Over the last several weeks I have been sharing some highlights from Festival Napa Valley 2016, a 10-day celebration of music, art, food, wine and dance that raises funds to enrich art and community programs in Napa Valley. It’s the third season in a row I have covered this event, formerly known as Festival del Sole.
This year I had the opportunity to attend many of the events on the Festival Napa Valley calendar, which was such a privilege. In my last post about Festival Napa Valley, I shared one of my favorite days going to St. Supery and Harvest Inn and I will never forget the Tribute to Margrit Mondavi that took place at Far Niente.
This time I am wrapping up this season’s Festival Napa Valley by sharing many of my other favorite moments from this phenomenal event.
The well-known V. Sattui Winery in Napa Valley was the setting for a romantic Italian-themed evening.
Bill and I attended the reception in the courtyard. Bubbles, Sauvignon Blanc and appetizers were on hand for guests to enjoy before the evening’s concert.
I chose a chilled sparkling wine, of course!
After we mingled and sipped our wine for a bit, we were asked to find a seat on the lawn. The performance was about to begin!
We were treated to a concert given by Grammy Award-winning baritone Gino Quilico. He performed “Serata d’amore,” an evening of Italian Romantic songs, with his ensemble TrioSphère.
After the wonderful concert, we made out way to the Barrel Room at V. Sattui for the Patron Dinner.
Our dinner was not only delicious but so creative and visually appealing. The menu was created by Michelin-starred chef and founder of one of northern Italy’s most well-known restaurants, Il Cantinone, Stefano Masanti.
After dinner, we returned to the courtyard where we indulged in a variety of Italian desserts. It was the perfect ending to a beautiful Italian-inspired evening.
Another event I attended was the Vintner’s Luncheon at Peju Province Winery. My friend Michelle joined me for the afternoon.
Peju is a gorgeous winery with unique and beautiful architecture. The main building sits prominently at the end of the long driveway lined with Sycamore trees.
These trees have been trained and pruned to look thin and tall. It’s a signature feature of the property and makes a lasting impression!
When we arrived we were warmly greeted and offered a glass of chilled rosé. Michelle and I noticed the sunflowers on display in the pitcher. Michelle knew right away that they were Teddy Bear sunflowers. We soon learned from the owner, Herta Behensky Peju – affectionately nicknamed “HB” – that they were award-winning flowers grown on the property. Peju’s head gardener, Javier Rios, created this hybrid flower. You can read more about their Teddy Bear sunflowers here.
After we explored the tasting room and walked around the property, admiring the gardens, we were informed that lunch would soon begin.
We were led to an outdoor area set right in the vineyards. While we got settled at our tables, we were treated to live music by Morris LeGrande. He helped set the tone for a relaxing, fun and festive party in the vineyards.
Lunch was delicious farm-to-table fare prepared by Chef Alex Espinoza who used organic ingredients, many from Peju’s gardens.
Later that afternoon, we went to The Hess Collection to attend a concert and a Patron Dinner.
At the reception, we sampled the wonderful appetizers. The tiny carnitas tostadas were our favorite. I could have eaten a dozen by myself!
The concert took place at the historic Christian Brothers’ Mont la Salle Chapel, located on the hill adjacent to The Hess Collection.
Young People’s Chorus of New York City, an award-winning youth chorus, delighted, entertained and moved guests with their performance. They were joined by operatic baritone Lester Lynch who sang songs from his recording of American Spirituals.
Many in attendance were in tears, including me. What a touching, riveting and memorable experience!
After the concert, we headed down the hill to The Hess Collection for an evening of fine food, wine, art and music.
The ivy-covered stone building at Hess Collection Winery was built in 1903.
We dined outside on a perfectly warm summer evening and enjoyed a meal prepared by Executive Chef Chad Hendrickson and his team using fresh ingredients, many from Hess’ garden. Dinner was paired with their flagship Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines. During dinner, we were treated to a surprise performance by the Young People’s Chorus.
While at dinner, made some new friends with a couple sharing our table. They live in Napa and we found we had much in common.
After dinner, we ventured inside the stone building to see the winery’s extensive art collection. Bill and our new friend Greg admired this piece by Franz Gertsch. His work was my favorite in the gallery.
Day 8 included the Dance Gala at Lincoln Theatre, one of my favorite annual performances at Festival Napa Valley. San Francisco Ballet made its debut at the festival, accompanied by members of the SF Ballet Orchestra.
Later that evening, we headed up the valley to the stately Culinary Institute of America at Greystone for a Patron Dinner.
What a setting it was!
I loved the table scape at this event.
Chef Tiffany Derry of Top Chef fame designed the menu for the evening from seasonal ingredients from local purveyors and the Institute’s culinary gardens. Wines from Caymus and Rombauer were paired with our meal.
The next morning we visited the luxurious Auberge du Soleil hotel for a Wine Country Brunch. Guests were treated to live music and mimosas on the terrace before being invited to brunch inside.
What a spectacular view of Napa Valley! And do you see the hotel’s pool area below? Wouldn’t that be a fantastic place to spend a sunny day!
This colorful Lesley Evers dress just says “Summer Sunday Brunch” to me. It was the perfect outfit for the day.
Executive Chef Robert Curry designed a unique and delicious menu and paired it with wines from Domaine Carneros, Keller Estate and Trinchero. The prawn and avocado salad with fennel and butter lettuce was outstanding!
Later that afternoon, we attended the Lincoln Theatre for final performance of Festival Napa Valley 2016.
After the opera performance we went to VGS Chateau Potelle in St. Helena for the Wrap Party. It would be the very last Festival Napa Valley hurrah. We met up with the new friends we met at The Hess Collection the night before.
Chateau Potelle is such a charming and chic property. The owners are French and moved to Napa Valley in 1980.
It was a lovely evening to be outside. We had lively conversation with our friends and nibbled on light appetizers which were paired with VGS Chateau Potelle’s award-winning wines.
I hope you have enjoyed my posts from this 10-day adventure in art, food, music, wine and gorgeous venues. Visit the Festival Napa Valley website for more information and to purchase tickets for next season.
I’m currently attending another festival for a few days. This time I’m covering the Carmel International Film Festival. You can follow my adventure to one of my favorite areas in California on Instagram. Who knows? I may have some celebrity sightings!
Make it a rich day!
Disclosure: I was asked to attend Festival Napa Valley and write about my experiences. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always.