crushing on napa: what’s new in the valley for fall 2012

August 15th, 2012

High school may be over, but it’s still okay to have a “crush.” As far as grown-up crushes are concerned, the Napa Valley has it nailed. This season, Napa invites visitors to tap into the region’s newest cuisine, wine, arts, and wellness experiences. Think family-style farm dinners, edible gardens, a Tibetan pitstop, hot rides, a special somethin’ for the boys, and, of course, access access access to the people who craft the food and wines for which Napa is internationally acclaimed.

The Gourmet Crush

Farm Dinners with Beyond the Kitchen – Newly-formed Napa Valley organization Beyond the Kitchen will host a series of seven farm dinners in August and September. Guests will sip and sup their way through five-course family-style meals along with local farmers, ranchers, wine makers, and other local purveyors whose products and produce are showcased. Expect exclusive tours of the farms from which ingredients were harvested and specially selected wine pairings to accompany the menus, all served up in the shade of a walnut grove or perhaps in a vineyard or even beneath the roof of a rustic antique barn. Participation directly supports small family farms, local food artisans, and local small businesses. Tickets are available for $125 per person.

Garden to Table Experience at Robert Mondavi WineryRobert Mondavi Winery’s on-site kitchen garden is the first stop on a new tour offered by the winery that also brings guests behind the stove to prepare a dish with winery chef Jeff Mosher. Guests get to sample their culinary handiwork al fresco, with a view of the winery’s To Kalon vineyards and the Mayacamas Mountains. This all-inclusive program will take place every Thursday at 4:30 p.m., now through October 31, and is priced at $150 per person.

New Napa Valley White Wine Tours – Widely recognized for its Cabernet, the Napa Valley is also home to iconic producers of many white wine varietals. Platypus Wine Tours will pop the cork on this little-known aspect of America’s best-known wine region by offering its first Napa Valley White Wine Tours. Guests will experience tastings at three of the Valley’s renowned white wine producers, Castello di Amorosa, V. Sattui, and Beringer Vineyards. The program features transportation to and from many Napa Valley accommodations and provides information about the Valley’s rich history and expertise along the way. Tickets are available for $75 per person, plus $35 per person in tasting fees.

Tibetan Cuisine at Himalayan Sherpa Kitchen – Long praised for the global scale of its gastronomic offerings, the Napa Valley has expanded its culinary horizons even further, with a new eatery that specializes in Tibetan cuisine. The Himalayan Sherpa Kitchen is now open on Main Street in St. Helena and showcases the delicious North Indian-influenced dishes of the country, with a menu of Tibetan curries, tandoori, and more.

The Art Crush

Art & Wine With Kathryn Hall – This August and September, fans of HALL Rutherford may reserve a place on a private tour of the Hall residence and winery, guided personally by owner Kathryn Hall. Guests are invited to explore the winery’s 14,000 square feet of caves, built from handmade Austrian brick, and discover alcoves showcasing art from the Halls’ personal collection. Following the tour of her home and the caves, Kathryn will host an intimate lunch on the winery’s scenic terrace, featuring wine pairings that highlight Hall’s latest releases. The tour is available on August 15 and September 19 from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., for $125 per person.

The Man Crush

Hiho Silverado – The Napa Valley has always been known as a destination fit for wellness-seekers, and its reviving spa and relaxation experiences aren’t just for the ladies. This is a valley of ranches and mountains, where men are men and disappearing into the surrounding wilderness (or the golf course) for days at a time is not unheard of. The latest offers for guys’ getaways this fall include a Guys & Golf Getaway” package at Silverado Resort and Spa, which features accommodations for two in a one-bedroom Fireplace Suite or for four in a two-bedroom Fireplace Suite as well as unlimited golf, Callaway Razr X Rentals, a $100-per-person spa credit to be used toward any 50-minute men’s treatment and a $100-per-person dining credit. The package is available for $869 per night on weekdays and $919 per night on weekends for one-bedroom suites, and $1,559 per night on weekdays and $1,559 per night on weekends for two-bedroom suites, now through November 17.

The Convenient Crush

Car-Free and Carefree – As a leader in developing low-impact transportation options, à la the Vine Trail Napa Valley program, the Napa Valley offers everything from complimentary bicycles found at resorts throughout the Valley to electric car charging stations that are now available at several wineries and resorts. Further supporting the cause is a new program for guests in Calistoga, the complimentary Visitor Shuttle Program, offered to guests of the town. The shuttle is nicknamed “The Mud Runner” thanks to the region’s famous mud baths that use volcanic ash from nearby Mount St. Helena. The service is on-demand and is free to guests staying at one of the 43 lodgings within the city, with wait times targeted at only 20 minutes or less.

Post-Crush FestivalsNapa Valley Film Festival (Nov. 7 – 11) – For the first time, the Napa Valley Film Festival will kick off with premiere screenings of select feature films as well as sneak previews of highly anticipated upcoming studio releases. Having been hailed as one of the most exciting and ambitious American film festival launches since Tribeca, the Napa Valley Film Festival, now in its second year, will feature more than 75 new independent films, wine tastings, interactive panel discussions, and more.

Flavor! Napa Valley (Nov. 14 – 18) – The second-annual Flavor! Napa Valley is back with two extra days of food, wine, and fun. The now-weeklong event allows guests to gather with 50 celebrated chefs and more than 125 vintners. New to the festival is a series of intimate, hands-on experiences, such as the Terroir to Table™: Farm|Cellar|Kitchen workshops that will allow up to 16 guests to work side by side with Michelin-starred Chefs, or get paired with leading winemakers, such as La Toque’s Chef Ken Frank and Shari Staglin of Staglin Family Vineyard. At the festival’s signature Appellation Trail event, more than 100 Napa Valley wineries and over 20 restaurants will be showcased, offering pourings and culinary samplings. Tickets for the festival are now available, with net proceeds supporting student programs and scholarships at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone Campus in St. Helena.

For more information about travel to the Napa Valley, including special offers and a full calendar of Harvest season events, visit

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