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Napa News Cheat Sheet
Ian White | Photo: Ian White | August 14, 2014
Openings, uncorkings, and more from Wine Country.
It’s difficult to keep up with the grand openings and creative offerings. With a little help from wine country insiders, we compiled this comprehensive list of the hottest new happenings in Napa Valley.
Hall Wines now has a beautiful new building, a gigantic new silver rabbit sculpture, and a slew of new culinary classes and wine-pairing workshops. The classes range from simple courses that will help you to pick the right wines for your holiday meal to advanced courses on the intricacies of advanced pairings.
In April, Charles Krug opened a new Redwood Cellar and Hospitality Center, which features a trattoria-style Italian delicatessen, open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The deli serves regionally sourced foods and meals inspired by the family’s Italian heritage, featuring recipes by Rosa Mondavi.
Capp Heritage Vineyards opened a chic tasting room in downtown Napa this spring. The lounge features an 1880s vintage-style tasting vibe with an oak bar, and is classy and refined, but not stuffy.
Soon joining Capp and the vibrant scene in Downtown Napa is Studio M, which will offer intimate tastings of rare wines when. Their rotating collection of hard-to-find, new, and emerging labels will offer variety and access to patrons and members. Works by the Napa artist Gordon Huether will decorate the gallery.
Ladera Vineyards just launched its “Cycle the Road Less Traveled” program, in which groups of two to six people get a guided bike tour of the vineyards and property, followed by a picnic and tasting. Everything, including bikes, is provided. And they’ll work around your schedule, but make sure to call at least two weeks in advance.
Few places host a good picnic in Napa Valley, so Cuvaison is answering the call. They are offering a tasting flight of four wines, followed by a healthy picnic lunch in their tree-shaded picnic grounds. Make sure to try their Pinot.
Now through December, Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley is hosting Vintner Dinners, where you can meet and dine with the owners and winemakers from renowned wineries that do not have tasting rooms of their own, or are far off the beaten path. This historic and picturesque winery and art gallery is home to a number of the Valley’s best hard-to-find wines, and the dinners take place in an intimate sculpture garden.
Domaine Carneros just introduced a new “Making Scents of Wine” experience, which breaks the “no perfume during wine tastings” rule and actually shows you how they can work together. (That’s right, you should never wear cologne or perfume when wine tasting. If you have, the snickering and whispering was not your imagination). Domaine Carneros also just started hosting yoga in the vineyards at its hilltop Chateau.
Restaurants and Cuisine
Press Restaurant is a local favorite and one of the top picks for a steak or chop in Napa Valley. But the restaurant's new Executive Chef, Trevor Kunk, has added lighter, local greens and bites to balance the farm-driven menu. And with the most comprehensive Napa Valley wine list in the country, Press is back on the map as the place to go in St. Helena.
Dean & Deluca has a new Wine Studio experience, where you can taste and learn about four new, rare wines. This fun and informative experience comes with a boxed salad or sandwich, and is a perfect stop if you’re looking to maximize the number of wines you try in a day.
City Winery Napa opened in Spring and features 30 local tap wines; simple, tasty foods such as duck tacos and seasonal pastas; and concerts by the likes of drum god Ginger Baker and Grammy-winning violinist Mads Tolling. The remodeled ballroom upstairs pays homage to the historic Opera House.
La Residence is reopening this summer with a renovated property and a new name: Senza. They’re enhancing everything from the suites to the spa and fitness rooms, so if this wasn’t on your list of places to stay, it’s worth consideration now.
Calistoga Ranch just opened a vineyard-overlooking infinity family pool, which features poolside food and drinks and fun throwbacks like metal lunch boxes for kids. They also just introduced an outdoor wedding venue overlooking their Cabernet vineyard, with a capacity for 100–150 guests.
The Silverado Resort and Spa has a historic feel, but just completed renovating 380 rooms and a redesign of the North Golf Course. The course improvements are so significant that Silverado is hosting a PGA Championship, the Frys.com Open, this October.