YOUNTVILLE, Calif. Napa Valley’s Culinary Crushpad

Hotel Yountville, Napa Valley, Local Food And Wine

READY FOR ITS CLOSE UP: The oh-so-swank Hotel Yountville debuts (Spring/2011) with 80 chic guestrooms and suites tucked among heritage oaks, vintage olive groves, hidden fire pits and sexy 4,000 sq. ft., Acqua Spa. Think poolside pedis, complimentary iPads and 24-hour cappuccino service backed with “Duck ‘N Donuts” – that’s confit baby – and Kurobuta pork belly Benedict at the guest-only Hopper Creek Kitchen.

Thomas Keller, Local Food And WineLOCAL JUICE– The French Laundry launches an iPad wine list showcasing nearly 20,000 bottles in a quick and breezy format.  Bell Wine Cellars offers Napa Valley’s only Cabernet Sauvignon Clonal Tasting showcasing four distinct clones paired with small bites ($75/per).  True cork dorks can belly up for their Blending Seminar ($150/per) and depart with a custom magnum in tow.  Sense Yountville pops the cork May 7, 2011 with a hyper-focused Yountville AVA event paired with the town’s top toques.  Limited to 350 epicureans, this is sure to be another sell out ($150/per).  707.531.7053.

R&D KITCHEN rolls into town this winter following Hillstone Restaurant Group’s total redux of the former Napa Valley Grille space. The new restaurant will offer seating for 130 in a classic wine country interior/exterior layout fresh with water features, fire pits, two bars, sculpture garden and rolling wine-barrel

SLITHER INTO SUMMER: Fire up the ovens atCantinetta Piero’s new “Pizza Secrets Classes,” rolling out June-December.  The 21stAnnual Father’s Day Invitational Auto Show (6/19) roars into V MarketplaceHurley’s Restaurant Friday’s Patio BBQ (June/10-Sept.), delivers a communal/corkage-free time;Yountville 4th of July Celebration & Fireworks (7/4); Bastille Day celebrations atDomaine Chandon and Bouchon (7/10 & &/14) and Festival del Sole featuring the Russian National Orchestra (7/15-24) round out the options.

NEW ART TREK FOR THE JADED PALATE – Yountville sports more than top toques and cult pours!  The new Public Art Walk adds another layer of culture for visitors linking a 30-piece outdoor sculpture collection. From a 35-ft long “Spirit Boat” to “Rex” a life-size horse sculpted from scrap metal, the options for spending a day without spending a dime are endless.  Add a visit to the Gallery at Cliff Lede Vineyards or DomaineChandon’s Mushroom Garden or ponder the over-the-top art at Ma(i)sonry, better suited for deep pockets.  New

PACKAGED PLEASURES – Aside from the classic Riedel glassware tasting ($20), Hill Family Estates ups the ante with an authentic Secret Garden Tour led by Ryan Hill. The day kicks off at Hill Family Farms and Jacobsen Orchards, the organic toolbox contracted exclusively to the French Laundry, with 120 different fruit trees, culinary flowers and earthly pleasures.

After a garden nosh, enjoy a wine tasting with cured meats and cheeses at the Hill homestead. ($45/person);  Ma(i)sonry sets the table at its historic 1904 wine and art salon with a new Artist’s Palette Dining Experience, pairing small courses with its limited-production artisanal wines, including Blackbird Vineyards, Lail Vineyards and Tor Kenward ($300/person).

ON THE GREEN SCENE Bardessono (one of three LEED platinum properties in the world) teams up with the Land Trust of Napa Valley with its new “Hike the Day Away” packages including accommodations and annual membership to the Land Trust which delivers a network of pristine hiking terrain otherwise inaccessible to the public ($429/dbl.). Yountville’s strip of the 44-mile Napa Valley Vine Trail opened paralleling Highway 29.  The $1.3 million path will eventually run the length of the valley to the Vallejo ferry for Bay Area bikers.

WHITE HOUSE POPS THE CORK – QUIZ: What wine is served at all White House state dinners and receptions? Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs ($22).  Made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, the salmon colored sparkling has been poured on Pennsylvania Avenue since the largest landowner of vineyards in the esteemed Carneros appellation debuted in 1973.

5 REASONS TO BASE IT IN YOUNTVILLE: 1) The highest concentration of top restaurants in the Valley; with more Michelin stars per capita (6) than anywhere on the planet, Yountville is nirvana for foodies on the fast track; 2) Strong/growing cluster of luxury hotels including the new Hotel Yountville, Bardessono, Villagio Inn & Spa, Hotel Luca and Michelin Four Star/AAA Four Diamond Napa Valley Lodge, 3) Green Dream – park and walk with all hotels, restaurants, tasting salons and boutiques easily linked along Washington Street, 4) United spa front, from the world-class 13,000 sq. ft.,Villagio Spa to the sexy Spa Acqua, Bardessono Spa and Luca Spa, this is the place for pampering.

IN THE QUIRKY FILE — Ever wonder where those heavenly haricots vert or sinful fingerling potato diners dig into at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry hail from? Pop over to the gorgeous 2-acre culinary complex for a look-see. This is a plot to ponder and visitors are welcome to park and peruse the seasonal stash of vegetables, herbs and unusual assortment of heirloom tomatoes and lettuces. The concept of fresh from the farm to the table doesn’t get more clarified than here, where chefs from Bouchon, Ad Hoc and the Laundry craft dishes from the daily haul. 6640 Washington Street.

GraveSpotting – Tap into an early history tour of Napa Valley via Pioneer Cemetery, an arid and somewhat decrepit collection of tombs situated just north of town.  Here, curious travelers can visit the ancient Indian burial grounds of the Wappo tribe.  The original wood marker still exists, as does an updated tombstone bearing information on the region’s first recorded inhabitants.  George C. Yount also rests here along with a collection of colorful characters tied to the town’s past.  Nearby, the Veterans Home Cemetery – set amidst 500 acres of native oak – sways hill and dale with a sea of stoic alabaster headstones backed with a view of lush vineyards. Opened in 1884, this is the resting place of 5,000+ veterans and possibly the largest collection of civil war veterans West of the Mississippi.




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Thirteenth Annual Cinco de Mayo Golf Classic

Napa, Calif. – The 13th Annual Cinco de Mayo Golf Classic – the only fundraising event in Napa Valley to be exclusively dedicated to the needs of farmworkers – will be held Friday, May 6, 2011 at the Silverado Resort & Spa in Napa. Organized by the Napa Valley Farmworker Committee and the Cinco de Mayo Committee, funds raised by the Cinco de Mayo Golf Classic are used to improve farmworker housing, healthcare and education.

The Cinco de Mayo Golf Classic is made possible through the generous underwriting provided by individuals, corporations and organizations, many of whom have supported the Golf Classic for multiple years. 2011 underwriters include: American Ag Credit, Brown Holder Alfaro & Co LLP, Cakebread Cellars, Compadres Rio Grille, Garvey Family Vineyards, Miner Family Vineyards, Servin-Lopez Vineyard Management, Silicon Valley Bank, Trinchero Family Estates, and Wells Fargo Bank.

“Our underwriters are vital to the success of the Golf Classic and we are enormously grateful for their continued support,” said Pat Garvey, member of both the Farmworker and Cinco de Mayo Committees and proprietor of Flora Springs Wine Company. “Funds raised through the Golf Classic – through the support of our underwriters, sponsors, supporting businesses and players – provide the farmworkers who work so hard in Napa Valley with the basic necessities and services that are often taken for granted.”

The Cinco de Mayo Golf Classic provides funds for a host of vital projects at Napa’s Farmworker Housing Facilities that are not covered in Napa County’s Farmworker Housing operational budget.  These include items such as commercial kitchen equipment, beds, lockers, landscaping supplies, as well as health and social services including dental assistance, work assistance and leadership training.

Organizations and individuals who wish to sponsor or register for the tournament are encouraged to do so as soon as possible as space is limited to 144 golfers.  Packages are as follows:

Double Eagle: $1,500 – four golfers, cart, continental breakfast, margaritas, lunch, tee prizes and tee sign with sponsor’s name.

Eagle: $750 – two golfers, cart, continental breakfast, margaritas, lunch, tee prizes and tee sign with sponsor’s name.

Tee Sponsor:  $75 – tee sign with sponsor’s name

Single players: $175 includes lunch.

Mexican fiesta-style post tournament luncheon (for non-players):  $35 To register for the Cinco de Mayo Golf Classic, please send checks payable to NVCH-Farmworker Fund to Jack Neal, 1151 York Lane, St. Helena, CA, 94574, or contact Jack Neal






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Seghesio Family Vineyards, Sonoma County

Seghesio Family Vineyards, Sonoma

The Seghesio Story begins in 1886 when Edoardo Seghesio departed his family’s vineyards in Piedmonte, Italy for a new life in America. Like so many immigrants, he was drawn to Northern Sonoma County and the Italian Swiss Colony, to follow his passion for winemaking.

Because Zinfandel was the first vine that Edoardo planted, the Seghesios maintain their commitment to the varietal they are most known for. The Sonoma Zinfandel and the Cortina Zinfandel is full of complex, concentrated berries. From their Home Ranch and San Lorenzo vineyards, Seghesio also produces single-vineyard zinfandels. The Old Vines Zinfandel is made from the three single vineyard sites.  Seghesio also produces two Italian white varietals from their Keyhole Ranch estate in the Russian River Valley, an Arneis and a Pinot Grigio.

Angela Vasconi and Edoardo were married in 1893. In 1895, they purchased a modest home in northern Alexander Valley, less for the home than the surrounding 56 acres Edoardo recognized as ideal vineyard land. They planted the “Home Ranch” that year to what has become our family’s lifeline – Zinfandel.

Seghesio Zinfandel, Homegrown Californian

Edoardo remained at the Colony while building his own winery in the evenings after work. Upon its completion in 1902, the young couple began Seghesio Winery while raising their five children.

Seghesio produced jug wine before and after Prohibition, and produced wine for other wineries from World War II until 1983. They began producing wines under their own label, which ended up being mostly mediocre Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Then, in the early 1990s, the IRS knocked on their door and delivered a $4 million bill for back taxes, forcing the Seghesios to make some difficult decisions.

After a considerable amount of soul searching, the Seghesios realized they were building a brand that simply wasn’t sustainable. Pete Jr. reflected, “Ted and I were tired of making cheap wine. But, we had a tough time getting the older generation to believe in us. They produced jug wine their entire lives – it’s all they knew. Then one day Uncle Ed said, ‘We’re going to be the Jordan of Zinfandels,’ and I knew that he got it.

By 1993, the Seghesio brand had grown to 130,000 cases of not only the family’s zinfandel and Italian varietals, but also Chardonnay, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc and both red and white table wine.  It was in that year that control of the winery shifted to the younger generation.  They turned their focus to the vineyards and eliminated all but the wines they grow reducing production to 30,000 cases.

Today, they are proud to passionately produce almost exclusively estate wines, some from those same vineyards Edoardo and Angela first planted in the late 1800s.





Passport To Sonoma

Passport Sonoma is May 15th and 16th

Celebrate Spring Fever in Sonoma Valley Wine Country! Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers invite you to the only Valley Wide tasting event – Passport to Sonoma Valley! Wineries up and down the Sonoma Valley showcase the very best of their current releases, library wines and special bottlings, along with wines paired with sumptuous treats and fun entertainment!

The breathtakingly beautiful Sonoma Valley, also known as the Valley of the Moon, is the closest wine region to San Francisco, just 45 minutes north, and the birthplace of California’s premium wine industry, dating back to 1824, planted by Franciscan Mission Fathers. It is a region with a rich legacy in the history of our country, as well as an ideal travel destination for any season or a stay of any length. Sonoma Valley offers a cornucopia of stories about wine, food, agriculture, and the fascinating and passionate individuals who live here and are producing some of the best wines in the world.

Sonoma Valley is a wine-growing region, a culinary capital, a historic treasure, a natural wonder—and a state of mind. It’s an ideal destination for any season, for a weekend or a week, or as your headquarters for an extended stay in the San Francisco Bay Area.

From stately and historic chateaus to rustic country barns, wineries in Sonoma Valley reflect the spirit of freedom and individual enterprise that exists here. As diverse as the makeup of the soils and the microclimates themselves, each wine grower has found a unique way of coaxing the environment to yield the finest in flavors and styles of wines.

Long a culinary destination, Sonoma Valley today offers numerous dining choices, from casual bakeries and cafés to acclaimed chef-owned restaurants. Much of what you’ll find on the table is grown right here. In addition to fine wine, Sonoma Valley is known for its abundant produce and artisan breads, cheeses, and olive oils, available year-round at local shops, roadside stands, and weekly farmers’ markets.

May 15, 2010 (Sat) – May 16, 2010 (Sun) 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Sonoma, CA 95476  ph. 707-935-0803

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Napa’s Family Farm League, Local Food Production Advocates

Local Food And Wine

The Family Farm League’s sole goal is to encourage local food production. Local food production can mean a small family garden to large-scale acreage production. The League aims to increase the diversity of what is grown in the valley to reveal a more sustainable Napa Valley.

“Wine and food are a natural pairing, and we’d like to see that union grow here, from the ground up.”

The Farm League starts each growing year by hosting a seed exchange. Heirloom and family farm-raised seeds are encouraged. GMO seeds are discouraged.They invite members of the entire community to trade or simply take extra seeds from one another and their neighbors. They work with agricultural students, nurseries, master gardeners and food businesses.

Each June, seed exchangers and growers are invited to a quarterly potluck. These casual dinners are a great way to share progress reports, enlist aid and encourage our local gardens.

Past participants have included Rancho Gordo,  Long Meadow Ranch, Grandpa Jack’s Farm, Slow Food Napa Valley and Common Greens. This year they hope to include even more groups and growers from the Napa Valley.

“The Family Farm League is a grass-roots advocacy group whose sole purpose is to encourage food production in the Napa Valley.”

The Family Farm League

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