa Valley Opera House is very proud to announce the much-anticipated artist lineup from the soft launch in April through June 2014.  Over the next few weeks ten new concert dates a week will be released until the complete schedule of approximately twenty shows per month is announced. All shows begin at 8pm unless otherwise noted. Tickets available at citywinery.com.

  • Bruce Cockburn : Thursday, April 10 ($35-45)
  • Jay Farrar of Son Volt: Wednesday, April 16 ($26-30)
  • Paris Combo: Thursday, April 17 ($25-35)
  • Lydia Pense & Cold Blood: Thursday, May 8 ($20-25)
  • Karla Bonoff: Friday, May 9 ($20-30)
  • Allen Toussaint: Friday, May 16 ($25-30)
  • John Mayall: Friday, May 23 ($40-50)
  • Leo Kottke: Saturday, May 24 ($30-40
  • Maria Muldaur: Friday, May 30 ($15-25)
  • Red Molly: Thursday, June 12 ($15-20)
  • Milk Carton Kids: Monday, June 16 ($15-25)
  • 10,000 Maniacs: Saturday, June 21 ($40-50)
  • Lewis Black: July 10, 11, 12 ($55-75)

Ring in the New Year in Napa Valley & Sonoma

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Ring in the New Year with dinners, parties, and other adult and family friendly festivities in Napa Valley and Sonoma this year. See our round up of event highlights and check out our calendar for more events!

Napa Valley New Year's Eve Event Highlights

  • calistogaChamber_NewYearsEve.jpgCelebrate! New Year's Eve Bash in Calistoga
  • Napa Valley is inviting you to enjoy their spectacular New Year's Eve Bash in Calistoga! Kick off the festivities with fine dining at your choice of participating restaurant. After dinner, the party continues at the Fairgrounds Events Center with a premium no-host bar featuring Stella Artois, Charbay cocktails, and Napa Valley wines. Delight in party favors and an over-the-top dessert bar while you dance the night away to classic party tunes performed by Double Funk Crunch. Wrap up the evening with a midnight toast with Schramsberg. So grab your friends and family and join the celebration! CLICK HERE for more details.


  • New Year's Eve Blackjack Ball on Napa Valley Wine Train
  • The annual Blackjack Ball kicks off the New Year in style aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, with sparkling wine, gourmet food and a twilight ride through Napa Valley. Executive Chef Kelly Macdonald and his culinary team shine as they prepare multi-course gourmet meals to order in the kitchen car. CLICK HERE for more details.

  • Enjoy an exquisite five-course tasting menu at étoile Restaurant, delightfully paired with a selection of sparkling and still wines. Then dance the night away to  live music provided by Blue Moon Band in the Tasting Lounge. CLICK HERE for more details








Sonoma County New Year's Eve Event Highlights

  • Alchemy New Year's Eve Party at Spoonbar at H2Hotel
  • an out of this world New Year's Eve party planned at Spoonbar featuring famed San Francisco DJ J Boogie and a special 5 course celebration menu from Chef Louis Maldonado (Bravo's Top Chef Season 11 Contestant) with treats from start to finish. CLICK HERE for more details.
  • Great Bashby Club Midnight
  • Ring in the New Year in Sonoma Wine Country at the The Greaty Bashby which includes a casino, dancing, no host bar, heavy hors d' oeuvres, DJ, silent auction and midnight champagne toast. It's a party you won't want to miss! CLICK HERE for more details

**Visit the Wine Country Event Calendar for a list of all New Year's Eve parties, dinners, festivals, marked on the holiday calendar for December 31st

Special Guest Appearance! Colin Farrell at Napa Valley Film Festival

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Colin Farrell in attendance at this year's Napa Valley Film Festival?! You heard right!

colin-farrell-image1.jpgCelebrities and Festival Honorees Director John Hancock (Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks), Dianna Agron (Glee, The Family) and Miles Teller (Rabbit Hole) are already scheduled to be part of the festivities at this year's Napa Valley Film Festival as part of the Celebrity Tribute.
However, we just got word that Colin Farrell will also be in attendance as a special guest for the film Saving Mr. Banks.

On Thursday, November 14, the Napa Valley Opera House will host a red carpet screening of Saving Mr. Banks, directed by John Lee Hancock and starring Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell. Both Mr. Hancock and Mr. Farrell will be in attendance with other special guests.

Following the film, members of the festival's exclusive Patron Circle and Pass Plus holders join filmmakers and sponsors at the biggest party of the week at 500 First Street in Napa for the spectacular Festival Gala from 8:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. At the Gala, attendees will enjoy live entertainment from half a dozen different acts, and culinary offerings and exclusive wine pairings from more than 25 Napa Valley top chefs and wineries. As the night moves on into the wee hours, the party will debut a VIP lounge on the building's mezzanine level for cocktails, nibbles and late night dancing.



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Other Napa Valley Film Festival Articles:

Any guesses on which film will be the darling of this year's Napa Film Fest? See what we have our eye on. First up is . . .

See films BEFORE they hit the big screen!


Napa Valley Film Festival - Must See Films!

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Last year, at the Napa Valley Film Festival, Somm was the runaway hit that had all attendees abuzz with excitement and rave reviews. Lines were around the corner at every screening and #NVFF even added, last minute, additional times to the schedule to accommodate the huge demand. Any guesses on which film will be the darling of this year's Napa Film Fest? See what we have our eye on. First up is . . .

The Narrative Features Category

THE LITTLE TIN MAN
Looks quirky, fun, and just the right amount of sap to make this of one our favs going in!

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Film Description: The Little Tin Man is the story of a quest for the role of a lifetime: the Tin Man in Martin Scorsese's (fictional) remake of The Wizard of Oz. It's also an intelligent and humorous exploration of a struggling actor's big dreams and staunch refusal to accept the status quo. Tired of accepting typecast roles based on his small size and unfulfilled working in his brother's restaurant, Herman is ready for something different. When he's asked to audition for the Mayor of Munchkinland, he takes the opportunity to aim just a little bit higher. .  .
Showtimes:
  • WED, 13 Nov | 5:30pm | Gliderport | Calistoga
  • FRI, 15 Nov | 1:00pm | Cadillac Theater | Napa 
  • SAT, 16 Nov | 10:00am | Farmstead | St. Helena
  • SUN, 17 Nov | 8:30pm | YCC Theater | Yountville
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nvff-red-obsession-film.jpgRED OBSESSION (79 min)
Obsessed with wine much? Whowouldathunk...

Film Description: For centuries, the French region of Bordeaux has commanded a mythical status inthe world of wine. It stands as a symbol of wealth, power, and influence. However, its prosperity has always been linked to the capricious nature of markets and the shifting fortunes of global economies. China's new super wealthy have pushed prices to stratospheric levels. Despite unprecedented demand for a finite product, Bordeaux's new clients want it all. Will the Chinese market be the bubble that never bursts or the biggest threat yet to Bordeaux's reputation? Beautifully filmed, narrated by Russell Crowe, and featuring numerous luminaries from the wine world, this film by co-directors David Roach and Warwick Ross is a love letter to French wine and those who cannot live without it. 

Showtimes:
  • TUE, 12 Nov | 6:00 pm YCC THEATER | Yountville 
  • THUR, 14 Nov | 8:30 pm GLIDERPORT | Calistoga 
  • SAT, 16 Nov | 5:30 pm OPERA HOUSE | Napa 

New to Napa Valley Film Fest - Lifestyle Pavilion

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In it's third year, the Napa Valley Film Festival (November 13-17, 2013) is upping the ante of hip and sophistication with the addition of the swank Lifestyle Pavilion.

nvff-lifestyle-pavilion.jpgThe Pavilion will be centrally located in downtown Napa's Oxbow Market and open to passholders and the public Friday, November 15th - Sunday, November 17th, 10am - 6pm. Experience the latest innovation in cars, technology, and culinary trends; attend film industry panels and cooking demonstrations; and enjoy premier wines at the Wine Pavilion and a chalice or two of Stella Artois. See all the hip details below and if you haven't gotten passes yet, what are you waiting for?! Click Here to buy festival passes now.

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LOUNGES:

CADILLAC LUXURY LOUNGE
See Cadillac's hottest vehicles at the Cadillac Luxury Lounge featuring their all-new 2014 CTS sedan, the centerpiece of the Cadillac line up, that ascends into the heart of the midsize luxury market with expanded performance, elevated luxury, and sophisticated technology.

SONY DIGITAL LOUNGE AND STAGE
Just like Dorothy landing in OZ, your world will burst into a kaleidoscope of vivid colors in the Sony Digital Lounge. Experience the clarity, beauty, and the rich colors of film on a Sony 4K TV. Red, aqua blues, and emerald greens burst from the 4K displays in sharp, realistic fashion.

STELLA ARTOIS
Since 1366, crafting the rich flavor of Stella Artois has been a serious pursuit of excellence. Served in the specially designed Chalice, where every sip is perfection. Thanks to its love affair with the silver screen, Stella Artois supports the prestigious Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival...and now, the Napa Valley Film Festival.

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE STYLE LOUNGE
Come experience the magic of Hollywood through the latest styles and fashions. The beauty of nature juxtaposed with beautiful women...as seen in San Francisco Chronicle's annual wedding issue where such stunning photos serve as a perfect backdrop to Roche Bobois' celebration of exquisite interior design.

Napa Valley Film Festival (Nov 13-17, 2013)

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Star-Studded Films Headlining This Year's Festival Lineup!

The Napa Valley Film Festival (November 13-17, 2013) is one of the hottest passes to purchase this fall in Napa Valley. Between star-studded films, celebrities (Dianna Agron of Glee and also rumored to be in attendance is Forest Whitaker!), parties, galas, delicious food and, of course, amazing Napa Valley wines, you won't want to miss out on this premiere Napa event!

Film festivities begin on Opening Night, Wednesday, November 13, when the Napa Valley Film Festival will present August: Osage County starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, as part of a dysfunctional family returning to their home in Oklahoma. The film is based on the award-winning play, and directed by John Wells, one of the most prolific writers, directors and producers for television, film and stage. See it before it hits theaters on Christmas!



Next up is two-time Academy Award®-winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks with a Gala Presentation, on Thursday, November 14, of Saving Mr. Banks, directed by John Lee Hancock and inspired by the extraordinary, untold backstory of the long road Disney's classic Mary Poppins took to make it to the big screen. Supporting cast includes Colin Farrel, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffith, Kathy Baker and Paul Giamatti. Watch the Trailer

nvff-saving-mr-banks.jpg

Napa Valley Festival del Sole

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July 12 - 21, 2013

The much anticipated Napa Valley Festival del Sole named by the Wall Street Journal as one of "12 must-experience summer festivals" is only a couple of days away. This annual Napa Valley festival celebrates the diversity of the arts - over 60 world-class music, dance, and theater performances - set against the beauty of the Napa Valley wine region that boasts incomparable wines and the finest of cuisine.


 Have you purchased your festival pass or tickets yet? Several events have already sold out. Some of the performance and events still available - see below:

Friday, July 13
Jean-Yves Thibaudet with the Russian National Orchestra
The mighty Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Montanaro, returns to Festival del Sole, launching the season's multifaceted Rachmaninoff anniversary celebrations with the celebrated Second Symphony. Festival favorite Jean-Yves Thibaudet presents Saint-Saëns' "Egyptian" Piano Concerto No. 5.
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Tuesday, July 16
Sarah Chang and Jean-Yves Thibaudet with the Russian National Orchestra
Festival del Sole partners with the new Weill Hall at Sonoma State University's Green Music Center for a program featuring the Russian National Orchestra, with Sarah Chang performing Samuel Barber's popular Violin Concerto, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet in Saint-Saëns' "Egyptian" Piano Concerto No. 5, a rarely-performed gem. Carlo Montanaro conducts. (Concert is at Weill Hall at Green Center, Sonoma)

Dive Bar - Bardessono Hotel's Poolside Cocktail Soiree

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Come enjoy a summer's eve at Dive Bar, Bardessono Hotel & Spa's poolside cocktail soiree held the last Thursday of the month from June to August.

bardessonoRooftopPool.jpgBardessono Hotel is located in the heart of Napa Valley in the town of Yountville and has an amazing rooftop pool that is open from 6pm to 8pm for great Happy Hour drink specials and complimentary nibbles from Lucy Restaurant & Bar. Take in the stunning mountain and vineyard views and enjoy a dip and a drink while DJ's spin tunes near the bar.

This year Dive Bar includes a fashion component -  preview the latest summer fashions from top Bay Area boutiques. Come dressed to impress and mingle with Napa Valley locals and top vintners. Our boutique partners will have models showing off some great designs:

  • June 27 - Sisters Boutique/Yountville
  • July 25 - CakePlate / Napa
  • August 29 - Rand + Statler/ San Francisco
Dive Bar is open to the public with free admission and free valet parking. 

Summer Events in Wine Country

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MAY

Funny Girl at the Napa Valley Opera House (May 10-19, 2013)
"Funny Girl" - featuring great songs like "People," I'm the Greatest Star," and "Don't Rain on My Parade," tells the story of legendary singer and comedienne Fanny Brice and her stormy relationship with gambler Nicky Arnstein. Lucky Penny Productions' Taylor Bartolucci stars at the Napa Valley Opera House, backed by a 12-piece orchestra. It's the theatrical event of the year! Click Here for more details.

nvoh_FunnyGirl.jpgEchelon Gran Fondo Series (May 18, 2013)
Be apart of the the Italian cycling phenomenon . . .the Gran Fondo! The Gran Fondo is thousands of your closest friends roaming the beautiful wine country on wheels. There are several bike ride course levels but all riders finish in celebration of epicurean delights from local chefs, wine and beer tasting, live music from local bands, and much more. Enter the race or buy a friends and family ticket to take part in the festivities after the race!
Click Here for more details.

granFondoSeries.jpgAmgen Tour of California in Livermore (May 18, 2013)
Livermore is excited to be the host city on day 7 of the cycling race "Amgen Tour of California" featuring elite professional teams and athletes from around the world.  See road cycling at its best, while enjoying the Livermore healthy-lifestyle festival, incredible downtown boutique and luxury outlet shopping, and dining in the award-winning downtown cafes and restaurants. Click Here for more details.

Auction Napa Valley (E-Auction) (May 26 - June 2, 2013)
Wine lovers around the world, from novice to enthusiast, can still get in on the action of this year's sold-out Auction Napa Valley by bidding on the event's global E-Auction. View more than 170 uniquely exciting lots such as unparalleled access to collectable verticals of wine; hand-etched, large-format bottles never to be seen again; hidden cellars; tucked-away winery guest houses; and meals made just for two--or for 30 of one's closest friends.
Click Here for more details.

Guide to Mother's Day in Wine Country

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There are a host of activities to make Mother's Day a special occasion in Wine Country this year. Treat her to brunch, take her wine tasting, or go to a show!

Travel Tip: If you are planning to spend Mother's Day in Napa Valley, be aware that the town of Napa is host of the Bottle Rock Napa Valley Music Festival (May 9-12th) and is expecting close to 40,000 attendees! Plan on lots of traffic and expect delays. To see street closures, download the WineCountry.com mobile app.


MomDaughter.jpgTake Your Mother to Brunch!

  • etoile Restaurant at Domaine Chandon (Yountville, Napa Valley)
  • Enjoy a splendid five-course menu expertly paired with Chandon sparkling and still wines this Mother's Day. Menu selections include liberty farms duck confit, pan roasted spring lamb loin, roasted beef tenderloin, spiced valrhona chocolate pot de crème, and meyer lemon vacherin. Children's options also available. Reservations Strongly Recommended. (888) 242.6366

  • Lucy's Restaurant at Bardessono (Yountville, Napa Valley)
  • Bring your mom to Lucy's Restaurant & Bar at Bardessono to enjoy a wonderful Mother's Day brunch. The menu will feature delicious dishes, such as Executive Chef Victor Scargle's Duck Confit Hash, brioche french toast, and refreshing cocktails such as the Yountville Spritz. Reservations Recommended. (707) 204.6030

  • Flamingo Resort (Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, CA)
  • Enjoy a Mother's Day Champagne brunch buffet at the Flamingo Resort. This event will feature unlimited complimentary Champagne and mimosas; a feast that includes items like, orange spiced french toast, traditional eggs benedict, buttermilk chicken breast, slow roasted turkey, and much more! Plus, there will be a full dessert table with assorted fruit tarts and mini pastries. Click Here to view full menu. Reservations Recommended. (707) 532.4745
  • Santa Ynez Valley Marriott (Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, CA)
    Treat your mom to the extravagance she deserves with Santa Ynez Valley Marriott's Mother's Day Buffet featuring a grand selection of dishes at both chilled and hot stations and a decadent dessert bar (Cherries Jubille & Bannanas Foster, Chocolate covered strawberries, assortment of cakes, pies, and petit fours, Champagne, and more!) Reservations recommended. (805.688.100). Click Here to see other memorable ways to celebrate Mother's Day in Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country.
  • Depot Hotel Restaurant (Sonoma, Sonoma County, CA)
  • Join Chefs Antonio and Michael Ghilarducci for Mother's Day Brunch! Enjoy a lavish feast complete with Champagne or mimosas upon arrival and bask in the sun on the patio or in the garden room. Menu will include items such as: grilled prime sirloin steak, poached pacific salmon, porchetta, housemade limoncello cake, and bittersweet chocolate decadence.Reservations Required. (707) 938.2980

  • Nectar Restaurant at Hilton Hotel (Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, CA)
  • Nectar Restaurant, located at the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country Hotel, will offer a Champagne brunch and family portrait with special gifts for all moms and moms-to-be. Reservations Recommended. (707) 569.5525

>> Visit our events calendar to see more Napa Valley and Sonoma restaurants that will be open this Mother's Day. Click date (May 12th), desired region and filter "holiday".

Robert Mondavi Summer Concert Series

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Business Wire

44th Annual Summer Concert Series Begins June 29th and
Honors 100th birthday of Robert Mondavi


robertMondaviHeader_MondaviWebsite.jpgThis June, Robert Mondavi Winery kicks off its 44th annual Summer Concert Series with a festival featuring five top musical acts. With June 18 marking what would have been the 100th birthday of Robert Mondavi, country singer and songwriter Martina McBride will begin the series with a performance that celebrates Robert Mondavi's contributions to the wine industry throughout the Napa Valley and beyond. Now a much-anticipated wine country tradition, the annual concert series began in 1969 by Margrit Mondavi.

"Given Bob's love of uniting friends and family over a celebration of food, wine and the arts, I couldn't think of a better way to honor his 100th birthday than by continuing the Summer Concert Series here in the winery's backyard," said Margrit Mondavi, vice president of cultural affairs at Robert Mondavi Winery. "The combination of diverse musical styles, world-class wine and the backdrop of the beautiful To Kalon Vineyard is a truly unique tradition that I know I'm not alone in looking forward to celebrating."

5 Ways to Uncork Fun in Napa Valley

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Wine tasting, incredible food and breathtaking scenery . . . what more can you ask for when you head to Napa Valley? From girlfriend getaways and guy-only vacays to weekend escapes and family retreats, Napa has something for everyone. Read five ways to live it up and enjoy Napa Valley: 

Meghan-Lamb-Napa-Valley-Oakville-DSC_0044.jpgPhotographer Credit: Meghan Lamb
(1) Walk this Way
Whether Napa is a weekend excursion or a vacation you planned six months ago, wine tasting is at the top of everyone's list. To avoid needing a "DD" or renting a party bus for the day, grab a $25 Taste Napa Downtown card to explore 12 different tasting rooms and wine bars within walking distance of each other. Park your car, take your time, and enjoy the vino without worrying about the next stop on your tour.

ladies_iStock_000004513478XSmall.jpg(2) Ladies Night! (and Daytime too)
Napa Valley is one destination that beckons girlfriends who love to gather, celebrate their sisterhood and sample the grape without the shame and guilt of a Vegas girls getaway. By day, indulge in a soothing spa treatment at many of the spas and wellness centers nearby. Spa Terra located at the Meritage Resort is a perfect choice with their 22,000 square foot Estate Cave spa sanctuary. By night, head to Bistro Sabor for Salsa Saturdays co-hosted by Ceja Vineyards where you can shake what your mama gave you--no cover charge and no partner needed. Just show up!

(3) Just for the Bro's
Trust us, it's not always about MMA Fighting or Nascar when the fellas get together for a guys-only vacay. With more men channeling their inner Anthony Bourdain, food has become the focus for "man-scapes" near and far. Napa Valley is home to more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere in the world and the culinary talents of superstars such as Thomas Keller (French Laundry ring a bell, anyone?). To work off the decadent meals and wine-induced calories, head to Napa Golf Course at Kennedy Park for a few rounds of golf. Or paddle your way through the valley by kayaking on the Napa River.

Calistoga - Mustard, Mud, and Music Festival

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Rock out to your old favorite tunes, enjoy the outdoors, and taste delicious food & wine in Downtown Calistoga, March 9, 2013.

calistogaChamber_mustardMudMusicFestival_mustardFields.jpgPhoto Courtesy of Calistoga Visitors Bureau; Photographer Ivan Miller

The annual Mustard, Mud, and Music Festival is returning to Calistoga. Take in the beautiful views of the mustard decorating the city and enjoy 13 bands, 25 wineries, three art galleries, a wellness center and a variety of restaurants with mustard themed food. This fun event happens Saturday, March 9, 2013, from 12 - 5 p.m. along Lincoln Avenue in downtown Calistoga. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets in advance

Participating wineries include Alienor Wines, Bennett Lane Winery, Canard Vineyard, Chateau Montelena, Castello di Amorosa, Envy Wines, Frank Family Vineyards, Joseph Cellars, Tedeschi Family Winery, Twomey Cellars, Vermeil Wines/OnThEdge, Von Strasser Winery, Zahtila Vineyards/Laura Michael Wines, Ziata Wines and more. 

Spring Cycling with Velo Vino

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veloVino_neonbikes.jpg
Enjoy the fresh spring air, blue skies, and breathtaking vineyard views when you cycle through Napa Valley by bike! Clif Family Wines not only offers some killer Zins (we recommend buying a case of the '09 Gary's Improv), but also unique cycling packages and weekend group rides from their tasting room in St. Helena at Velo Vino.

Read a snippet of their most recent blog post on "Spring Cycling in the Napa Valley"

Even though we are still waking up to morning frost in the Napa Valley, spring is really just around the corner. It will soon be time to dust off your bike, tune it up and head for the hills. Nothing gets us more excited at Velo Vino than spring time in the Napa Valley. Not only do we get to release some great new vintages of our Clif Family Wines, but we also get to see our cyclist friends pop in for a visit.

This spring we will once again be coordinating weekend group rides twice monthly from Velo Vino. The rides always begin and end at Velo Vino and typically range from about 30-40 miles. The rides start on Saturdays in late April/early May depending on weather. More information will be posted on our web site soon.

If you are visiting from out of the area and want to enjoy Napa Valley by bike, consider one of our bike rental packages
. . . READ MORE.

Check out more photos on their Pinterest Page!


Flyway Festival & Discovery Days in American Canyon Wetlands

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AmCam_FlyawayFestival.jpgTake the whole family and enjoy a weekend of bird watching and nature hikes in the American Canyon Wetlands.

The American Canyon Wetlands is a 465 acre site located adjacent to over 10,000 acres of restored wetlands managed by the State Department of Fish & Wildlife.  It is home to such endangered species as the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse and the Snowy Plover.  Almost 100 different species of birds have been observed in the area.  This is truly a wonderful outdoor experience for families as well as serious birders.  Discover the secret of the American Canyon Wetlands.

AmCam_FlywayFestival2.jpgDiscovery Days is part of the 17th Annual San Francisco Flyway Festival, and co-sponsored by the Napa Solano Audubon Society.  The event is free and open to the public.There will be guided tours on Saturday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; and on Sunday at 1 p.m.  Self-guided tours on trails include viewing stations and expert birders on hand to answer questions.

Information stations with volunteers will be available at these two locations on Saturday (9am-4pm) and Sunday (9am-3pm):

  • Location 1: American Canyon Wetlands (Eucalyptus Drive & Wetlands Edge Rd.)
  • Location 2: The main Flyway Festival building Bldg.#223, 500 Connolly St. on Mare Island (along with all the other groups participating in the festival) 

CLICK HERE to see full schedule of events planned.

Celebrate Romance & Valentine's Day

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livermorePromotion.jpgRomance doesn't have to be celebrated just one day. With Valentine's Day falling on a Friday this year, it's the perfect excuse to plan an extended romantic weekend with the one you love. Let us help you plan! Call 707.260.0721 for our Guest Services to recommend the perfect plan for where to go wine tasting, where to stay, play and eat.

There's a dizzying amount of specials and activities around In Napa Valley and Sonoma this year to celebrate the season of love! Click below:

>> Napa Valley, CA
>> Sonoma County, CA

Napa Valley - Plan a Romantic Escape

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Napa Valley oozes with romance no matter what time of year! But during the season of love, aka "Valentine's Day", the iconic wine region pulls out all the stops to make your romantic escape one to remember years to come.

Stop dreaming about a romantic Napa escape and start planning! Luxurious and plush stays at four star Napa Valley hotels and resorts, indulgent spa treatments, to die for gourmet cuisine, and  wine tasting experiences are just a phone call away. Call our Guest Services (707. 260.0721) to help you set the stage and deliver an incredible Valentine's Day, romantic weekend, or week-long affair this coming February. (Shhh...we promise not to tell anyone that you had help!)

Want to plan your own Napa Valley romance-filled day?
Check out Napa Valley lodging and spa special package offers and our suggested list of Napa Valley events to attend below!

Wineries Open for Thanksgiving in Napa Valley & Sonoma

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Wineries & Tasting Rooms Open on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2013 in Napa Valley, CA

  • Castello di Amorosa - Open 9:30 - 4pm,  (707) 967.6272
  • Cosentino - Open 10am - 3:00pm, (707) 921.2809 ext 2
  • Del Dotto - St. Helena Location ONLY - Open 11am - 4pm (707) 963.2134
  • Elizabeth Spencer - Open 10am - 4pm, (707) 963.4768
  • Girard Winery - Open 11am - 3pm, (707) 968.9297
  • Hagafen Cellars - Open 11am - 4pm, (888) 424.2336
  • V Wine Cellars - Open 10am - 3pm, (707) 531.7053
  • Van der Heyden Vineyards - Open 10am-3pm, (707) 257.0130
  • V.Sattui Winery - Open 9am - 3:00 pm, (707) 963.7774

Wineries & Tasting Rooms Open on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2013 in Sonoma County, CA

  • Carneros Brewing Company - Open 10am - 5:30pm, (707) 938.1800
  • Cline Cellars - Open 11am - 3pm, (707) 940.4061
  • Jacuzzi Cellars - Open 11am-3pm, (707) 931.7575
  • Porter Creek Vineyards - 10:30am-2pm, (707) 433.6321
  • Roche Winery - 11am - 2pm, (707) 935.7115

Celebrities at the Napa Valley Film Festival!

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The stars are coming out for this year's Napa Valley Film Festival, Nov. 7-11, and being celebrated in some amazing new films. The Celebrity Tribute is hosted by Access Hollywood's Billy Bush on November 9th and will honor stars Alan Cummings, James Marsden, Imogen Poots and Adam Driver. CLICK HERE for all access film passes and events.


nvff_alanCumming.jpgSPOTLIGHT
Leading actor Alan Cumming (The Anniversary Party, CBS smash TV hit The Good Wife) will be honored at the Celebrity Tribute program Fri. Nov. 9th and will also appear in person with his film Any Day Now on Nov. 10 in Calistoga and a Q&A Session after the film.

Alan Cumming is chameleon-like in both his choice of roles and his ability to inhabit them convincingly. One of the hardest working actors of our time, the Scotland-born Cumming has enjoyed a successful career in film, theater, and on television.


nvff_jamesMardsen.jpgTRAILBLAZER
Actor James Marsden (Enchanted, Robot & Frank, X-Men Trilogy) will also be on hand at his year's film festival. He has appeared in a wide range of films over the course of his still early career and continues to carve out a distinctive place for himself in Hollywood. James recently wrapped production on Universal's Two Guns opposite Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington. He also completed production on Lee Daniel's film The Butler where he takes on the role of John F. Kennedy.

Spooktacular Fun in Wine Country

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See a small sampling of events happening in Napa Valley, Sonoma and Livermore in celebration of Halloween. Visit WineCountry.com's full event calendar HERE.


castelloDiAmorosa_paganBall2.jpgNAPA VALLEY EVENTS

October 27th - The Pagan ball at Castello di Amorosa
Kick off your Halloween weekend at the biggest and best party in the Napa Valley -- our 5th annual Pagan Ball; a traditional Halloween costume party with lots of tricks and treats! Activities will include:RIP Reception(tickets purchased seperately), 'Haunted Chamber' Tours, Video DJ & dancing in the Great Hall, To Die For food & wine stations in the Courtyard, Fortune Tellers in the Chapel, Haunted Haybale Lounge on the Terrace, and Professional Photo Ops! CLICK HERE for more info.

October 27th - Halloween Extravaganza at Napa Fairgrounds

What has become a Napa tradition, this year will be our 37th Annual Extravaganza. This blow-out costume party is held at the Napa fairgrounds.  Held the Saturday before Halloween, this is the largest party of its kind in Napa County and serves as one of our fundraisers. Guests are entertained with live music, enjoy access to an open bar and a casino hall.
CLICK HERE for more info.


SONOMA EVENTS

October 27th - Zombie Party!
Put on your best costume and join Chateau Diana Winery for a Zombie Party.  Watch as the undead take over our Tasting Room.  We will be having ghoulish food, music, and door prizes paired with our blood red Zombie Zin.  Zombie Costume contest with awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.  Will it be a Trick or a Treat?  You decide!
CLICK HERE for more info.

October 28th - Halloween at Kenwood Vineyards
Come be a part of the 2nd Annual Pumpkin Judging Contest at Kenwood Vineyards. By doing so, you will receive a pass into the 'Temple of Oak' to taste the new release of the 2008 Artist Series Cabernet. A Tasty Halloween treat awaits your arrival!.
CLICK HERE for more info.



LIVERMORE EVENTS

October 27th - Downtown Livermore Halloween Carnival
Activities for families with children in the 5th grade and younger! Kids will enjoy the Costume and Scream Contest, Carnival Games, Activities and some Surprise Entertainment. Livermore Valley Plaza. CLICK HERE for more info.


October 27-28 - Halloween Candy & Wine Pairing at Cedar Mountain Winery
Come in, if you dare, to try something new! Cedar Mountain is pairing Traditional Halloween Candy with their wines in the Tasting Room this Halloween Weekend. Does it sound kind of spooky? We think you will be delighted with our BOOtiful pairings! Tasting Fees apply. CLICK HERE for more info.




Eat, Drink and Be Scary! at Ghost Winery Flora Springs

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Join Flora Springs Winery for two very special events:

https://www.florasprings.com/assets/2011_GW_Release_and_Creature_Feature_Bash(5).jpg

2011 Ghost Winery Release Party
~ Saturday, October 27th, 10am-4pm
Each year, Flora Springs creates a limited edition varietal to honor their historic "ghost winery." The haunting aromatics and luscious dark fruit flavors of this year's 2011 Ghost Winery Syrah are sure to send a thrill down your spine! Be the first to enjoy the spooktacular taste of the 2011 Ghost Winery Syrah paired with charcuterie and cheese. Costumes encouraged and prizes will be awarded. No extra charge for this event! (No reservation necessary for groups under six. Call The Room at (866) 967.8032 for groups of six or more.

The Ghost Winery Creature Feature Bast

~ Saturday, October 27th; Reception: 5:3pm, Movie: 8:00pm
It's the finale event for the Dinner & Movie Night Series at Flora Spring Winery and it's an evening to DIE for!

Step onto the Hollywood-style red carpet reception with a keepsake photo opportunity. Then experience a memorable tasting of the 2011 Ghost Winery Syrah as you are transported onto the set of the legendary American horror film Sleepy Hollow. Sit down to a hauntingly delicious lobster feed by celebrated Chef John Sorenson before a screening of Sleepy Hollow, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci. Enjoy Halloween candy, popcorn, and a wine bar during the movie. Be sure to come dressed for the occasion as we will be giving out prizes for our favorite costumes.

Tickets are selling out fast for this event! Only $99 per person or $72.20 per person if you are a wine club member. Reservations required. Call The Room at (866) 967.8032 for reservations.


Napa Valley: Upcoming Crush & Harvest Events

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peju_GrapeStomp.jpg*AUGUST

August 25 -- Roll Out The Barrels
Annual Grape Stomp

Enjoy a European breakfast before heading into our barrel room cellar to taste a special selection of Peju wines. Then head out to the vineyard for our Annual Grape Stomp Competition. Then enjoy Chef Emily's grilled chicken and ribs before the Crowning of the Stomp King or Queen.
Location: Peju Province Winery, 8466 St. Helena Hwy., Rutherford, CA
Fee: $75 General/$65 Wine Club Member; Time: 10:30am - 1:30pm; Phone: 707.963.3600

CLICK HERE for more August Harvest Events.


*SEPTEMBER

September 15 -- Clif Family Annual Harvest Party
Join Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford for an afternoon of local food, wine, music and art. Wine Tastings, Farm Tours, Food & Wine Pairings, Live Music, Grape Stomping and Local Artisans. Call for more information and to purchase tickets. Tickets are $15 for youth ages 11-20.
Location: 15 Angwin Plaza, Napa, CA; Fee: $50 General/ $25 wine club & CSA members; Time: 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm; Phone: 707-968-0625

September 15 -- Harvest Ball at V. Sattui
Come help us celebrate the Harvest and revisit the culture and cuisine of Italy's best-known region with an authentic and traditional Tuscan banquet combined with Napa Valley hospitality and the finest V. Sattui wines for an evening you will long remember! Chef Osvaldo Baroncelli of Prato Italy along with Napa Valley Chef Shannon Kelly. Make your reservations early!
Location:1111 White Lane, St. Helena CA; Fee: $200 Members / $225 Non-members;
Time: 6 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.; Phone: (707) 963.7774

Napa Valley: Summer Events Spotlight

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*AUGUST

nashvilleInNapa2012.jpgAugust 11 -- Nashville In Napa
Support music education in our local schools and join some of the finest songwriters from Nashville, top winemakers from Napa Valley, and a local Farm-to-Table chef to enjoy music, wine and food. This "one-of-a-kind" evening includes appetizers and sit-down, family style dinner paired with white and red wines poured by the Winemakers themselves! Entertainment takes place inside Baldacci's wine caves and features 7 songwriters performing two 1 hour sets. Location: 6236 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 6236 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA
Fee: $175; Time: 4:30 p.m.; Phone: 707.944.9261

August 11 -- Hands Across The Valley
Join us for the Annual Hands Across The Valley event. Food and Wine Tasting Reception presented by Napa Valley premier restaurants and wineries. A Silent and Live Auction including cult wine lots, private dinners with celebrity chefs and exciting overnight packages. Hot, Hot, Hot Caribbean Theme! Buffet dinner prepared by Culinary Institute Chefs.
Location: The Culinary Institute of America, 2555 Main Street, Napa, CA
Fee: $100; Time: 6 p.m.-11 p.m.; Phone: 707-226-6136

August 17 -- Back Room Blow Out XLVIII
Back Room Wines hosts its 48th "Back Room Blow Out," a walk-around wine tasting, on this Friday evening. Visit and taste with 4 local vintners. Enjoy their wines & hear their stories. Taste wines from Green & Red, Miss Olivia Brion, Phoenix Ranch and Neiman Cellars. Come enjoy this one-of-a-kind event. Wines poured on sale for 10% off tonight only. Location: 1000 Main Street Shop 120, Napa
Fee: $10/credit back with purchase; Time: 5 - 8 P.M.; Phone: (707) 226-1378

"SOMM" World Premiere at Napa Valley Film Festival!

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Hotly Anticipated Wine Documentary "SOMM" will World Premiere at
Napa Valley Film Festival, November 7-11, 2012

SOMM Documentary premiere teaser trailer, opening documentary at the 2012 Napa Valley Film Festival from Forgotten Man Films on Vimeo.


The Napa Valley Film Festival will kick off with the world premiere of the documentary feature film SOMM on Wednesday, November 7, 2012. SOMM (slang for "sommelier") follows four talented young sommeliers as they cram for the grueling, notoriously difficult Master Sommelier exam.  The exam - a test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world - covers everything to do with the pairing of wine and food on a global level.

 "We are honored to host the world premiere of SOMM," said Marc Lhormer, Executive & Artistic Director of the Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF).  "Not only is the content a perfect fit for the food and wine-obsessed culture of Napa Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, but the film itself is a tremendously well-executed, hilarious and compelling thrill ride of a documentary that will appeal to a broad movie-going audience.

In addition to its four engaging subjects, SOMM also includes appearances and enlightening commentary from a who's who of top food and wine personalities, including sommelier Rajat Parr, chef Michael Mina, winemaker Bo Barrett, wine legend Fred Dame, and many others.

Celebrating July 4th in Napa Valley

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fireworks.jpg*Updated for 2013!

There are several events featuring wine & food, live music, and of course, fireworks in Napa Valley leading up to July 4th which is during the middle of the week this year. Check out the events happening before, on Independence Day, and the weekend after too!

July 3rd - 7th -- Napa County Fair & Fireworks Show
Pack up the family and spend five days of summer sizzle celebrating Independence Day with live music, chef demos, wine pavilion, olive oil tastings, art exhibits and much more! Plus enjoy a Fourth of July Parade and a spectacular fireworks show. Come be rewarded with the unique experience of celebrating America's birthday in a rural setting that offers up loads of small-town "Americana" charm. Click Here for more details.

Napa Valley -  City Wide 4th of July Celebrations and Parades
 
  • American Canyon - 4th of July Celebration
  • Join American Canyon for a spectacular July 4th celebration. The all-day event will include the morning parade, afternoon picnic - which will include fun and free activities, contests and relays for the whole family, food and entertainment, and end with evening fireworks. Click Here for more details.
  • Napa - 4th of July Parade and Festival in Downtown Napa
  • Enjoy the colorful sights and sounds of the Pepperettes, Napa fire trucks, classic cars, and so much more at this year's parade and 4th of July celebration. This year's theme is "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Also, Grand Marshall Margrit Mondavi and Chair Doris Gentry will be present. After the parade there will be a festival downtown with beer, wine, food as well as candy and jump houses for the kids and then a fabulous fireworks show. Click Here for more details.
  • Calistoga - 4th of July Parade in Downtown Calistoga
  • Join downtown Calistoga for their all-American celebration, starting with the 79th running of the 4th of July Parade. Thousands of smiling faces line the streets as friends and families share in this patriotic, community tradition. See floats, decorated cars, live bands, and more! Click Here for more details.  

July 4 -- Louis M. Martini Winery Fireworks Spectacular
Spend this 4th of July with the Martini family, as they celebrate 18 years of historic fireworks in St. Helena. Spend time with Mike Martini, third-generation winemaker, and enjoy a Napa-style feast, delectable wine and food pairings, live entertainment and family activities - all culminating in a world-class fireworks display, set against the stunning backdrop of the Napa Valley. Reserve tickets in advance. Click Here for more details.

Dinner & Movie Night Series

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What better way to spend a summer night then at the movies!  Flora Springs Winery is hosting "Dinner & Movie Night Series" June - October and it's perfect for date night!

floraSpringsWinery_MovieNightSeries.jpg

Share a delicious Lobster Feed dinner paired with Flora Springs wines in their Vineyard Courtyard. Follow it up sitting fireside, sipping wine and watching a movie on the Rooftop Lounge, overlooking the vineyards and the mountains. Of course, there will also be all your favorite traditional snacks to enjoy during the movie.

Movie nights are open to the public but there is limited availability and and advanced reservations are required. Fees: $99 per person; Wine Club Members, $79.20 per person. See list of films below:

June 30th - A Good Year
(view trailer)
Wine and dinner starts at 6:30pm, movie starts at 8:30 pm.

July 28th - The Ways of Wine
(view trailer)
Wine and dinner starts at 5:50 pm, movie starts at 7:50 pm.

Give the Gift of Golf!

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Show Dad you appreciate him with the gift of GOLF!

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*Dudes' or Dads' Retreat at Silverado Resort and Spa!
This Ultimate Gentleman's Getaway package offers unlimited* golf for groups of two or four, with accommodations in a deluxe one- or two-bedroom fireplace suite. (Available June 1 - Nov. 17, 2012). Package also includes:

  • Callaway Razr X Rentals
  • 6 Callaway golf balls
  •  Silverado golf hat and shirt
  • $100 spa credit per person for any 50-minute men's treatment (Go Golf Facial, Golfers Massage, or Golfers Reflexology)
  • 100 credit per person for resort dining
CLICK HERE for more details.

Annual Summer Concerts in Wine Country

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Wine Country is host to several annual musical festivals and summer concerts boasting some of the most popular acts around the country. See this year's line-up, mark your calendars and get tickets before they sell out!



*June 29, 2013 - July 20, 2013
Robert Mondavi Summer Music Festival
The Robert Mondavi Summer Music Festival Now is a highlight of the summer season in Napa Valley featuring top musical acts. This year includes Martina McBride, Lifehouse, Huey Lewis & the News, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, and ZZ Ward and Delta Rae.
Click Here to see full concert details.


*July 10th - Sept. 12th, 2013
Wente Vineyards Summer Concert Series
Wente Vineyards Concert Series is back for it's 27th season with eight stellar performances by top name headliners all set against the stunning backdrop of Wente Vineyrads stunning vineyards. This year's lineup includes "Martina McBride, Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, Huey Lewis & the News, Counting Crows, Styx, Chicago, Chris Botti, and Reo Speedwagon. More Concert Details.

*July 12-21, 2013
Festival del Sole
Napa Valley Festival del Sole is an annual celebration of the arts featuring world-class music, dance, theater, and of course, incomparable wines and delectable food. Highlights include performances by Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Sarah Chang, Russian National Orchestra, and also a series of vintner luncheons, galas, dinners, and much more! More details

*August 3rd - Sept 1st, 2013
Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series
An incredible season of fine food, wine and, of course, music is back this summer at Rodney Strong Vineyards featuring intimate performances by world-class musicians in a stunning vineyard setting. Check out the Video!

For more concerts happening this summer, see the regional events calendars.
 Napa Valley Events Calendar , Sonoma County Events Calendar, Livermore Events Calendar

Memorial Day Weekend Activities in Napa Valley

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EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

iStock_oyster.jpgMay 26 -- Spring Oyster Bar & Barbeque @ Sequoia Grove
 Enjoy Hog Island Oyster Company oysters (raw or barbequed), Boudin Bakery soup in San Francisco Sourdough breadbowls and the inaugural release of our new summertime sipper, Rebellious White. Soak in the sunshine as you dine in our newly landscaped courtyard beside our mighty Sequoias and gorgeous flower gardens. RSVP required.
Location: Sequoia Grove Winery, 8338 St. Helena Hwy, Napa CA 94558
Fee: $55/$45 Wine Club Members; Time: 12pm-4pm; Phone: 707-944-2945 x111

May 26 -- Renegade a Tribute to Styx @ Silo's

Renegade returns to Silo's with new music, the best line-up ever, and a new show. Renegade will perform your favorite Rock Classics, including the hits of Styx along with covers from Journey, Kansas, Edgar Winter, REO Speedwagon, Boston, Night Ranger, Doobie Brothers, The Beatles, and much more.
Location: Silo's, 530 Main Street, Napa CA 94559
Fee: $20 Advance/$25 At the Door/$14 Members; Time: 8pm-11pm;  Phone: 707-251-5833

May 26 - 27 -- Wine Country Passport Weekend 2012
Enjoy a boutique collection of four unique tasting experiences this Memorial Day Weekend. At each winery guests will enjoy a private event hosted just for passport holders celebrating "the first sips of summer". Featured wineries include Beringer Vineyards, Chateau St. Jean, Etude, St. Clement Vineyards.
Fee: $50 Advance/$60 Day of Event; Time: 11am-4pm; Phone: 877-847-0058

sterlingVineyards_GreekFestival.jpgMay 27 -- Sterling Vineyards Greek Festival
Not everybody can take a summer vacation to Greece...so Sterling Vineyards is bringing Greece to you with our Inaugural Greek Festival!

Join us for this can't miss event celebrating all things Greek: the wine, the food, the music, the culture, the lifestyle. Event price includes food and wine at the Greek Festival, plus aerial tram, self-guided tour, complimentary tasting of five wines and a souvenir wine glass. Call to RSVP.
Location: Sterling Vineyards, 1111 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga CA 94515
Fee: $85/$75 Wine Club Members; Time: 11:30am-2:30pm; Phone: 800-726-6136 x1

Robert Mondavi Summer Concert Series

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robertMondavi_concertImages.jpgNow in its 43rd year, the Robert Mondavi Winery Summer Concert Series is a highlight of the summer season in the Napa Valley, bringing together wine, food, music and the arts for beautiful evenings in the vineyards. Buy tickets to some of the hot acts coming to the Valley this year!

June 30: O.A.R.'s "Celebrating Fume Blanc: An American Classic" performance and a firework show. A portion of each ticket sold for this concert will benefit The Heard the World Fund. The organization helps support youth, education and sustainable programs internationally.

July 6: The Plain White T's headline the "Celebrating the Bounty of Napa and Local Sustainability" concert. This two-time Grammy-nominated band, known for their hit "Hey There, Delilah," brings their heartfelt lyrics and sweet melodies.

July 7: The "Spotlight on Oakville" concert features Natasha Bedingfield. Another Grammy-nominated artist in this summer's concert lineup, Bedingfield brings a soulful voice and an upbeat European flair to the stage.

July 14
: Perhaps best known for their hit "Superman," Five for Fighting brings their smooth vocals to the winery on July 14 for the "Hope in the Vineyard" concert. City of Hope is a national cancer research and treatment center, providing patients with specialized care.

July 21: The summer concert series concludes with the "Spotlight on To Kalon" performance. The artist for this concert will be released later this spring.

For more information and to purchase tickets, CLICK HERE!

Wine Country Insider: Art Walking Tours

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by Courtney Cochran

When it comes to inspiration, wine country is about as alluring as it gets.  And so it is that wine country art - especially the kind you can meander amongst, on walking tours - takes on especially vivid expression. Whether it's made or just displayed in this lovely setting, it's more than worth a gander. Please allow us to steer you towards some rewarding walks.  

Napa: West End
Encompassing an approximately 6-block area in this once sleepy wine country seat, Napa's West End is a neighborhood offering arts of various intriguing sorts. From traditional art galleries - First Street's Quent Cordair comes to mind with its substantial collection of romantic realistic works - to tasting room installations to a fully restored, circa-1937 Art Deco theater, the Uptown, Napa's West End offers much to see on a stroll. Chris Isaak and Rusted Root are among the top-notch performances that can be seen at the Uptown, along with its colorful (original!) neon marquee. Or, come Saturday night, stop into Ceja Vineyards' tasting room for a rotating selection of artworks in addition to pours, then dance the night away via the spot's free salsa lessons.  

Need some mementos? Pick these up at the West End Napa gift store inside the contemporary Avia Hotel building. It's also where the neighborhood "living room" can be found, natch. The area is couched in the western portion of downtown Napa, approximately from School to Randolph streets and from First to Third streets.

napaArtWalk.jpgNapa ARTwalk Momentum: Art that Moves (Us)
Arts Council Napa Valley (ACNV) and the Napa Community Redevelopment Agency have announced the return of the Napa ARTwalk interactive public sculpture exhibition and tour in downtown Napa. The second ARTwalk, titled "Momentum: Art that Moves (Us)," launched on October 19th 2011 and will be on exhibition through April, 2013 in downtown Napa. 

Art works - which hew to a new theme each exhibition - are selected with the help of CaFE (callforentry.org) and a panel of local art administrators, artists, and city officials.  The cost is free, and exhibits can be accessed throughout the day, 365 days a year, at visitors' leisure.  Download a map here, and for more information, call 707-257-2117.

Festival del Sole 2012

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NAPA VALLEY, CA - Festival del Sole in partnership with IMG Artists returns for another spectacular season, July 13-22, 2012, in California's beautiful Napa Valley.

CatellodiAmorosa_FestivalDelSole.jpgPhoto credit: Vi Bottaro

Set among lush, rolling foothills and breathtaking vineyard landscapes, Napa Valley Festival del Sole blends world-class artistry, gourmet cuisine, fine wines and lifestyle programs in a unique celebration of the art of life, all during a ten-day experience the New York Times calls a "feast for the senses."

Among the artists appearing this season are violinist Joshua Bell, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, sopranos Danielle de Niese and Lisa Delan, baritone Nathan Gunn, cellist Nina Kotova, guitarist Angel Romero, pianist Hélène Grimaud, the Russian National Orchestra, and members of the Bolshoi Ballet.

Other highlights include the Napa premiere of 24 Hour Plays, an exciting feat of extreme theater, which involves writing, rehearsing and performing a series of plays in just 24 hours - in this case 4 plays with musical interludes from Vivaldi's Four Seasons.


Napa Valley Opera House - Upcoming Shows! Discount Tickets!

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The arts are flourishing in Napa Valley. The Napa Valley Opera House just hosted the trumpeter Chris Botti and it was a sold out crowd! Don't wait till the last minute on upcoming performances scheduled for April!

sierraMaestra.jpgSierra Maestra - April 1, 2012
One of the original, pioneering Cuban bands; Tickets are $30/$35
Stars of Cuban music ever since they formed in the late 1970s, five of the original nine members remain in the band. Sierra Maestra was the first, and remains the best, of the modern-era groups to play in the old-style son line-up: tres, guitar, one trumpet, bongo, güiro and vocals -- as during the style's golden age of the 1920s and '30s. They have been the pioneers in reviving this style for new generations and reintroducing it into the Cuban mainstream. They named themselves after the mountain range in the eastern part of Cuba as a tribute to the birthplace of son.

**Use special promo code <1030> at check out to receive a buy-one, get-one-free ticket discount.

hermetoPascoal.jpgHermeto Pascoal - April 6, 2012
Innovative Brazilian composer and multi-instrumentalist, Tickets are $30/$35
Pascoal is a greatly beloved musical figure in the history of Brazilian music, known for his abilities at orchestration and improvisation, as well as being a record producer and contributor to many other Brazilian and international albums. His career began in 1964 with appearances on several Brazilian recordings alongside relatively unknown groups. These now-classic albums and the musicians involved (Edu Lobo, Elis Regina, Cesar Camargo Mariano) established widely influential new directions in post-bossa Brazilian jazz. Known as o Bruxo (the Sorcerer), Hermeto often makes music with unconventional objects such as teapots, children's toys, and animals, as well as keyboards, button accordion, melodica, saxophone, guitar, flute, voice, various brass and folkloric instruments.

**Use special promo code <1030> at check out to receive a buy-one, get-one-free ticket discount.

Napa Valley Events: April Highlights

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There are some fabulous events happening in Napa Valley during the month of April. Check your calendar and mark the ones you'll definitely want to attend!

NAPA VALLEY EVENTS

April 7 -- Reach for the Stars Fashion Show

This annual luncheon event features a fashion show dedicated to all those who have ever been touched by cancer. The lunch is followed by the fashion show with models that are cancer survivors and are "Reaching for the Stars." Proceeds from the event will go to the Queen's Cancer Wellness Program.
Location: Silverado Resort & Spa, 1600 Atlas Peak Road, Napa CA
Fee: Call for information & tickets; Time: Call for information; Phone: 707-257-4044

easter_ChocolateBunny.jpgApril 8 -- Hunt for the Hare Easter Celebration at Safari West
Looking for hare-raising adventure this Easter? Join the animals of Safari West (and their human companions) for our annual "Hunt for the Hare", an egg-straordinary Easter celebration and brunch.
Location: 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa
Fee: $68 Adults/$35 Children (Ages 4-12); Time: Morning & Afternoon packages available Phone: 707-579-2551

April 14 -- CSPF's Earth Day Restoration & Cleanup

 Volunteers are needed at Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park for the 15th Annual California State Parks Foundation's Earth Day Restoration & Cleanup presented by PG&E. The water wheel will be restored. To volunteer on Earth Day please call or register online.
Location: Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park, 3369 St. Helena Hwy North, St. Helena CA
Fee: Free; Time: 8:30am-4pm; Phone: 888-98-PARKS


Relax with a Cold Brew . . .

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calistogaInn&Brewery.jpgWhat better way to relax from a day of wine tasting or a day of work than with a cold brew, great food, and live music?! Swing by Calistoga Inn Restaurant & Brewery to hang out with the locals and have a good time.

This coming weekend they celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a traditional Irish Dinner including Corned Beef Brisket, Mashed potatoes & Steamed Cabbage, Chocolate Paddy Cake and much more all while listening to the sounds of Greenhouse who will be playing Irish music. If you can't make it this Saturday, be sure to check out Calistoga Inn Restaurant & Brewery throughout the year for weekly live music sessions and of course, beer tastings.

THE BREWERY

In 1987, the Calistoga Inn gave birth to Calistoga beer and the Napa Valley Brewing Company. The Inn was the first establishment to brew beer commercially in Napa County since the days of prohibition. It brews four principle beers: Calistoga Wheat Ale, Pilsner, Red Ale & Porter. In addition, other seasonal beers are brewed throughout the year, such as the German Kölsch, Blitzen I.P.A., Belgian Pale Ale & Dugan Oatmeal Stout. They have won numerous awards for their beer, including both bronze and gold finishes at the Great American Beer Fest in Denver, Colorado, and blue ribbons at the California State Fair.

Brewery tours are available Monday - Friday with our Brewmaster, Brad Smisloff.
Call in advance for an appointment: 707-942-4101

Click Here to check out the Brewer's Blog!

St. Patrick's Day Events in Napa Valley

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stPatricksDay.jpgMarch 17  - Cosmos Percussion Orchestra @ Silo's
Come celebrate St. Patrick's Day with "Cosmos Percussion Orchestra". Dance to the original seductive driving rhythms and percussion music from the range of world beat cultures, traditional and fusion, created by the group. All tickets include free shaker to join in.

Location: Silo's Jazz Club, 530 Main Street, Napa
Fee: $20 Advance/$25 At the Door/$14 Club; Time: 8pm; Phone: 707-251-5833

March 17 - The Shamrock Shin Dig at Embassy Suites Hotel

Come celebrate St. Patrick's Day at "The Shamrock Shin Dig!" A crazy-fun event with great food from local chefs, dinner, dancing, libations and unique silent auction lots. Benefiting Alta Heights Magnet School. Must be 21 or over.
Location: Embassy Suites Hotel, 1075 California Blvd, Napa; Fee: $45 in Advance; Time: 6pm; Phone: 707-224-2679


Recharge and Take a Hike!

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napaLandTrust_websiteImage1.jpgDiscover the beauty of Napa Valley up close and personal when you hike through a variety of nature's corridors through field trips sponsored by the The Land Trust of Napa County. Enjoy a hike, educational walk or even a kayaking experience. But space is limited, so check the calendar and sign up early!

MARCH HIGHLIGHTS - UPCOMING FIELD TRIPS

Saturday, March 10th at 9am - Foote Botanical Preserve Workday
Get together with other volunteers on Mount George for half a day having fun trimming the hiking trails, viewing wildflowers and taking pictures. Bring work gloves, small hand saws and loppers if you have them.

Sunday, March 18th at 9am - Audubon-Cheyney Adventure
Don't be fooled - this hike is not for the faint at heart! The first part of this hike has rough fire roads, a narrow trail and a stream crossing, but we'll see amazing views of northern Napa Valley and the Bell Canyon Reservoir. Bring your hearty lunch as we stop and explore the 20th century homestead near Bell Creek. The adventure begins after lunch as we begin hiking up the creek - be prepared for rock-hopping, boulder-scrambling, debris-crossing, and vegetation-brushing paths en route to the magnificent Devil's Punchbowl, a unique waterfall and grotto in Napa County.

Park the Car - Go on a Bike Ride!

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Despite popular belief, you don't always need a car to go wine tasting in Napa Valley. In fact, we encourage you to park your car and leisurely take a bike ride tour. Check out some of the Napa Valley Bike Tour Companies offering several different types of cycling tours and a Best of the Web Special Offer Guarantee!

bikeRide_Picnic.jpg*Getaway Adventures
Getaway Adventures offers tours in both Napa Valley and Sonoma. One of their most popular biking day tours is the Calistoga Sip N' Cycle that takes you through the quiet and scenic northern Napa Valley vineyards and includes stops at wineries for tasting and a delicious wine country picnic lunch.

Currently, they are offering a BEST OF THE WEB SPECIAL OFFER GUARANTEE on their Sip N' Cycle tours in Calistoga in Napa Valley, the Carneros District or in Healdsburg (Sonoma County). It's a steal of a deal, where you only pay $98 per person (normally $149pp). You won't see this offer anywhere else on the web. CLICK HERE to see offer details.

Recharge . . . Your Senses, Body, and Mind

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MARCH INTO NAPA VALLEY..

RECHARGE . . . your mind & body with scores of activities that will revive the senses in Wine Country. Whether it's the exhilarating rush of the wind in your face as you bike ride through the vineyards, the majestic views of Napa Valley as you soar above the clouds on a balloon ride, the blooming spring wild mustard fields and budding vines on a hike, or even a kayak adventure - we are sure you'll find something to happily distract yourself for a couple of hours as you rediscover and unleash your inner child!

calistogaBalloons.jpgRecharge Your Senses and Take Flight
Get a bird's eye view of rolling Napa Valley hills and vineyards from inside a hot air balloon. You'll be mesmerized by the breathtaking landscape before you. If you take an early morning flight, you're in for a treat. Watch the morning's fog lift, the sun rise, and the valley open up right before your eyes as your balloon wafts softly through the air. READ MORE . . .


bikeRide_Picnic.jpgPark the Car - Go on A Bike Ride!
Despite popular belief, you don't always need a car to go wine tasting in Napa Valley. In fact, we encourage you to park your car and leisurely take a bike ride tour. Check out some of the Napa Valley Bike Tour Companies offering several different types of cycling tours and a Best of the Web Special Offer Guarantee! READ MORE . . .



golfIstock.jpgGet into the "Swing" of Things
Whether you're after the country club afternoon, the relaxation of a resort, or the challenge of one of the toughest public course in the region, Napa Valley offers a golf experience to suit all tastes - and skill levels for that matter. READ MORE . . .


Rejuvenate . . . at the Spa!

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What better way to rejuvenate and restore that youthful vigor and appearance than with a relaxing spa treatment. Whether a cleansing European facial, deep tissue massage to work out all the kinks, or a mani/pedi escape - Napa Valley is full of choices to suit your fancy! Check out some of the specials running right now . . .

*The Spa at Silverado Resort & Spa
Inspired by the serene sophistication of a classic Roman spa, The Spa at Silverado offers fitness, spa and salon services surrounded by tranquil garden courtyards and breathtaking scenic views. Book the Spa Getaway Package featuring overnight accommodations, 50-minute spa treatment, complimentary wine tasting passes, and much more!
CLICK HERE for more details.


Ring in the New Year!

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champagneBottles.jpgBring 2011 to an end with a good ol' fashioned wine country BANG! Napa Valley and Sonoma are hosting several New Year's Eve parties to ring in the new year. Check out the list of places to dine, drink and dance into 2012!

New Year's Festivities in Napa Valley
CLICK HERE



New Year's Parties & Dinners in Sonoma County
CLICK HERE



Don't Miss the 2nd Annual Napa Truffle Festival

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EVENT UPDATE!


Please CLICK HERE to see details for 2014 Napa Truffle Festival!


Past Event Details
World class cuisine meets cutting edge truffle science January 13-16, 2012! Featuring everything truffles--culinary, tastings, science, cultivation and more.

Truffles! Not the chocolate kind, black Périgord truffles - aka "black diamonds." These rare and delectable fungi will be the center of attention at the second annual Napa Truffle Festival, January 13-16, at the Westin Verasa Napa where they will be discussed, examined, probed, prepared, demonstrated and finally, paired with wines and feasted upon for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Festival begins with a Friday night reception where you and fellow truffle-lovers will hobnob with your hosts Chef Frank Toque of La Toque, and Robert Chang and Dr. Paul Thomas of the American Truffle Company. You'll also have a chance to meet the Michelin Star Chefs - sans toques - who have come from as far as Chicago and Italy to cook and demonstrate for you throughout the weekend. The next morning, you'll attend a breakfast with keynote address by distinguished food and travel writer, and former editor of Bon Appétit, Barbara Fairchild. Saturday and Sunday feature culinary and scientific programs - cooking demos, truffle orchard tours, and winery lunches, tours and tastings. Truffle dogs will also be on hand to sniff things out with dog training demos (petting allowed)!

nvTruffleFest2011_Pic2.jpgThe highlight of the Festival will be the Saturday night Truffles & Wine dinner at La Toque featuring a multi-course truffle menu and wine pairing (see last year's menu.  Each course will be prepared by a Michelin Star chef, including Michael Cimarusti of Providence in Los Angeles; Suzette Gresham-Tognetti of Acquerello in San Francisco; Marco Gubbiotti  of La Bastiglia in Spello, Italy; and Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia in Chicago.

The Festival concludes on Monday with a scrumptious Truffle Brunch at Westin's Bank Café, followed by a lively Napa Truffle Festival Marketplace at Oxbow Public Market  showcasing local wines and artisanal vendors with their specialty food products.

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Incoming: Napa Valley Film Festival + Flavor! Napa Valley

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msWordClipArt_MovieRoll.jpgby Courtney Cochran

Temperatures may be cooling in the Napa Valley come November, but two dynamic events could make your visit the hottest in memory.  Both in their debut year, the Napa Valley Film Festival (Nov. 9-13) and Flavor! Napa Valley (Nov. 16-22) bring with them a host of diverting events that are rewriting the month's reputation - from a sleepier time to one that's buzzing with eclectic food-and-wine-fueled attractions.

Napa Valley Film Festival ~ 11/9- 11/13

Flavor! Napa Valley ~ 11/16-11/22

Flavor! Napa Valley 2011

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by Courtney Cochran

Silverado Resort & Culinary Institute of America at Greystone

flavorLogo.jpgA four-day gustatory tour de force highlighting farm-to-table cuisine, Flavor! Napa Valley brings together some of the valley's most accomplished food and wine personalities for a powerhouse lineup of events November 16-22nd. 

The highlight of the weekend should be The Appellation Trail: Tasting Napa Valley, a mega tasting of more than 120 wineries' best pours and 30 restaurants' best bites in a festive walk-around format at the Culinary Institute on Friday night. With more big-name purveyors on hand than you'll find in any other place - think Silver Oak Cellars, Robert Mondavi Winery, Stags' Leap Winery, Staglin Family Vineyard and Morimoto Napa, Ad Hoc, La Toque and The Restaurant at Meadowood to name just a few - plus live demos by the likes of chef Tyler Florence, the Appellation Trail should be a phenomenal way to experience the best of the valley in just one night.

Come daytime, attending an intimate workshop with one of the valley's foremost culinary players affords rare insights into the philosophies and methods of these larger-than-life luminaries. Oenobuffs and new wine fans alike should enjoy "The Noblest of Grapes: A Celebration of Cabernet Sauvignon," a seminar hosted by the inimitable Karen MacNeil (authoress of The Wine Bible) and Fred Dame, a charismatic Master Sommelier and one of the nation's foremost wine educators. Sushi fans won't want to miss Iron Chef America star Masaharu Morimoto's "Sushi & Sashimi 101" demonstration, where the reliably entertaining maestro will guide guests through the nuances of this Japanese delicacy. 

For more on the weekend's full lineup, lodging packages and ticketing info, visit FlavorNapaValley.com.

Napa Valley Film Festival 2011

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by Courtney Cochran

nvFilmFestival.jpgSelect venues throughout the Napa Valley

Founded by Bay Area locals and Bottle Shock producers Brenda and Marc Lohrmer, the first-ever Napa Valley Film Festival promises a chockablock schedule of feature, documentary and short film screenings, sneak previews, gala events, and conversations with film industry insiders over five days. 

Highly anticipated festivities will take place in venues from Carneros to Calistoga, with a gala kick-off reception going down at Robert Mondavi Winery on Thursday, November 10.  Thirsty film-goers will be able to sample pours from a diverse lineup of local vintners at wine pavilions, pre-screening pourings and winery open houses throughout the valley as well as at "Festival Front Porches," unique venues offering check-in rewards, live music and social media interactivity. Access Hollywood fans, take note: host Billy Bush will emcee the festival's Tribute Night program on Saturday in Yountville. 

Napa Valley Marathon

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KAISER PERMANENTE NAPA VALLEY MARATHON WELCOMES THE INN AT SOUTHBRIDGE

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Napa, CA - The Inn at Southbridge in St. Helena has announced a runners' package for marathoners for the 34th Annual running of the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon on March on March 4, 2012. Race Director Rich Benyo commented: "We're delighted to welcome the Inn at Southbridge to the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon. Runners stay throughout the Valley and we are happy to have St. Helena, and specifically The Inn at Southbridge as part of 34th Annual race." Details will be available on the Marathon website's Getaway Weekend tab.

innAtSouthbridge_guestroom.jpg"The Inn at Southbridge is delighted to be a part of the annual Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon. We trust that this will be another memorable marathon for all participants.  With a  great night's rest, nutritious breakfast and seamless transportation to and from the event - we look forward having our guests achieve new PB's this March!"
 - Marcelle Adderley, Hotel Manager

The Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon is a certified qualifier for the Boston Marathon; has served as the national marathon championships of the Road Runners Club of America from 1998 to 2009; for the last two years has been the Western Regional Championship for RRCA and will be so again in 2012.

On Sunday, March 4, celebrating the 34th Annual Running of the Napa Valley Marathon, along beautiful Silverado Trail, from Calistoga, south to the finish line at Vintage High School in Napa, the Napa Valley Marathon is known as the "biggest little marathon in the West." The Napa Valley Marathon has also earned a reputation for outstanding runner support, attention to detail, and a beautiful course. Runners, 60% of whom are from Northern California, are treated to panoramic views of the valley, flowering fruit trees, and dormant vineyards carpeted with golden mustard flowers. The Expo on Saturday March 3 is free and open to the public the day before the marathon.

Please see the website www.napavalleymarathon.org for more information or to read about the special speakers.Registration is now OPEN!

ARTwalk launches 2nd Exhibition in Downtown Napa

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FishOnByTerrenceMartin.jpgNAPA, Calif.-- Arts Council Napa Valley (ACNV) and the Napa Community Redevelopment Agency have announced the return of the Napa ARTwalk public sculpture tour. The 2nd ARTwalk, titled "Momentum: Art that Moves (Us)", will launch on October 19th 2011 and will be on exhibition through April, 2013.

Downtown Napa's first-ever interactive public art exhibition and tour first launched in July 2010, and received an unprecedented amount of local support and media attention. Due to the success of the inaugural exhibition, the 2nd Napa ARTwalk will feature 13 new sculptures (an increase from 10 in 2010), as well as last year's People's Choice winning sculpture, "Fish On", by artist Terrence Martin (pictured to the right). One of the most familiar pieces in the 2010 exhibition, "Fish On" is a metal sculpture of a largemouth bass; it will also remain on view until 2013 . Napa ARTwalk's 2011-13 new artists include: Marissa Carlisle, Andrew Ferrales, Eric Furman, Matt Gil, James Haire, Loren Madsen, Ulises Meza, Robin Murez, C.J. Rench, Patricia Vader and Jeff Zischke.

The Napa ARTwalk will give the public an opportunity to vote on favorite sculptures online at www.napaartwalk.org throughout the 18-month exhibition period. Tour brochures, featuring a sculpture map, will be available year round in several downtown locations, including: Napa City Hall, The Goodman Library, Napa Valley Welcome Center, Artists of the Valley Gallery, and the Napa City-County Library. 

More News from This Year's Crush Season

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grapes.jpgVIDEOS

EVENTS
Crushing in Napa Valley

October 15 -- Havrest Party at Bourassa Vineyards
Celebration: Come and join us for another Grape Stomping Harvest Party at Bourassa Vineyards! Live Music Bourassa Vineyards Wines Napa Smith Beer Roast Pig On site Wood Fire Pizza Kitchen Cigars and Port!
Fee: $75, $40 for wine club members Time: 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Phone Number: 707-254-4922


Sonoma Valley Harvest Season

October 22 -- Harvest Moon Lamb Dinner at Gloria Ferrer
Celebration: Celebrate the crush at Gloria Ferrer with a dinner featuring Sonoma County's finest lamb and Pinot Noir. The evening will commence with a full harvest moon rising over Carneros, while our guests sip bubbly from our unparalleled Vista Terrace. Reserve your tickets soon, as space is extremely limited. 23555 Carneros Highway (121), Sonoma
Fee: $95 Time: 6:30 p.m. Phone Number: (707) 933.1999

Around Wine Country
October 22 - 23 -- Hopland Passport Weekend
Wine Education: This year's theme is "Aged to Perfection". With seventeen participating wineries pouring their best wines, incredible food pairings at each stop, and opportunities to experience tours, art installations, and live music, Hopland is the place to be for wine lovers!
Fee: $45/$55 During the Event; Time: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Phone Number: 800-564-2582

Late Summer Festival Highlights

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Summer days are flying by fast. In a blink of an eye, autumn leaves will color wine country vineyards yellow, red, and orange. Not ready to say goodbye just yet? Neither are we! See some of the late summer festivals coming up this last weekend in August and the month of September.

sonomaCountyPic1.jpgSEPTEMBER HIGHLIGHTS ~ BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
September 2-4, 2011 - Sonoma County

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is an Annual Labor Day Weekend Event that celebrates the best of Sonoma wine, food, and lifestyle. "We have created a premium, three-day destination event that celebrates the vineyards, wines, cuisine, culture, and characters that make Sonoma County the ultimate wine country destination," says Executive Director Maureen Cottingham.

Tickets range from $85 to $500 per person and include signature events "Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch, the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction" and a host of intimate and exclusive winery lunch and dinner parties at multiple locations throughout Sonoma County.

All proceeds benefit and support Sonoma Coutny non-profit organizations. To date, more than $10 million has been donated directly to Sonoma non-profits by the local wine community.

>> Buy Tickets
>> See the schedule of events

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Upcoming Festivals in Napa Valley

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AUGUST
August 3 - 21 -- Music in the Vineyards
Live Music: Music in the Vineyards is a nationally-acclaimed chamber music festival held each August in the Napa Valley. The three-week festival showcases world-class artists-in-residence performing new and classic chamber music repertoire in stunning winery settings.
Fee: Varies Time: Varies Phone Number: (707) 258.5559

August 20 -- Napa Valley Art Festival
Exhibition, Benefit: The Napa Valley Art Festival is a juried exhibit and sale of over 300 original paintings by 30 of the West's premier representational artists. 6516 Washington St., Yountville, CA
Fee: Free Time: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Phone Number: 707-256-3828

Wine Country Personality: Bret LeRolland

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The Wine Carriage - Wine Tasting via Horse & Carriage with Gourmet Lunch
Healdsburg, CA


wcPersonality_WineCarriage_Bret.jpgBret LeRolland is no ordinary tour operator. He's a different kind of guy with a different kind of business. The Wine Carriage is the quintessential off-the-beaten-track winery and tasting tour -- from the conveyance itself, a shade-top carriage drawn by two giant draft horses, to the personalized service, local knowledge and preferred treatment that a tour with Bret guarantees.

Riding with Bret and his matched Percherons, Duke and Pepper, is not only a thrill, it's a real backstage look into the world of California wine. He knows the history of the region and its characters, the lifecycle of the vines, climate, geology, and wine. In addition to a certificate in Biological Horticulture from UC Santa Cruz, Bret has experience in farming and logging salvaged redwoods with draft horses, as well as crossing several states on horseback.  As he puts it, "I always knew I wanted to work with horses".  But he had to go pretty far out of his way to do it.

The son of a New York City cop, Bret grew up in the Big Apple, often visiting his grandmother in Harlem.  Growing up with such an urban bias, he decided to try something different.  Relocating to the left coast, Bret worked on ships in Alaska before moving to California to study at UCSC, and later attended the California School of Circus Arts to learn Chinese acrobatics and fire spinning.

Napa Valley Festival del Sole 2011

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It's been dubbed a "feast for the senses" by the New York Times and we couldn't agree more!

The 6th annual Napa Valley Festival del Sole is July 15-24th featuring internationally renowned soloists, orchestras and ensembles that delight audiences over a 10-day period among the lush rolling vineyards of the legendary Napa Valley wine region. Add five-star cuisine, art exhibits, and wines from Napa Valley's top vintners and you'll definitely want to attend this "star-studded extravaganza that in just three years has become one of the hottest tickets on the global classical music circuit" according to Diablo Magazine.

Are you planning on being in attendance? There's only a few more days and our inside sources say tickets and VIP Packages are SELLING OUT FAST!

>> Overview of Concerts
>> Overview of Food & Wine Events
>> Overview of Wellness Events
>> Download Festival Schedule

Festival Del Sole Video

Robert Mondavi Summer Music Festival 2011

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mondaviSummerConcert.jpgNobody kicks off July 4th weekend better than Robert Mondavi Winery, one of Napa Valley's legendary wineries, with the start of their annual summer music concert series in the month of July. "This year's lineup presents artists that are excellent musicians in their genre," noted Margrit Mondavi(late wife of Robert Mondavi), who founded the concert series in 1969. "Robert's belief that we could make wines that stand in the company of the world's finest, leads us to select artists who stand in the company of the world's greatest. We are so excited to start with Gavin this year." 

To heat things up first will be Gavin DeGraw on July 2nd as he celebrates the American Dream with heartfelt lyrics and soulful, blues-tinged vocals. In the weeks to follow:

July 9th - Fume Blanc Concert with Colbie Caillat
Colbie is a Grammy nominated rising star armed with dusky vocals and a acoustic guitar

July 16th - Festival del Sole Presents David Foster and Friends
Foster is a noted singer, songwriter, and composer from Canada, and his friends include the Canadian Tenors, Charice, Babyface and Ruben Studdard.

July 23rd - Chris Issak
Since his debut in 1985, Chris Isaak has been captivating audiences with his signature rock 'n' roll music.

July 30th - Winemaker of the Year Concert k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang

A four-time Grammy Award winner, k.d. lang will enchant you with her touching and engaging songs.

Need more of a reason to attend one of the hottest summer concerts in Napa Valley? In the 42 years since the Summer Music Festival's inception, Robert Mondavi Winery has donated more than $2 million from the proceeds to support the Napa Valley Symphony, the Napa Valley Unified School District and the Napa Valley Opera House.

Start planning your trip to Wine Country and get a jump on buying tickets in advance. All performances begin at 7:00 p.m. and are held at the Robert Mondavi Winery on Highway 29 in Oakville, Napa Valley. Ticket prices vary by performance. For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit www.robertmondaviwinery.com or call 1-888-766-6328.


Dive into fun at Bardsessono Hotel

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BardessonoHotelDiveBar.jpgCalifornia might be rain-soaked at the moment, but the forecast is sun, sun, SUN! And just in time too. Bardessono Hotel, one of Napa Valley's swankiest hotels,  is kicking off the summer months with their popular, weekly Dive Bar at the hotel's rooftop pool again. It starts June 15th and ends October 19th and held each Wednesday from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.

The Dive Bar will be open to guests and non-guests and feature two $9 speciality drinks available at the pool in addition to the full bar located off the restaurant. Complimentary valet parking will also be included for all attendees. So, grab your bathing suit and towels and head off to happy hour, dancing and mingling with new friends!

bardessonoHotel.jpgAbout Bardessono:
The Bardessono opened in February 2009 with 62 guest rooms, restaurant and spa in Yountville, California, the heart of the Napa Valley. We pledge to care for an uncommon set of priorities: for the environment, for each other, for our guests, for the property and for the community nearby. Together, these priorities represent a vision for unprecedented and attentive service. http://www.bardessono.com



See other articles about Bardessono:
The New Mecca for Wine Country Luxury
Summer Lunching in Yountville

Spring Festivities . . .

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wine.jpgWhy drive all over wine country when you can attend one of several wine tasting events in Sonoma and Napa Valley to taste many wines all at once. Add food pairings, live music, and perhaps dancing (some even encourage!)and now things are really swingin'. Save the date or make your reservation now as many Spring and Summer events sell out quickly!

SONOMA

Sonoma Valley Reserve - May 14th and 15th

Bodega Bay Film Festival - May 28th and 29th

Sonoma Jazz+ - May 20-22nd

Single Vineyard Night - June 4th

More Sonoma Events

NAPA VALLEY

Auction Napa Valley - The American Wine Classic - June 2nd - 5th

Upcoming Events in St. Helena

More Napa Valley Events

Flights of Fancy

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sevenstones.jpgEight artistic interludes in Wine Country.

by Sarah Sung

Wine enjoyment and art appreciation have always seemed like close cousins. However, there are some wineries, tasting rooms, and galleries throughout Wine Country that are taking this connection to the next level. New exhibits are opening throughout the region, making sure your next "tasting" experience is multi-sensory.

In Living Color
Gallery Meets Tasting Room at Ma(i)sonry

This historic 1904 stone manor is one of only two buildings in Yountville listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The gallery within displays art and artifacts from as far back as the 16th century. "It's as if you have just walked into someone's home, and you are both immediately comfortable and yet immediately intrigued by all that is going on around you," owner Michael Polenske says. "Ma(i)sonry is in every way a celebration of life's aesthetics. Every collection onsite has been created by the hand of an artist, artisan, or designer, and, of course, that includes the wine."

Read More

New Year's Eve Parties in Napa Valley!

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Rock the night away and into the New Year!  Parties are happening all around Napa Valley. Grab some friends and join the festivities. Below are just a few of the parties that caught our eye, but check out the full events calendar HERE!

winetrain_Champagne.jpgNew Years Crystal Ball @ Napa Valley Wine Train
The Crystal Ball will begin with an hors d'oeuvre reception in the station. Guests will board the Train and relax with a New Year's Eve themed beverage and a fresh, multiple course gourmet meal. Upon returning to Napa the party will be transported back into the station, where guests can socialize, and dance away the rest of 2012.

If you already have dinner plans, but don't want to miss the celebration, join the After Party. Dancing and entertainment will start in the station at 10pm. At midnight, toast to 2013 with a glass of sparkling wine. Then finish your evening with music and dancing until 1am.

CLICK HERE for more details

Prohibition Style Speakeasy New Year's Bash!

Enjoy a glorious Prohibition Era flashback celebration to ring in 2013! Harvest Inn (located in St. Helena) has a magical two night package that includes a New Year's Bash at restaurant Goose & Gander. The party is a glamorous evening of dining, libations, live jazz and fun, flapper-style surprises.
CLICK HERE for more details!


New Year's Eve Dinner at Siena Restaurant & Ballroom
Kick off 2013 with a wonderful prix fix five-course dinner at Siena Restaurant in Napa Valley. Savor a special menu prepared by Executive Chef Mike before dancing the night away! Already have dinner plans on New Year's Eve? Keep the celebration going at The Meritage Resort with our "Napa Style" New Year's Eve Celebration. Located in our brand new Carneros Ballroom, enjoy dancing, dessert, party favors, and good times as you welcome 2013.
CLICK HERE for more details!

New Years Eve @ Silo's w/ Briefcase Full of Blues

Silo's invites you to see Briefcase Full of Blues Band live! There will be two shows this evening. The early show includes Glass of Mumm Champagne with Chocolates upon arrival, & Party Favors. The late show includes Glass of Mumm Champagne with Chocolates upon arrival, Party Favors, Midnight Countdown with Champagne Toast.
CLICK HERE for more details!


>> SEE MORE New Year's Eve events in the Napa Valley Calendar.


The Riddling Rack Is A No Brainer

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riddlingrack.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Cold wet weather makes me want to hole up at home with a bottle of red wine and some truffle mashed potatoes.  Home is easy, it's warm, it's reasonably attractive, and it almost always has some really good wine on hand.  But when I dragged myself out on a random weeknight for pre-dinner drinks at the AVIA Hotel's Riddling Rack, I discovered another comforting nook in town with these same attributes--one that's also way cooler looking, and has vintage Dom Perignon by the glass.  

Uptown Rises

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uptown-theater.jpgNapa's art deco theater reopens as Wine Country's coolest music venue.

by Peter Crooks

Longtime Napa residents remember Napa's Uptown Theatre as a neighborhood cinema that screened everything from Casablanca to Ben-Hur to Sling Blade. Hollywood legends Clark Gable and Carole Lombard even visited this art deco jewel while passing through Northern California. Alas, by the 1990s, the theater had been split into four tiny screening rooms and slid into disrepair. It went dark in 1999.

But like a feel-good Hollywood tale, this story has a hero. Napa businessman George Altamura purchased the building and spent five years restoring it to its original glory. Early in the process, construction workers peeled back paint and were astonished to find original art deco murals--still in very good shape--on the ceiling and walls.

Read More

See Napa Events Calendar

Read More on Uptown Theatre

More Articles on Uptown Theatre

WinterScape Celebration in Yountville

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holidayStar.jpgThe town of Yountville is full of holiday surprises. This year the town launches their first month-long winter wonderland featuring a host of activities, attractions, and special hotel deals. Bring the whole family, make a romantic couple's escape, or just getaway with friends. See what's on the town's Holiday Hot List this winter season:

Vintage Winter Pavilion - Spin into the season skating under the stars in a clear-top tent infused with holiday music, festive trees and elaborate décor at V Marketplace.   This new attraction is certain to spark holiday cheer with a lively sidekick of food and drink venues.  After 6 p.m., the Hot Toddy & Holiday Cocktail menu debuts. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily, December 11 - January 2nd.  $12/adults; $8/children 8 & under. Yountville Chamber/707.944.8008.
 
Carriage Rides - Saddle up this season with a team of stout Percheron and Shire horses leading a holiday-decorated carriage through Yountville's main artery - Washington Street - on weekends throughout December.  (Nov. 27; Dec 4, 11, 18, 31). Complimentary.
 
North Pole "Drink & Clink" - Weekends around the rink will include select Yountville AVA wine tasting (Fri./Sat.) showcasing the area's top producers and a Santa sommelier to keep the cheer flowing.  A seasonal grazing menu will showcase heady roasted chestnuts, dim sum and pulled pork sliders - a perfect complement to the region's cabernets.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Serenity Special

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massage.jpgBe Naughty - It Will Make You Nicer

Does it feel just a tad naughty to treat yourself during the holiday season? Well, consider it therapeutic or medicinal or merely sanity-saving, but this year, Milliken Creek Inn & Spa's prescription for surviving holiday madness is the promise of a brief, serenity-inducing escape.  As its "spoonful of sugar," Milliken Creek Inn & Spa is offering quite the incentive: with every reservation booked on Black Friday, November 26, or Cyber Monday, November 29, the Inn is including a complimentary 75-minute Aromatherapy Massage, a $160 value.  Whether enjoyed as a quick rejuvenating escape between Thanksgiving and New Year's or reserved as something to look forward to, the Serenity Special at Milliken Creek Inn & Spa is surely the nicest thing you can do for yourself this Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  So, go ahead and be naughty, you've earned it by being such good boys and girls all year.

Where to Watch the World Series

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By Deirdre Bourdet

giantsBaseball.jpgNAPA VALLEY, CA - The Giants are in the World Series! Join fellow fan-atics at these wine country spots to cheer on San Francisco's own orange and black.


Calistoga Inn & Brewery. Beer and baseball are a classic pairing, and this downtown Calistoga bar/restaurant/inn also boasts an award-winning microbrewery, which sells 100% of its beers on the premises. Crispy calamari and buffalo wings rub shoulders with steamed mussels, oysters, shrimp cocktail and Dungeness crab cakes on the appetizer menu, and bring a taste of the bay to northern Napa Valley.

With a pint of local brew and bowl full of seafood, you will be more than set for game time. 1250 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga.

Take a Gourmet Retreat

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casaLanaGourmetRetreats.jpgCALISTOGA, CA - What better way to experience the essence of wine country cuisine than with a gourmet retreat? If you are an avid home cook or food enthusiast, then take your cooking to the next level with a culinary vacation in Napa Valley.

At Gourmet Retreats, located in Calistoga, CA at CasaLana B&B, sign up for hands-on cooking classes taught in a professionally equipped kitchen. To ensure personalized attention and one-on-one attention, classes are limited to only 9 participants. They include printed recipe handouts and a generous sampling or meal of the food prepared served with wine/beverage. All kitchen equipment is, of course, provided as well.

Gourmet Retreats offers Culinary Vacations, Boot Camp, One-Day Wine Country Classes, and Gourmet Weekend Retreats as well. Choose from a variety of class lengths ranging from as little as 5 hours to 5 days.

View sample Itineraries for a Culinary Vacation



Napa Valley Film Festival Launching at Last

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By Deirdre Bourdet

nvFilmFestival.jpgThis November heralds the launch of a new signature event for Napa Valley: The Napa Valley Film Festival.  After more than five years of dreaming, festival co-chairs Brenda and Marc Lhormer announced that the Napa Valley Film Festival will debut in November 2011 with a five-day, four town extended weekend of cinematic celebration.  But since 2011 is still a long way off, a three-day Launch Celebration this November gives attendees a taste of the great things in store.

Co-directors Marc and Brenda Lhormer are no strangers to the film industry, or the grueling work of planning film festivals. The couple produced and distributed the 2008 movie Bottle Shock, inspired by the 1976 Paris Tasting, and ran the Sonoma Valley Film Festival for seven years.  Marc Lhormer was kind enough to chat with me about the couple's latest venture and the imminent launch party, which he refers to as the "amuse-bouche" for the main event next year.

The Napa Valley Film Festival has three core principles: (1) celebrating the human-scale of human existence by presenting relatable real people with real issues, and the hope that inspires us; (2) exploring multicultural differences of perspective, as well as the commonalities across cultural divides both within the U.S. and internationally; and (3) bringing the artists and the audience together for conversations about the films.  Every film being screened will be represented by the directors, the cast, or both, and Q&A sessions will be the norm, not the exception. Local food and wine will feature prominently in the parties surrounding the films, of course, but this is by no means a festival of food and wine-themed movies.  

There's More To Do Than Just Drink

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calistogaBalloons.jpgAlcohol-Free Activities In Calistoga
by Deirdre Bourdet

Whether you're a tippler, a toddler, or a teetotaler, everyone needs to do things other than drink wine on a trip to wine country.  These non-alcoholic activities are also some of the most enjoyable ways to spend your time in the Calistoga area.

Take to the Air
What better way to experience the beauty and distinctive landmarks of the northern Napa Valley than to fly above them? Whether you fantasize about lazy balloon rides through early morning air, or World War II-era biplane missions, or swift and exciting modern glider plane trips, Calistoga has got you covered.  Calistoga Balloons offers one of the Napa Valley's best hot-air balloon experiences, thanks to the incomparable scenery of the northern valley.  You will cruise over Castello di Amorosa, the Palisade Cliffs, Mt. St. Helena, Château Montelena, Old Faithful Geyser, and the Petrified Forest, and then enjoy a complimentary champagne brunch at Hydro Grill.  Balloon rides are $225 per person, all inclusive, but only $199 if booked online. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance. 

crazyCreekGliders.jpgIf floating at the speed of the wind isn't fast enough for you, head slightly out of town to Crazy Creek Air Adventures in Middletown, which offers scenic trips in sleek gliders and restored historic bi-planes, as well as flying lessons to those who yearn to rule the skies. Book your flight directly online where rates range from $149 to $330 for the ultimate glider ride!


Calistoga, CA - Upcoming Fall & Winter Events

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Napa Valley Wine Country

nightlife.jpgOCTOBER

October 23 -- Calistoga Blues Fest: Downtown Blues Festival
Festival: Featuring some Smokin' Hot Bands! Stroll through our walkable downtown and taste the wine of 15 different wineries while listening to the sounds of some of the coolest Blues around - Live! New this year is a cigar lounge. Main Stage on Washington Street, Calistoga, CA
Fee: Free/$30 Tasting Pass Time: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m. Phone Number: (707) 942.6333

October 30 -- The Pagan Halloween Ball at Castello di Amorosa
Celebration: Dario Sattui's, Castello di Amorosa, an authentically-styled, 13th century Tuscan style castle winery, takes a haunted turn this Halloween as it celebrates The Pagan Ball. The event features a haunted tour, an outrageous costume contest, dancing in the Castello's Great Hall to Masterpiece, a 12-piece San Francisco cover band, wine bars and hors d'oeuvres. 4045 North Saint Helena Hwy, Calistoga CA
Fee: $95 WineClub Members, $115 their guests Time: 8 p.m. - 12:30 a.m. Phone Number: (707) 967.6274

Napa Sonoma Wine and Food Festival

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festival.jpgTwo Meccas Unite

The Napa Sonoma Wine and Food Festival celebrates its inaugural event of wine, food, and fashion. The event brings together world-renowned winemakers, celebrated chefs and industry insiders for a medley of signature events designed to entertain, educate and inspire! October 16th, 2010. See below for more information or CLICK HERE


The Napan Renaissance

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GH Gallery.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Five years ago, no one would have come to the city of Napa for its fine arts.  2010 marks the dawn of a new era for Napa's art scene, with no fewer than three downtown Napa galleries open to the public, a new month-long celebration of the arts this fall, and--for the first time in its 23-year history--an Open Studios event organized and planned by the artists themselves.  This autumn is the ideal time to visit Napa Valley and experience the artistic renaissance that is beginning to take shape.

Aerial Spectacular: Napa Valley Ballooning

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Imagine this: You and your special someone are floating 2,000 feet above mist-shrouded vineyards bathed in early morning light, with no sound to accompany your reverie except the soft whistling of the wind itself.  As you turn to your companion to remark on the unmatched beauty of the spectacle below, you realize that you've never been suspended so high in the air with just a simple wicker basket for support - and also that you've never felt so blissfully removed from the frenetic pace of your life.  

Upcoming Events in Napa, CA

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Sometimes planning a trip around an event is the best thing to do! If you're wondering what's going on in the town of Napa for the Fall and Winter months, see the events below!

SEPTEMBER
September 17  -- Oktoberfest at JV Wine & Spirits
Wine Education: Come join in the Friday night Winemaker Tastings for lively conversation, good fun, and a taste of some of the best wines in the world. This Friday we celebrate Oktoberfest! Must be 21 years of age to enter JV's tasting room. JV Wine, 301 First Street, Napa, CA
Fee: $5.00 tasting fee per personTime: 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Phone Number: (707) 253.2624

September 24  -- Live at Silo's - The Kevin Russell Band
Live Music: Blues: The biography of Kevin Russell "a true guitar man." Motor-City-born and raised, Kevin Russell has mastered a unique blend of rock, blues and soul -Kevin says; "you see, it's a Motor City thing!". Silo's at the Napa River Inn 530 Main Street Napa, CA 94559
Fee: $20 Advance $25 at Door (Club Members $14)Time: 8 p.m. - 11 p.m. Phone Number: (707) 251.5833

September 26  -- Margaret Cho at Uptown Theatre
Performing Arts: "Mature Content". Margaret started performing stand-up at age 16. Soon after, she won a comedy contest where first prize was opening for Jerry Seinfeld. Margaret' new tour, Cho Dependent, will feature new stand-up and a few live performances of songs. 1350 Third Street, Napa, CA
Fee: $50/60Time: Doors: 6:30 p.m. / Show: 8 p.m. Phone Number: (707) 259.0123

September Saturdays in the Valley

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chefotooletomates.jpg By Deirdre Bourdet

Napa Valley is known throughout the world for its stunning wines, gorgeous countryside, and world-class cuisine.  Late summer is the perfect time to visit this corner of foodie paradise and taste the good life, and conveniently, tons of September events give visitors and locals the opportunity to experience all three of Napa's greatest attractions in the same sitting.  Here are my top weekend picks for a good time this month
Photo by Ashley Teplin

Build Your Own BLT day at Bardessono Resort. Next Saturday, September 11, from 2pm to 5pm, I will be following my dreams to an embarrassment of deliciousness, courtesy of Bardessono and Hill Family Estates.  On this momentous day, Chef Sean O'Toole will give guests free rein to assemble the greatest BLTs imaginable using the resort's own organically farmed heirloom tomatoes and lettuces, a panoply of housemade aiolis, local breads, and of course a full selection of artisanal bacons.  Will you choose Bardessono's own apple-smoked bacon, with Cajun aioli on slices of rich brioche?  Or will you go with Fatted Calf from Napa, slathered with bacon-sherry aioli on tender pain de mie?  As you ponder these important questions, sip on a selection of lovely Hill Family Estate wines, and nosh on passed hors d'oeuvres like Andalucian gazpacho, sweet tomato cream puffs, or La Quercia prosciutto with crushed tomato crostini.  Round out the tomato-bacon feast with sides like fennel salad with taggiasca olive, preserved lemon, and Regina extra virgin olive oil, or a visit to the decadent burrata bar with its selection of specialty salts.  Cardiologists will be standing by... or so I hope.  For tickets call Bardessono at 707-204-6030.


Napa's New Lease On Nightlife

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By Deirdre Bourdet

nightlife.jpgWhen I moved to Napa from San Francisco a few years ago, everyone warned me I was entering a nightlife dead zone. Everything shuts down at 9:00pm.  While that may have been true in the past, a slew of newcomers and new ventures by long-time residents has kicked things up a notch around here.

After nearly a decade of tortuously slow renovation, the Uptown Theatre re-opened its doors this May to reveal its newly restored deco-fabulous style. Fresh faced and fully equipped with all the modern amenities, the Uptown offers an unbeatable combination of historical charm and contemporary sophistication. 

The restored original ceiling murals and light fixtures custom built to replicate the originals radiate classic 1930s style, but the sound system and the seats are 100% modern--21-23 inches wide, as compared to the original theatre's 16-17 inch seats, and staggered to ensure there's not a bad seat in the house.  Even the nosebleed seats have perfect unobstructed views of the stage and perfect acoustics. A full bar offers patrons their choice of libations, including local wines and bubbly by the glass. 

Napa's Ultimate Scavenger Hunt - August 14

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Onward-Avatar.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Where: di Rosa Preserve - 5200 Sonoma Hwy, Napa
When: Sat, Aug. 14 2010
Why: supporting the arts in Wine Country is cool
$$: $55/$35 di Rosa members

Onward!, Di Rosa Preserve's Young Collector's Group, will host "Scavenge di Rosa" this Saturday, August 14 from 6-9pm in Napa.  Word is this will be quite the cool culinary-gastro-art affair, with appearances promised from numerous street food vendors, live music and - of course - plenty of liquid libations.  And with a premise turning on a real scavenger hunt through the spot's galleries, it looks to be quite the socializer-cum-art-viewing extravaganza.   

Harvest Happenings 2010

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By Courtney Cochran

Those of us who pop a cork on occasion know these vinous spoils don't arrive from the vineyard ready to drink: There's real work that goes into coaxing wine from vine to bottle.  And each year, come harvest time, proof of this precious labor can be seen throughout Wine Country, as vintners and their trusted teams race against time and mother nature to deliver ripened fruit to the winery - where crush begins and ends within just a few frenetic weeks.  

We'd like to raise a glass to these teams, whose standout efforts allow us to enjoy each vintage's best at a more leisurely pace (cheers to that).  For word on where to go in Wine Country for the best 2010 harvest happenings, read on.

August Means Busy In Wine Country

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silveroak.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

August heralds the start of harvest season in wine country, when wineries and restaurants kick into overdrive to welcome visitors with events and activities related to our most important time of year.  Since actual harvesting doesn't typically begin until September (or later!), many wineries plan August parties around their release of red wines, while others pick a crowd-pleasing food or educational topic to theme their event.  Regardless of the official focus, these early harvest events always feature sunshine, fun, tasty edibles, and fantastic local wines.  Here are a few August events with all of those essential factors, as well as particularly cool themes.

Yountville Pairings: Art & Wine

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Ma(i)sonry(2).jpgIf you are looking for a unique wine tasting experience, then make sure your next visit to Napa Valley Wine Country in the town of Yountville includes Ma(i)sonry. They pair "artisan wines with exquisite art and furnishings in a historic setting".

The building itself dates back to 1904, one of three stone buildings in Yountville and one of only tow listed on the Nation Register of Historic Places. But this is no museum! Reminiscent of a home or private club, leisurely view furnishings ranging from the 16th century to the mid-twentieth century as well as contemporary collections of art on display from well known and respected artists.

Additionally, not only can you peruse the design and art collections at Ma(i)sonry, you are also welcome to do the same at their other three gallery locations: I.Wolk Gallery in St. Helena, Sculpture gardens at Auberge de Soleil in Rutherford, CA and/or the sculpture gardens at MacArthur Place in Sonoma, CA.

Visiting Yountville, CA

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YOUNTVILLE, CA - Luxurious accommodations at four star resorts and hotels, Michelin star rated restaurants, boutique style shopping, art galleries, activities ranging from hot air balloon rides to zip lining, and wineries of every variety and style - welcome to Yountville. Experience why this town is considered the must-stop wine destination in Napa Valley.


Travel, Taste, and Things To Do
Hotel Luca: A Tuscan Getaway
Vintage Inn: A Slice of Provence
Yountville Tasting Itinerary
Taste in Town
Bell Wine Cellars Wins!
Summer Lunching in Yountville
Secret Gardens of The French Laundry & Bardessono
Tomatoville Touches Down
Summer Events

Ready to Plan Your Trip?
Find a place to stay at several resorts, hotels, and bed & breakfasts.
Make reservations in advance at some of the best restaurants.
Print out tasting offers from several wineries on your itinerary.
See the vineyards from a hot air balloon ride, or by bike!

Yountville, CA: Tomatoville Touches Down

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by Courtney Cochran

With a nod to Jimmy Buffet's catchy vaca anthem, Margaritaville, Yountville's Bardessono and Hill Family Estate will bring Wine Country visitors the three-day Tomatoville celebration September 10, 11 and 12.  Billing the tomato "Mother Nature's finest fruit (since the grape)," the event's sponsors promise a juicy lineup of activities; highlights include:

Activities In St. Helena

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A 1337 shop in St. Helena

Image by ohkaterina via Flickr

There's More To Do Than Just Drink

By Deirdre Bourdet

ST. HELENA, CA - Whether you're a tippler, a toddler, or a teetotaler, everyone needs to do things other than drink wine on a trip to wine country. Fortunately, there are plenty of non-alcoholic activities to entertain you in just about every sub-region of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. This series of articles will point you to some of the less obvious ways to have fun in the land of wine.
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Golf in Napa and Sonoma

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(4/365) :: Golf Thursdays

Image by chispita_666 via Flickr

By Robert P. Farmer

Spring has sprung and the grass is green and getting greener. Time to hit the greens--and fairways, and the 19th holes. This is one of my favorite times of year. When days stretch longer and temperatures reach higher. Plenty of time and favorable weather to grind out a few holes of golf from among your daily grind. Napa and Sonoma valleys, while known for their obvious Viticultural attributes, are perhaps lesser appreciated for their golf courses. But the valleys are excellent places to pursue your golf passion. And there's always time to enjoy the world class wines as you count up your score.

Napa Golf Guide
Sonoma Golf Guide
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Napa Golf Guide

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*updated March 2012

by Robert P. Farmer

golfIstock.jpgNAPA, CA - Whether you're after the country club afternoon, the relaxation of a resort, or the challenge of one of the toughest public course in the region, Napa Valley offers a golf experience to suit all tastes - and skill levels for that matter. The valley known for its vineyards is also home to an assortment of golf courses on par with its assortment of wines. Public, private, and semi-private, all the courses take advantage of their eye-catching natural surroundings - rolling oak-studded hillsides, lakes and creeks, mountain views and valley vistas. Napa golf has it all. If they could put it in a bottle, they would.

Spring Freeing

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By Deirdre Bourdet

Spring is in the air... and so is romance.  Now that Valentine's Day is over and done with (to everyone's great relief), we can all turn to romantic pursuits with a lot less pressure and a whole lot more enthusiasm.  A weekend escape to the natural beauty of wine country offers fresh air, fresh perspective, and perhaps a fresh start.  And despite what you may have heard, it doesn't cost a fortune to enjoy the area's greatest assets.  Some of the most staggeringly gorgeous experiences are 100% free to those willing to take them.  Here are some of the more visually stimulating activities to enjoy.

Wine Country Bicycling Tours

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What the Bottle Holder is Really For!

Image by Lance and Erin via Flickr

Forget driving from winery to winery on your next wine tasting trip. What could be more fun then bike riding through wine country. Bike tours are a wonderful way to experience wine country more personally and get exercise at the same time! Put that New Year's Resolution into practice!

See our recommendations for Tour Bike companies in Sonoma & Napa:

Napa Valley & Sonoma Bike Tours
Provides bike rentals to folks staying in Napa or Sonoma areas. They provide several touring options - roll on your own, self guided, guided, or vacation packages. Many do-it-yourself folks like the self guided tours. You can choose how long you want to ride, type of terrain, and number of wineries to visit sans any worries about lunch (it's delivered to you) and any wine you purchase (waiting for you at the end of your trip). Vacation Packages differ in activities, but typically include hotel accommodations . They offer a range of other activities too like mountain dirt biking and kayaking!  Fun for the entire family, group of friends or just a couples getaway.

Wine Country Bike Tours & Rentals
Small shop located in Healdsburg's Historic Riverfront Winery District that offers fleet of road, hybrid and tandem bikes. Perfect for a day of riding in the Dry Creek or Russian River Valleys for casual winery tour or amazing road ride. Several types of tours offered here as well. Past renters have glowing reviews about friendly staff members, quality of bikes, and overall experience.

Not convinced bike tours are the best route for you? Not to fear - WineCountry.com has a host of limo or shuttle tour companies in both Napa Valley and Sonoma to help meet your needs! See listings below.

Napa Valley Tours & Sightseeing Resources
Sonoma Tours & Sightseeing Resources

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Napa Valley Hot Air Balloon Tours

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*last updated May 2014

RECHARGE. . . Take Flight with a Hot Air Balloon Ride!

Meghan Lamb-Napa Valley Aloft-DSC_0356.jpgBALLOON TOURS
Get a bird's eye view of rolling Napa Valley hills and vineyards from inside a hot air balloon. You'll be mesmerized by the breathtaking landscape before you. If you take an early morning flight, you're in for a treat. Watch the morning's fog lift, the sun rise, and the valley open up right before your eyes as your balloon wafts softly through the air.

Hot Air Balloon rides are also very popular for marriage proposals. What could be more romantic than saying "I love you. Will you marry me" several thousand feet up in the air? Several balloon companies offer Champagne Breakfast brunch at the end of your trip.

See our recommendations for Hot Air Balloon companies in Napa Valley.

Napa Valley Mustard Festival 2010

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mustardFest2010.jpgThe Napa Valley vineyards landscape is slowly turning a different color - mustard yellow. That can only mean one thing for locals and visitors in the know . . . The Napa Valley Mustard Festival will be in full bloom in only a couple more weeks! This year's festivities take place January 30th - March 27th and will once again offer visitors a "sensational season of food, wine, and art events".

To kick off the Napa Valley Mustard Festival season is the "Mustard Magic" event on Saturday, January 30th at 7pm hosted at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena. Stroll through art-filled, candelit spaces featuring tastes of food and wine sure to entice at every turn, a gourmet buffet on the 3rd floor, live auction featuring luxurious trips, art, and wine, and of course dancing into the night! Tickets range from $125 to $175. More Details

Things just get better and better from here... see the list of other events below:

Driving Range - Three Wine Country Road Trips

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By Sarah Sung

The slightly more adventurous first cousin to the staycation, the road trip lets you unwind while enjoying the best of travel: exploring unknown territory. What better destination than Wine Country, where you can go from wineries to restaurants to hotels--with the freedom to pull off for a hike, bike ride, picnic, or to sit still and simply take in the scenery?

Drive One: Napa
Taking the high road through Napa.

Just an hour from San Francisco is the di Rosa, where art and nature come together. Make a reservation to tour the collection. It consists of 2,000 works of art--showcasing about half that number at any given moment--and is among the largest collections of Bay Area artists in the world. The first hint that you're coming up on the 217-acre preserve will be the sheep metal sculptures on the hillside. Once a private residence, this preserve is now a nonprofit public trust, with a collection so prominent that you'll see pieces from it at the Whitney and Getty museums.
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2009 Napa Valley Holiday Openings

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Napa Valley will still be bustling with activity through the holidays. Several restaurants and a few wineries will be open Christmas Eve.  Only a handful will be open on Christmas Day, so plan accordingly. Celebrate New Year's Eve wine country style - gourmet dinners, wine tasting, and dancing to ring in the new year.

Find out what's happening on the Napa Valley Events Calendar.

Head Outdoors this Fall and Winter

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hikes_3.jpgExperience the beauty of Napa on group hikes organized by the Land Trust of Napa County.

Visit some of the most beautiful places in Napa with the folks who work to preserve it: the Land Trust of Napa County. A Land Trust volunteer leads each hike, which is guaranteed to be a trek worth taking.

January 3: Hike Calistoga's Triple Crown
Conquer the historic Oat Hill Mine Road and the Palisades and Table Rock trails on this super-challenging 11-mile hike.

February 6: Mount George Waterfall Hike
For wildflower lovers and those not afraid of a steep five-mile climb.

February 20: First Falls at Archer Taylor Preserve
A photographer's paradise. Take a moderate two-mile walk along Redwood Creek, and enjoy lunch in a grove of towering redwoods.

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What's Open on Thanksgiving in The Napa Valley

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Listing Courtesy of The Napa Valley Destination Council - 1310 Napa Town Center, Napa. 

PLEASE NOTE: The Visitor Information Center will be closed on Thanksgiving Day in observance of the Holiday.

We wish you and yours a Happy Holiday.


RESTAURANTS OPEN
Alexis Baking Company   (707) 258-1827
Auberge du Soleil    (707) 963-1211
Avia Hotel Restaurant   (866) 644-2842
Bank at Westin Verasa   (707) 257-5151
Bardessono Hotel Restaurant   (707) 204-6030
Bayleaf   (707) 257-9720
Boon Fly Café at Carneros Inn  (707) 299-4870
Bistro Jeanty   (707) 944-0103

Winter Wonderland

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Top Reasons to Make Wine Country Your Holiday Getaway
By Robert P. Farmer

FestivalofLights.jpgNAPA VALLEY & SONOMA COUNTY - You can tell by the sheer amount of cars on the road - and the difficulty that you'll no doubt encounter when trying to book a room - that summer is the most popular of seasons in Wine Country. It has the reputation for good reason. But for my money, the holiday season is the best time to visit.

Yes it's colder and yes it can often be rainy and windy. But mostly the weather is abundantly cooperative - a brisk chill in the air, and days bracketed by morning fog and wildly colorful sunsets. The vines are asleep for the winter, having offered up the fruit of their summerlong labor. And while the landscape is less lush and green than during summer time, it has its own unique beauty, one characterized by tangled leafless branches set against a white midday sky.

Barren bucolic beauty aside, the best thing about Wine Country during the winter holiday season is that the place is just so darned festive. Few things are likely to get you more into the spirit than a winery bedecked with twinkling lights and offering Yuletide-themed pairing of their wines. Or, if that's not sufficient, there are entire towns that get into the act with festivals and events infused with enough good cheer to thaw even the most Grinch-y of winter traveler. Rooms are in greater supply, restaurants easier to get into, and crowds are pleasingly thinner and, dare I say, in better spirits. Sure, summer's great, but Wine Country from beneath a coat and warm hat is my idea of a holiday.

Here are few highlights worth exploring this season.

Top 3 Holiday Things To Do
Top 3 Holiday Places to Eat


Top 3 Holiday Things to Do

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Napa Valley & Sonoma County

by Robert Farmer

1. Yountville Festival of Lights

The week of Thanksgiving is always a good time to find yourself in Yountville. And not simply because you could turn your family's Thanksgiving dinner into a three-star affair (the town is rightly proud of its unprecedented six Michelin stars). Rather, the week Thanksgiving is the traditional kickoff of Yountville's annual Festival of Lights. Now in its 21st year, the Festival of Lights is one of the most popular wintertime attractions in the Napa Valley. The tiny town comes to light with thousands of twinkling bulbs artfully tracing the buildings and foliage. The decorations are the backdrop for the cast of strolling carolers, elves, and townsfolk, transforming Yountville into a sort of wonderland--great for families ad couples in love (or hoping to get there). To complete the picture, hop aboard a horse-drawn carriage (weekends only) and soak up the seasonal atmosphere. Meanwhile, shops stay open later and the world-renowned restaurants amp up their own version of holiday cheer. The dozens of area wineries also participate, offering special pourings and pairings. Check out www.napavalley.com for  tips on where to stay.

2. Rutherford Passport Weekend

Winter months call for big reds and when it comes to big red wines it is tough to beat Rutherford, in Napa Valley. The Rutherford Passport Weekend, December 5-6, is an ideal opportunity to explore and enjoy the Rutherford Appellation, home to such biggies as Peju, Provenance, Rubicon, and Round Pond. The Passport Weekend event allows visitors to experience the participating wineries in an insider-y way, with special barrel and tank tastings, food pairings, and one-on-ones with winemakers. This is a festive weekend designed to inform as well as entertain, and there's no better time during the year to get to know Rutherford.
More information: www.rutherford-appellation-wineries.com/

reindeer.jpg3. Healdsburg Wine Country Christmas Party
The town of Healdsburg may be one of the most idyllic wine country locales year-round. But at the holidays it takes on an otherworldly charm. The Healdsburg Wine Country Christmas event - actually a series of events, is held ongoing through the month of December. The chic and charming small town - imminently walkable - is aglow with holiday cheer throughout the month, with sidewalks and shops adorned with lights and decorations. And during the month, most restaurants and shops get into the action with special sales and programs. Among the highlights of the Christmas Party are the Strolling Dine Around, a four-course progressive dinner and tour featuring Healdsburg's celebrated eateries, on the weekends of December 9-10 and 16-17. Other events include a Family Santa Party on December 12, and a Victorian Inns Holiday Tour on December 13. Things conclude on January 2 with the annual Fruitcake Toss. Events range in price from no-charge to $85.
Date: Saturday December 13th; Time: 2:00pm - 6:00pm; Phone: (707) 433-6935

Top 3 Holiday Places to Eat

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Napa Valley & Sonoma County

by Robert Farmer


FARM.jpg1. Farm at the Carneros Inn
During winter months the grounds of the Carneros Inn resort, situated at the southern end of the Napa Valley, is slower paced, more sparsely populated, and graciously beautiful. It's the kind of place where the family can decamp for a few days and retreat from the hustle and bustle of citified holiday madness. The property's signature restaurant, Farm, is the ideal spot for a festive holiday repast. The expansive dining room and adjacent large covered patio centered by a huge fire pit, are the sort of environments that seem to invite spirited social gathering. The mood is casual, unfussy, but nevertheless very chic. And it doesn't hurt that there are simply no misses on the seasonal farm-driven menu of American Wine Country dishes. Throw in a wine list that solidly reminds one of the location, and the makings of a great winter evening are all in place.

*Open for dinner 5:30-10pm Wed-Sun

FARM at Carneros Inn
4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa
(707) 299.4880
www.thecarnerosinn.com

2. Dry Creek Kitchen at the Hotel Healdsburg
Just because it seems like everybody knows each other at this always-jammed, always buzzing Wine Country outpost from chef Charlie Palmer, doesn't necessarily mean they do. But the neighborhood feel and congeniality of the staff have a tendency to make every guest feel like a regular. My guess is that one visit won't be enough for you anyway. Because this is the place to be in Healdsburg, and its gravitational pull only increases during the holidays. Whether you visit during one of the planned special Winter Winemaker Dinner series in December, or you make your stop a special event of your own, it's hard to beat Palmer's inventiveness and eagerness to please. The dining room offers many large-group options as well as intimate tables for two--all with views to the open kitchen and action at the bar up front. Tables outside are available, too, and the winter chill can be easily offset with the right vintage.

*Open for lunch
Fri-Sun noon-2:30pm;

Dinner
Sun-Thurs 5:30-9:30pm,
Fri-Sat 5:30- 10pm

Hotel Healdsburg

317 Healdsburg Ave., 
Healdsburg
707-431-0330
www.hotelhealdsburg.com

3. EDK at the El Dorado Hotel
Anchoring one corner of Sonoma Plaza, this lively, friendly Sonoma spot quickly became one of my Wine Country favorites after its opening a few years ago. The large sophisticated-looking room is typically buzzing with visitors and locals alike, who stream in for executive chef Justin Everett's "farm driven" menu. My wife and I, however, returned again and again simply for the amazing black truffle-dusted French fries.  There are of course several other tempting treats on the seasonally changing menu. But the food is just part of the story. The dining room--in terms of both location and atmosphere--is the perfect spot for a festive holiday celebration. With indoor and outdoor seating options and an exhibition kitchen, it's the sort of place where there always seems to be some kind of party taking place, no matter the season. And if you and 20 of your best friends can secure the 21-foot-long wood table in the center of the room, yours will no doubt soon be the party everyone wants to join.


EDK at the El Dorado Hotel
405 First Street West, Sonoma
707-996-3030
www.eldoradosonoma.com

Halloween & Fall Events in Wine Country

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girl2.jpgWhat's your Halloween tradition? Looking for things that go bump in the night, getting lost in a maze of maize, or celebrating the night in scary style? It's the season of fun and whether you're looking for kid friendly or grown up approved, we can certainly point you in the right direction for events near you!
green_practices.jpgNapa/Sonoma, CA - August 26, 2009  Northern California's largest transportation company, California Wine Tours is now a Bay Area Green Business. Joining the ranks of other leaders in sustainability, California Wine Tours becomes the first transportation company in the Bay Area to reach the requirements for businesses which moves from a traditional business model to a model of sustainability

Through their many business entities, California Wine Tours moves over 460,000 passengers each year throughout the Bay Area which equates to taking thousands of individual cars off the road. These passengers include wine tours in Napa and Sonoma, corporate guests attending company meetings, children attending school field trips, people going to/from the area's airports or guests attending a sporting event, concert or wedding. With this much operation around the Bay Area it was important to California Wine Tours owner, Mike Marino that his company was looking at its carbon footprint and creating programs to reduce its impact. "The goal of our company is to fill the transportation needs of our guests and community as green as possible," comments Marino. "We plan on meeting this goal through a constant track of improvements to find alternative fuel sources, reduce pollution and make our business dedicated to sustainability," states Marino.

Napa Valley Arts Week: August 26 - Sept. 1, 2009

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By Louisa Hufstader

Party time! Artists gather for Open Studios preview at Mumm

It's a big week for the visual arts in Napa: Aug. 28 marks the kickoff of the annual Open Studios event sponsored by Arts Council Napa Valley, which hosts a preview reception and benefit that evening at Mumm Napa Valley.

napariver.jpgBut first: The historic Napa Mill continues its Wednesday series "Locals Night at the Mill," with live music, wine tasting, $5 appetizers at the Napa General Store and specials from Vintage Sweet Shoppe, Amelia's Gifts, Angele and Sweetie Pies, along with a Riverwalk display of local fine artists who have been juried into the Open Studios tour. Napa River Inn Plaza, 500 Main Street, Napa, 5 to 9 p.m.; www.napariverinn.com.

Napa Valley's Open Studios

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A Free, Self Guided Fine Art Discovery Tour

nvOpenStudiosSarahB.jpg
Every fall, when trucks bearing tons of grapes appear on the roads of Napa Valley, the sun-drenched trees begin to show their fall colors, and the hottest days of the year roll through the gorgeous valley, it's the season for artists to throw open their studio doors and welcome friends, neighbors, and visitors into their creative workspaces for the annual Open Studios tour. 

Arts Council Napa Valley's Open Studios is a free, self-guided fine art discovery tour that runs during the last two weekends of September.  The 2009 Open Studios Honorary Co-Chairs, Eleanor Coppola and Kathryn Hall, invite patrons to experience this year's tour, featuring 88 of the finest artists and craftspeople in the Napa Valley. 

Whether you are an avid collector or just curious about art, Open Studios is an incredible opportunity to peer into the creative spaces of Napa Valley painters, metal and stone sculptors, mosaicists, photographers, ceramists, printmakers, fiber artists, jewelry makers, glass artists and other fine craftspeople, and to buy local art right from the source.

Music in the Vineyards Begins

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Chamber Music Festival Offers Concerts in Intimate Winery Venues

nvArts_MusicVineyards1.jpgBy Natasha Biasell

This August, 33 renowned musicians from around the world will travel to the Napa Valley to perform in Music in the Vineyards' 15th annual chamber music festival. The three-week festival showcases artists-in-residence performing in intimate winery settings with complimentary wine tastings at intermission.

The festival kicks off on Wednesday, August 5th in the Hudson House of the beautiful Beringer Vineyards where The Blue Baroque Band, an ensemble of recorder, violin, oboe, bassoon and harpsichord, will play seven classical works from the great musical centers of the 18th Century. The new festival venue this year is Cakebread Cellars, hosting a concert featuring a Dvorak Quintet for two violins, viola, cello and double bass on Saturday, August 8th.
taste_nation2.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

This August 17, Napa's A-list in the culinary and vinous worlds (think celebrity chefs! vintners!) will gather to support Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation, a golf and gustatory-themed benefit being billed as the nation's premier culinary event. Festivities at the day-long event - which will take place that the tony Silverado Resort - kick off with a golf tourney and lunch and continue into the evening at the luxe grand tasting and live and silent auctions, which begin at 5pm.

Soothe Your Cares Away: Hot Water Spots

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calistogaHotSprings.jpgIt's 90 to 100 degrees outside and one of the best ways to relax is in a pool, tub, or creek of hot water? I guess if you're inside with air-conditioning or doing a night-time soak when the air has cooled, then by all means INDULGE.

San Francisco Chronicle recently named 5 California places to attain such nirvana.


  1. Calistoga Spa Hot Springs - Calistoga
  2. Esalen Institute - Big Sur
  3. Vichy Springs - Ukiah
  4. Watercourse Way - Palo Alto
  5. Hot Creek - Eastern Sierra
Read the entire article here

Or start planning your trip at WineCountry.com that has a list of spas in wine regions across California. Napa Valley, in particular the town of Calistoga, is known for their hot mineral waters! 

Of Swings and Steaks

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Golf Getaways for Guys
by Robert P. Farmer


You'll get little argument that California's Wine Country is one of the most romantic spots you're likely to find in the US. The mere mention of a Wine Country Weekend conjures images of a handholding, shop-strolling, cracker-and-cheese nibbling, bubbly-sipping extravaganza. It's a Couple's Paradise.

But what about a foursome? Not talking here about double dating; talking instead about four guys looking for fun in Wine Country -- namely, the kind of fun that can only be found on 18 holes. In addition to the couple's thing and the girl's spa weekend, Wine Country is a great destination for a guy's getaway. In today's world of the metrosexual, the pampered guy is not unusual in these parts. There are dozens of places in the region where men can find their bliss, whether in the mud, the steam, or on the massage table.

Lincoln Theater Napa Valley: Presents Eclectic, Upbeat Arts for All

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lincolnTheater_Vereen.jpgBy Lisa Adams Walter

Good times and laughter are set to fill Lincoln Theater Napa Valley in Yountville when the Summer / Fall 2009 Season kicks off on Saturday, August 22 with an exclusive Northern California appearance by Tony Award-winning Broadway star Ben Vereen. An eclectic and upbeat slate of performances that will lift spirits follows with acts that range from the Glenn Miller Orchestra, to kid-friendly shows, to jazz with The Brubeck Brothers, to the iconic John Cleese. Tickets, which range from extreme values at $10 to the highest priced tickets at just $69 per seat, are on sale now.

"At Lincoln Theater Napa Valley, we have tried to concentrate on shows that are lighthearted and entertaining and that we can bring to the local community as well as wine country visitors at reasonable prices," said Richard Aldag, Lincoln Theater Napa Valley Executive Director. "We have emphasized comedy, upbeat music, family shows and nostalgia."

The Summer / Fall 2009 Season opens with an Intimate Evening of Broadway with the Tony Award-winning Ben Vereen, Saturday, August 22 at 8 p.m. Few entertainers are as accomplished and versatile as this incomparable Broadway and screen star, singer, dancer and actor.

Conde Nast Traveler: Top Spas for 2009

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kenwoodSpaCopyright.jpg
Kenwood Inn and Spa - Top 3 Resort Spa in the United States
Conde Nast Traveler 2009 Readers' Poll

If you're planning a trip to wine country, one of the best ways to unwind and relax is with a spa treatment. Conde Nast Traveler released the poll results of readers' top picks for spas across the U.S. and even areas internationally. It's no surprise that many of the spas in Hawaii and California were heavily preferred by consumers.

Kenwood Inn and Spa in Sonoma, CA was one of the top 3 resort spas in the U.S. and received perfect scores of 100 for treatments, staff, service and design. Book a stay with them as they also boast lush surroundings, soothing pools, and elegant accommodations in a Tuscan setting.  Reserve online.

Fourth of July Celebrations Around Wine Country

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Fourth of July is fast approaching. Do you know what your plans are for the three day weekend? If you're staying local and live in California, Oregon, and Virginia, you might want to check out the calender event listings on WineCountry.com. Several towns are hosting parades, firework shows and many wineries will also be open with several celebrations of their own. Read on for some of our suggestions!

Father's Day Events in Wine Country

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fathersDay.jpgDad's typically don't get enough credit for all they do. So why not spend some quality time with your Dad in Wine Country that he actually might remember instead of the usual glow in the dark tie or something equally hideous that he will never wear.

There are a slew of events happening around Wine Country with Father's in mind.  Events range from BBQs, golf, wine tasting to auto shows. Check out what's happening near you!

If you're going the gadget route, some cool wine gifts we mentioned around the holidays will still be perfect as a great gift for Father's Day too!

Napa Valley Festival Del Sole

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festivalDelSole.jpgPress Release

Napa Valley Festival del Sole, one of the world's most distinctive summer festivals, announces its fourth season in California's beautiful wine country, July 17-25, 2009.
 
With performances every day, music is the centerpiece of a festival hailed by The New York Times as a "feast for the senses," featuring the finest cuisine, wine and hospitality the Napa Valley has to offer. The weeklong schedule includes world-class concerts, exclusive receptions, lunches and dinners, wine tastings, art exhibitions, free community concerts showcasing talented young performers, and more.

Some of the world's most renowned artists travel to Napa Valley each year to perform at Festival del Sole, and to wine, dine and celebrate the "art of life" with Festival guests.

Napa City Staycation

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By Courtney Cochran

With the economy bumping along as uncertainly as the box office receipts for latter-day Lindsay Lohan pics, it's no surprise Americans are embracing staycations in record numbers. An amusing portmanteau of the words "stay" (as in stay-at-home, or near home) and "vacation," the staycation offers Wine Country travelers an escape that's long on pleasure but short on planning and out-of-pocket expenses. And with its convenient location just 50 minutes north of San Francisco, the city of Napa makes an ideal destination for Bay Area staycationers of all stripes.

Read on for the low down on top spots for sipping inside the Napa City limits, and click here for more on the dos and don'ts of staycations - including tips on how to make yours a smashing success.
By Courtney Cochran

There's nothing like an escape to wine country to reinvigorate friendships and make lasting memories with the gal pals most important to you.  From wine blending lessons to sustainability treks and salsa lessons (not to mention divine food and wine), there's no shortage of delightful diversions to keep you and your gang occupied. 

Easter Sunday in the Napa Valley

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Easter has arrived and there are several wineries, restaurants, spas and attractions open throughout Napa Valley.

Have fun with family and friends this Easter!

CLICK HERE to download and/print a list of all businesses still open Easter Sunday.

Meadowood Makes Wine Country Weekends Supreme

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By Courtney Cochran

What recession? At Meadowood - the Napa Valley resort known for its luxe accommodations and tucked-away ambiance - weekends just got a lot more interesting. Indeed, in honor of its 45th anniversary, the resort is putting variety - and unapologetic luxury - back into wine country travel with an impressive lineup of wine- and wine country-themed events known as its Wine-Inspired Weekend Series.

Where to Save, Where to Splurge In Wine Country

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By Courtney Cochran

I can recall, with embarrassing clarity, buying Chuck Shaw by the caseload in the drearily cash-strapped era that followed my graduation from college.  And though I quickly "graduated" beyond the realm of such inexpensive sippers around the time of my first raise, today's tough economic times have many of us - yours truly included - contemplating a reunion with bargain sips like Mr. Shaw's and others of his ilk.

To be sure, the crisis thinking fueling these considerations isn't limited to wine consumption alone.  Wine country visitors, as well, are wondering where they can cut corners on visits in order to spend less while still enjoying their fair share of the pleasures wine country has to offer.  They're looking for easy, smart ways to extend their spending power at a time when all of us are getting by on less.   

And so, in a valiant effort to keep the good times - and the good drink - flowing, we're here to help you do just that.  Read on for our top suggestions on where to save and - as important - where to splurge in wine country this season.    Because if one thing is a constant no matter the economic clime, it's that we can all use a little affordable luxury every now and then to keep our spirits afloat.

Cakebread Caters to Wine, Photography Enthusiasts

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cakebread.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

I've always thought Cakebread's long-running annual Photo Contest is a simple but fun and absolutely effective way to engender brand loyalty among its customers. And so when I heard that the Rutherford winery would be offering a photography workshop with standout shutterbug Andy Katz followed by lunch this weekend, it struck me as a logical - and compelling - extension of the winery's branding initiatives.

Family Fun in the Wine Country

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By Robert Farmer

fatherBaby.jpgThe trip from San Francisco to California's Wine Country is a quick one. But for several months in my life it might as well have been half way around the globe. The addition to our family of a baby--our beautiful daughter--had countless positive effects. However, there was one drawback. It turned the Golden Gate Bridge, over which we previously had skipped so effortlessly into Wine Country into a Bridge Too Far.

For several months on end, not only did we not make one of our favorite day trips or easy weekend getaways, we scarcely even let the prospect enter our minds.  So recently when we had occasion to try it again--owing mostly to being forced out of our house to make way for some minor construction--we weren't quite sure what to expect.

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