Napa Valley Life Magazine - Spring 2022

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Napa de Oro: Going for the Gold Napa Valley Sangiovese: Made with Passion and Purpose Deep in the Heart of Texas Wine Country



Life happens. And you want to be ready when it does. Let us help you take care of what matters most Getting to know you and what you care most about — planning for college, taking care of an elder family member, passing a legacy to future generations, buying a second home — is so important. Once we understand your priorities, together, we can help you pursue the goals you’ve set for yourself and your family. Call to learn more today. The Gonzales Group Eric F. Gonzales Senior Vice President Senior Resident Director – Wealth Management Advisor NMLS#: 632110 707.254.4606 Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Riverfront - 700 Main Street Suite 200 Napa, CA 94559

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F E AT U R E S / / S P R I N G 2 0 2 2

28 Cover Story

Napa de Oro: Going for the Gold

50 Wine Regions Series

Deep in the Heart of Texas Wine Country

Valley 53 Napa Sangiovese

Made with Passion and Purpose

66 Side Trip

Destination Santa Cruz County


SPR ING 202 2


Napa de Or o: Going for the Gold Napa Valley Sangiovese : Made with Passion an d Purpose Deep in the Heart of Texas Wine Country SPRING 2022






CREATING PLACES OF COMFORT IN YOUR OUTDOOR SPACE Come in to see our new introductions for outdoor furniture and accessories. Let us help you create your perfect space




NVL contents

D E PA R T M E N T S / / S P R I N G 2 0 2 2

NV Scene • 12


What’s Been Happening Around Town

Things To Do

16 Calendar of Events 18 Inside Track: What the Locals are Doing 19 Explore Napa’s Winery Farms 22 Wine Country for the Sports Fan

What’s Hot • 24 Special Features

39 Spring in Wine Country: Discover Napa Valley Outdoors 47 Behind the Judgment of Paris


35 Vault Wine & Artifacts 42 Materra | Cunat Family Vineyards 43 Artesa Winery 46 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Wine & Winery Spotlights 32 Grgich Hills 34 Trinitas Cellars 40 Fortunati Vineyards 44 Miner Family Winery

Winemaker Spotlights

36 Victoria Coleman of Lobo Wines 38 Derek Baljeu of Knights Bridge Winery



56 Napa Valley’s Best Italian 60 The CIA at Copia 61 Empress M 62 Eiko’s Modern Japanese Cuisine 63 Dirty Girl Donuts 64 Cooking with Karen Crouse

Real Estate

70 Napa Tracy Style: What Are You Waiting For? 72 Ellen Pollitz: Quintessentially Napa Valley

People & Art



74 Layla Fanucci: Finding Her Passion

Shop Local

76 The George 78 B12 Love

Health & Wellness 80 Lift Aesthetics

Money & Wealth

82 Napa Valley Lending 84 Merrill Lynch– Four Times You Should Always Ask: How Will This Affect My Taxes?

Dining Guide • 86 6



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Spanish-style stucco estate situated on 1.77 sprawling acres of level land. Two-story home with quality touches throughout; gorgeous walnut floors, exposed beam ceiling, custom wood cabinets and upgraded stainless appliances in kitchen including a pot-filler and a wine fridge. Upstairs offers a secluded Master Retreat with one other bedroom used as an office. Renovated balcony connects the two rooms and overlooks the enormous backyard, which could include a future pool or vineyard. 2-Car Garage, 2-Car Carport, detached workshop. Jennifer Klingbeil | Realtor ® | UpValley Specialist | Lic.# 02067543 | | m 707.492.0435 Sotheby’s International Realty® is a registered trademark licensed to Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. Each Office Is Independently Owned and Operated.

NVL editor’s letter

Spring... It’s A Thing S

Photo by Bob McClenahan

pringtime in Napa Valley is a much-anticipated time of the year. Coming off the heels of mustard season, the valley is in a stage of new beginnings. The vines are verdant with new growth of the 2022 vintage, spring flowers are abundant in the fields and gardens, and since the days are longer, there’s more sunshine to warm each day. In this issue, we celebrate Spring with some of Napa’s best outdoor winery experiences. Whether sampling a flight of fine wines on a patio with breathtaking views, taking an ATV adventure among the vineyards, or booking an immersive winery farm tour, you’ll discover exploring the bounties of wine country “alfresco” is a feast for the senses. Our cover story featuring Napa de Oro is also a tale of new beginnings. When Filipino proprietors Abe Marapao and Noe Taojo were looking to fulfill their passion for acquiring a winery and home for their wine brand in Napa Valley, their consultant and winemaker, Rudy Zuidema, introduced them to St. Helena’s historic Tudal Estate. Around since 1972, the Tudal property played a significant role in Zuidema’s early winemaking career when he was taken under the wing of then-owner and mentor Arnie Tudal. With Zuidema’s property knowledge and winemaking expertise and the construction of a new state-of-the-art winery, Marapao and Taojo are relaunching the property as Napa de Oro. It will be a “coming full circle” story for the old Tudal estate. With the storied history of the property and the passion of the new team behind it, Napa de Oro is going for the gold. We continue our Napa varietal series focusing on Sangiovese, a rare gem in a valley where Cabernet reigns king. The vintners and growers producing wines from the small parcels of this old-world variety are considered mavericks for bucking the norm, but they’re passionate and steadfast in their commitment to making it. Approachable to the palate and the pocketbook, this spectacular food-friendly wine has acquired an exclusive following and has proven it’s a varietal that is here to stay. For the wine country adventurer, take a side trip and discover the seaside treasures of the California coastal city of Santa Cruz, or think big and head to Texas wine country, where vintners and growers are blazing new trails producing their unique style of Rhône varietals and making Tempranillo a star. Whatever you do, there is no place more beautiful to celebrate Spring than in Napa Valley. We hope you will join us. Cheers!

Laura Larson Editor



Big Change starts small


#FrankForACause SPRING 2022



1300 1s t #385 s tree t napa, ca 94559 (707) 501-4444

Take Out - Curbside - Delivery

10 Y

Jackie Cyr ADVERTISING/SALES Doris Hobbs – 209-207-4876 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Fran Miller

• •E• Y T• •H• A Nel KebYra Oti U ng N A P A ea V Ars LL


Laurie Jo Miller Farr Layne Randolph Elizabeth Smith Marisa McCann Valerie Owens Melissa Vogt Mark Gudgel CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Art & Clarity - Lowell Downey and Janna Waldinger Bob McClenahan Vincent Gotti ABOUT THE COVER Napa de Oro Proprietor, Abe Marapao and Rudy Zuidema, Consultant & Winemaker at the St. Helena winery estate Cover Photo by Vincent Gotti

Napa Valley Life Magazine is published six times a year. We have four quarterly publications and two annual publications. 1370 Trancas Street # 770, Napa, CA 94558 Copyright 2021 by Napa Valley Life Magazine. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Subscriptions

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Celebrating Together. Enjoying Wine. Doing Good. In Napa Valley, we understand the importance of the greater community, a community of wine enthusiasts who share in our love of Napa Valley wines. Collective Napa Valley is for all of us. There is a place at our proverbial table for anyone who enjoys wine and believes in doing good. We invite you to join us for this innovative year-round program that allows Napa Valley wine enthusiasts to gather, raise a glass and invest in important initiatives in Napa Valley.

NV Scene

What’s Been Happening Around Town NAPA LIGHTED ART FESTIVAL

Downtown Napa lit up the streets with the annual Napa Lighted Art Festival, a celebration of creative arts, technology, and lights showcasing light and light technologies as a growing art medium. The walkable outdoor experience featured eight lighted art sculptures located along the Napa Riverfront and Oxbow District. The free event, which was open to the public, ran from January 15th through March 13th and featured, among others, local Napa artists Vincent Connors, Scott Haycock, and Jacques Lesec. //

Angels of Freedom by OGE Group

Lightforms by Hybycozo

Suspensions by Vincent Connors Photo Courtesy of Vincent Connors

Lightforms by Hybycozo Electric Dandelions by Liquid PXL Spherules by Vincent Connors Photo courtesy of Vincent Connors

Full Metal Poppy by Jacques Lesac



Christina Beverly from Jessup Cellars Photo by Argun Tekant

Ariel Winter (Modern Family) Producer of the short film, Boys

John & Nat Komes at Wilfred's Lounge


The 5th Annual Yountville International Short Film Festival (YISFF) was hosted live and in-person in downtown Yountville from February 3-6. The popular four-day event, brought to Napa Valley by Founders Bill Hargreaves and Sinohui Hinojosa, is known for its incredible lineup of imagination-stretching short films from across the globe, it’s multiple themed screening blocks, special musical guests, winery events, and engaging filmmaker Q&A sessions. //

YISFF screening // Photo by Argun Tekant

Photo by Argun Tekant

Graceland lead actress Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect) with writer-producers Bonnie Ryan and Trevor Munson

Joel Quigley from Lloyd Cellars and Prescription Vineyards



NV scene

Auctioneer Pat Tully leads the Guardsman Wine Auction

Jean-Charles Boisset pouring glasses for guests at the seated dinner


Hosted at the Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco on February 12, the 45th Annual San Francisco Wine Auction, hosted by the Guardsmen, raised funds to benefit at-risk youths in the Bay Area. The guest of honor was Napa’s own Jean-Charles Boisset, who was recognized for his positive impact, influence, and service to the wine industry. The festivities included a silent and live auction containing bounties of luxury wine, spirits, and travel packages, a walk-around wine tasting from more than 30 premium Bay Area wineries, and a seated dinner, followed by dancing and an after-party. The San Francisco Wine Auction is the largest and longest running charity event in San Francisco. Founded in 1947, The Guardsmen is a volunteer group of men mobilized to enhance and improve the lives of at-risk youth. // Winning bidders of the Buffalo Trace Treasure Chest Bourbon collection

Wineries from all over NoCal participate as sponsors and donors



Scholarship recipient Poppy Gallegos-Zingarelli speaks about the impacts the fundraiser has had on her life

Cara Chamberlain pours a sample of wine during the silent auction

JCB hosted guests with a champagne toast at the VIP reception

Wine trade members bidding lots Photo by Alexander Rubin Photography

Next Gen Vintners Angelina Mondavi and Hailey Trefethen Photo by Alexander Rubin Photography

Sotheby's auctioneers Jamie Ritchie and Quig Bruning // Photo by Alexander Rubin Photography

PREMIERE NAPA VALLEY On February 23-26 Napa Valley vintners and trade members reunited in Napa Valley to attend the Napa Valley Vintners 26th annual Premiere Napa Valley Wine Auction. Buyers competed for 109 lots in Saturday’s live auction, conducted by Sotheby’s, capping off a week of relationship building, doing business, and exploring Napa Valley’s excellence in winemaking. This year’s auction lots were made available via online bidding in the days leading up to the live auction and included wines from the 2019, 2020, and 2021 vintages. Some of the highest selling average bottle prices were joint lots by Favia / Hourglass, Buena Vista / Charles Krug, and Reynolds Family Winery / Canard, coming in at an average of $325 a bottle. In this year’s program, Sotheby’s first endeavors to bring more of the wines from Napa Valley to audiences around the globe (14 states and six countries) brought in an impressive $2.7 million. All proceeds from Premiere Napa Valley directly fund the Napa Valley Vintners mission to promote, protect and enhance Napa Valley. //

Premiere Napa Valley Barrel Tasting Photo by Alexander_Rubin_Photography Ken Barnard of Ancien Wines at the Coombsville AVA Preview // Photo by Laura Larson

TOR Kenward at the Oakville AVA Preview Photo by Laura Larson

Robin and Michelle Baggett from Alpha Omega and Rich and Leslie Frank from Frank Family Vineyards // Photo by Laura Larson

Oakville AVA Preview at Brix Restaurant Photo by Laura Larson



NV Calendar

Upcoming Parties, Concerts, Celebrations and Events Event dates subject to change. Please check event websites for current schedules.

GRAMMY Award-winning band Ozomatli Photo courtesy of SALUD Napa Valley

April 22-24


The premier event for the Stags Leap District Winegrowers, Vineyard to Vintner, returns in 2022, bringing enthusiasts together with vintners, winemakers, and principals for a memorable weekend of esteemed wines, enchanting dining, and in-depth education of Napa Valley’s most distinctive sub-appellations. The weekend includes intimate vintner dinners with world-class library wines and chef-driven menus, immersive education opportunities through vineyard walks, talks and tastings, and an exclusive vintner-hosted luncheon at the historic Stag’s Leap Winery, offering a rare chance to meet 16


the winemakers, principals, and owners of 16 District wineries in one location. The weekend concludes with Savor SLD, a day of tastings and experiences at more than a dozen SLD properties. // April 29-May 1


Kerrin Laz’s Inspire Napa Valley Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser for 2022 is taking place April 29 through May 1. The three-day-event offers wine enthusiasts, philanthropists and industry leaders a unique opportunity to mingle with Napa Valley’s top vintners and winemakers. The itinerary includes a VIP

Trisha Yearwood Photo courtesy of Festival Napa Valley

Friday evening multi-course dinner at Opus One Winery, paired with renowned vintages from the cellar, a VIP Wine Seminar featuring a group of exceptional panelists, including Vinous founder, Antonio Galloni, and Food & Wine magazine’s executive wine editor, Ray Isle, and the main event—a Saturday Walk-Around Wine Tastingfeaturing dozens of the most exclusive wineries followed by a quintessential wine country dinner and live auction. //

Valley Vine Trail. The Month of Movement is intended to get more people outdoors and celebrate their support for expanding the 47- mile Napa Valley Vine Trail. This is a perfect opportunity to tackle a fitness challenge or simply be prodded to get up and move. Sign up as an individual or as part of a team to walk, run or ride. May 1 begins the fitness and fundraising challenge, where the leaderboards will show most miles and most funds raised. // VineTrail

Starting May 1

May 12-15

Walk? Run? Ride? Consider signing up for a one-of-a-kind challenge supporting the Napa

In celebration of its milestone 50th Anniversary, the OLE Health Foundation, in collaboration with Napa Valley



luminaries, vintners, and business leaders, kicks off its 50th Anniversary fundraising event to honor those whose support has played a vital role in helping everyone who lives and works in Napa Valley lead a happy and healthy life. The four-day celebration includes intimate alfresco dinners hosted by some of the region’s most celebrated vintners of Napa Valley, including Dalla Valle and Cliff Lede. It is highlighted by a luxury auction, dinner, and an energetic, live performance by Grammy Award-winning band Ozomatli, at the iconic Quintessa Estate. The weekend culminates with the SALUD Family Fiesta, which is open to all ages, in downtown Napa at The CIA at Copia, where guests will enjoy live music, creative food, wine pairings, a 50/50 raffle, lawn games, photo booth, face painting, and more. Passes range from an all-inclusive Weekend Pass or a la carte tickets to individual events. //

May 20-22

May 21

May 28

Head to beautiful Yountville, in the heart of the Napa Valley, for this artistic outdoor stroll to celebrate Napa’s local artists. This free art event features over 50+ juried artists - fine art, sculpture, ceramics, photography, jewelry, and more – all spread out through the center of town. ART, SIP & STROLL Tasting Packages ($35 optional) are available. They include a glass, four winetasting tokens, plus one token for the 2022 hand-signed original ART, SIP & STROLL Collector’s Poster by artist Nick Cann. Purchase an outdoor lunch onsite and relax in one of Yountville’s park-like venues or make reservations to dine at one of Yountville’s fabulous restaurants. //

Napa Valley’s 12th Annual NIMBASH, a celebration of the arts and artists of Napa Valley, connects art lovers, philanthropists and community leaders with over 100 artists for a wide array of art activities, delicious food, drink, music, fashion show, silent and live auctions featuring amazing art, wines and experiences and a wild after-burner dance party. Funds raised support classes and programs in support of NIMBUS arts, a non-profit promoting learning and creativity. Hosted at Charles Krug Winery. //



The Patron Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission to support the hospitality industry, in partnership The Meritage Resort & Spa and Vista Collina Resort are hosting the second annual Chardonnay Classic. The three-day program will bring together will bring together legendary master sommeliers, wine aficionados, industry experts, and word-class wineries in a weekend-long event in celebration of the ‘winemakers grape.’ Ticket holders will be treated to tasting experiences, expert-led seminars, gourmet lunches, and luxurious dinners. Weekend tickets, single day or individual experience passes are available. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the SommFoundation, a non-profit corporation that assists in the education and development of people working in the wine and spirits business. //


napa like never


Experience our Newest Napa Valley Adventure – Afternoon Tea Service Enjoy a 3-hour journey filled with all the delights of a traditional tea service but with our own Wine Country twist.


May 27-29


Voted Napa Valley’s Best Wine Country Event, BottleRock Napa Valley is back at the Napa Valley Expo for its ninth

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Inside Track

What the Locals are Doing Nine One Wine Photo by Lauren Bucher

St. Helena locals and police log buffs Hillary Hoppe and Chris Morisoli recently launched Nine One Wine, a podcast focused on “all things wine and crime”. The duo invites local winemakers over to read comical crime incidents from the St. Helena Star police log juxtaposed with conversations about each guest’s winemaking journey. The light-hearted sessions are intended to reveal the authentic side of Napa Valley. Available on all streaming platforms. // @NINEONEWINEPODCAST

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Family-owned by Napa locals Gwen & Rene’ Bassett, Dickey’s Barbeque has been a local gem since it opened in Spring 2019. Their brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chicken, sausages, and turkey are all slow-smoked in a large pit and served up alongside a variety of 13 sides. Especially popular are the family dinner boxes, pit smoked wings and giant, loaded baked potatoes. Whether it be one guest in-store or catering for hundreds, Dickey’s can satisfy any barbecue fix. // 1335 W. IMOLA AVE, NAPA • WWW.DICKEYS.COM

The Saint Happy Hour St. Helena’s hottest wine bar hosts a happening Happy Hour every Tuesday - Thursday from 3-7 p.m. Glasses of wine start at $8 and beers at $5 and on Thursdays, Kevin Hague performs live music from 5-7 p.m. The Saint offers over 50 wines by the glass and even more by the bottle from a collection of boutique wineries in Napa Valley and from around the world. A variety of artisan cheeses, charcuterie boards, and small plates are also available, because after all, wine is meant to be savored with a nibble or two. // 1350 MAIN ST., ST. HELENA • WWW.THESAINTNAPAVALLEY.COM

Napa Golf Course Napa Golf Course is the perfect respite for the local golfing community. The 18-hole full-service course operates on a daily fee, offers practice facilities, an 8,500 square foot putting green, and a 22-stall driving range. With four sets of tees and instruction to accommodate golfers of any skill level, the course is user-friendly, fun, and affordable. Napa Golf Course is also home to Fairview Napa, offering affordable, picturesque, all-inclusive weddings and events–indoors or out. // Photo courtesy of Napa Golf Course


Brigachero Join Napa locals in-the-know for handcrafted confections from Fabi, the chef/entrepreneur behind Brigachero. Named after her favorite pet Schnauzer, Che, and her favorite Brazilian sweet (brigadeiro), Fabi creates a whimsical selection of mouthwatering Brazilian truffles, chocolate “barras” and spreads. A delight to behold and consume, the colorful truffles are available for purchase at her pink trailer along Soscol Avenue, at Napa’s local farmers markets or you can build your own box on line. // WWW.BRIGACHERO.COM 18


season. Presented by JaM Cellars, the 2022 festival presents over 75 musical acts with headline artists Metallica, P!nk, Twenty One Pilots, and Luke Combs. The 3-day music, wine, craft brew, and culinary festival continues to offer a variety of genres, some of the world’s biggest bands, up-andcoming musical acts, and some of Napa Valley’s best food. BottleRock Napa Valley also presents its highly entertaining Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage, showcasing a unique mashup of cooking demonstrations with renowned chefs, celebrities, performers, and rock stars. Initial ticket blocks were released in January, but some ticket types are still available for direct purchase or to score post-sale tickets, visit the Fan-to-Fan Exchange page. // June 9-11


Brian Culbertson & Friends is back for the 9th Annual three-day Jazz festival featuring Boney James, Incognito, Lindsey Webster, Eric Darius, Kayla Waters, Marcus Anderson, Nicholas Cole, Mike Manson, DJ’s Rick & Russ with CJ Flash. The main concerts will be performed at Charles Krug. // July 15-24


Blending the beauty and bounty of Napa Valley with the very finest performing arts, Festival Napa Valley is back in 2022 for a nine-day program filled with world-class performances staged in iconic venues. This year’s Arts for All Gala, hosted on July 17, will be headlined by country music legend and Grammy Awardwinner Trisha Yearwood. The internationally renowned Young People’s Chorus of New York City will also perform. Each year, more than 200 artists, wineries, resorts, theaters, restaurants, chefs, and vintners participate. //

NVL things to do

Exploring Napa’s Winery Farms Take an Agricultural Spin Around Napa Wine Country  BY MELISSA VOGT

Photo courtesy of Hoopes Vineyard

In the truest and most authentic sense, Napa Valley is deeply rooted in agriculture. When the land was still a part of Mexico in the early 1800s, ranchers raised cattle, sheep, and horses and grew wheat along the Napa River. By the time California became a part of the United States in 1850, agricultural production of grains, fruits, produce, nuts, grapes, and much more exponentially increased. It was a bountiful paradise that primed the commitment to agricultural production and land preservation to which Napa Valley adheres today.


ost of Napa Valley is still dedicated to agriculture, and many local wineries remain working farms. From sustainability, organics, biodynamics, and river restoration to regenerative farming systems, solar power, green initiatives, and more—Napa Valley wineries work to preserve the land so that generations to come can enjoy it. “We raised our children here, and now their children and children of our guests can make a playground of the property as well. Emulating nature is what SPRING 2022


NVL things to do

More Farm-Style Adventures The Terraces

The adventurous four-wheel-drive tour of the vineyards, orchards, bee apiaries, and eclectic art collection at The Terraces includes wine and artisan balsamic vinegar tasting for groups of five or less.

Long Meadow Ranch

Tres Sabores Sheepies Photo by Briana Marie Photography

Take a scenic drive to Long Meadow Ranch’s mountain estate with a full tour of the vineyards, olive groves, and winery caves. Savor wine and olive oil tasting.

B Cellars

Tres Sabores Bees Photo courtesy of Tres Sabores

Jack E. O'Asses Photo courtesy of Hoopes Vineyard

agriculture can strive to do and, it’s the right thing to do,” said Julie Johnson, winemaker and owner of Tres Sabores Winery. Beyond the obvious and necessary benefit of preserving the land to sustain future generations, farms directly benefit vineyards in more ways than one. John Wilson, winemaker at Round Pond Estate, explained: “By growing acres of olives, culinary and insectary gardens, and even preserving natural riparian habitats along the Napa River, we allow for beneficial insects, birds, and other predators to thrive. This integrated pest management approach reduces the impacts of virusspreading insects and other pests.” Johnson expanded on how other critters positively impact vineyards: “Our sheep and goats graze on the cover crop, and their ‘natural deposits’ 20


provide an incredible source of both nitrogen and micro-organisms to the vineyard. They serve as fire-prevention weeders as well.” These practices keep soil, plants, vines, and animals healthy—and work to protect the land on which the local community depends. “Organic and regenerative farming are the most nutritive ways to farm the earth and ensure sustainable agriculture throughout generations,” stated Lindsay Hoopes, proprietor of Hoopes Vineyard. “We believe that we are shepherds of the land and that we need to return the land to the next generation in a better place than how we found it,” Hoopes stated. Many wineries share the sentiment that Hoopes does, and it’s one of the reasons why generations continue to raise families in Napa Valley. This long-term commitment to preserving the local land and crafting incredible local wines is evident in the passion these wineries bring to their tasting experiences— offering visitors a chance to truly connect with the land and experience the harmony between vineyards and farms.

HOOPES VINEYARD Oasis by Hoopes is one of the most authentic farm experiences in Napa Valley. Guests can sip a crisp and fruity Rosé of Cabernet

Take a vineyard trek with a personal wine guide and explore the garden and estate grounds. Check out the wine caves and taste through a wine and food pairing featuring five wines and seasonal bites cultivated from the gardens.

Clif Family

Enjoy wine tasting and small bites or delicious entrées from the organic farm-fueled food truck.

Raymond Vineyards

Take a private tour of the estate from the cellar to the organic and biodynamic vineyards and gardens.

Honig Vineyard & Winery

Get ready to board an ATV and head into the vineyards. Check out the guided eco-tour and tasting to learn about sustainability and solar power.

Wheeler Farms

Private wine tasting, culinary garden and orchard bites, as well as fluffy farm animals, make this winery farm an enjoyable place to spend the day.

Photo courtesy of Hoopes Vineyard

amidst the rescue animal sanctuary and say hello to Jack E. O’Asses—the beloved donkey who was rescued from the desert and now serves as a guardian over the hens at Hoopes. In addition to enjoying a private table and mini-bottle flight, visitors can buy and taste organic produce from the garden and learn about the farm animals and garden practices during their visit. This is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of a busy day of wine tasting and simply retreat and relax in a welcoming wine country space.

TRES SABORES The wine tasting experiences at Tres Sabores are holistic in their approach. Those who visit the estate are invited to taste the grapes, pomegranates, olive oil, tomatoes, honey, peas, and more—helping to connect all aspects of the senses and experience the farm’s symbiosis. Wine tastings include the option to explore the estate and have an immersive afternoon with the wines, gardens, and farm animals.

ROUND POND At Round Pond Estate, guests can take a guided tour through the olive grove and

winery garden and finish with a four-course food and wine pairing crafted with fresh produce harvested onsite. This elevated experience brings together many facets of the estate and offers a comprehensive flavor profile of the land and its bounty. When the handcrafted olive oils are bottled and ready each year, visitors can observe the olive oil production and indulge in a special tasting that includes four estategrown EVOOs and a red wine vinegar.

Lucy Photo Courtesy of Tres Sabores



NVL things to do

Photo courtesy of Napa Palisades Saloon

Wine Country Sports Fan for the


THE BEST PLACES TO WATCH THE GAME IN NAPA There are certain criteria for an excellent spot to watch the game: tons of TVs, good drinks, and delicious food. From local watering holes to elevated cocktail lounges, the city of Napa offers it all. Featuring high-definition televisions, thoughtful selections of craft beer and cocktails, and other fun amenities (bowling, anyone?), catch all the action at these game day Napa destinations.

HOP CREEK This low-key gastropub in Napa’s Brown’s Valley neighborhood is always packed with locals for drinking and cheering, lined with ten televisions around the bar, the game, any game, is always on. The locally-driven beverage menu features over ten craft beers on tap and dozens more by the bottle, including Hop Creek’s own Double India Pale Ale, Wunder Mic Hazy. Join the pub for its “hoppier hours” Monday through Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for $4 house draft beers and $3 off all appetizers like their famous garlic pub fries, maple glaze Brussel sprouts, or signature flatbreads. // 3253 Browns Valley Rd., Napa //

MERITAGE RESORT AND SPA CRUSH LOUNGE For a fun and alternative game-day viewing experience, check out the Crush Lounge 22


at Napa’s Meritage Resort and Spa. Arrive hungry for all the classic noshes like nachos, soft pretzels, and chicken wings, plus a delightfully unexpected line-up of boozy milkshakes in an array of tempting flavors such as Oreo crème de cacao and salted caramel pretzel bourbon. Then reserve a bowling lane, pool table, shuffleboard, or foosball for a break at halftime. // 875 Bordeaux Way, Napa //

NAPA PALISADES SALOON In a sea of fine wine in Napa Valley, Napa Palisades Saloon is a craft beer oasis. Known as the “Beer Guys in Wine Country,” this gastropub and beer company brews their own beer and has over 30 different house and local beers on tap. Their comprehensive beer selections combined with 16 flat screen TVs, covered patio seating, an

enticing Sunday brunch, and weekly happy hour deals, including some of the best wings in town, make Napa Palisades the perfect haven for sports fans. // 1000 #100 Main St., Napa //

NAPASPORT STEAKHOUSE NapaSport proves it’s possible for a sports bar to be an upscale restaurant and lounge. There’s a dedication to premium pub fare with dry-aged USDA prime steaks, truffle deviled eggs, and Wagyu beef burgers. A host of sports games are broadcasted on 15 high-definition TV screens throughout the stylish yet comfortable space, which boasts a spacious central bar, a wood floor made from a reclaimed basketball court, plus a large outdoor patio with lawn games and fire pits. Enjoy live music from local musicians on the patio starting in April, as

well as happy hour specials from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays. // 145 Gasser Dr. Ste. A, Napa //

NORMAN ROSE TAVERN Norman Rose has been a neighborhood gathering place since Christina and Michael Gyetvan opened it in late 2009. Located in the old Wells Fargo Bank building on First Street across from the Andaz Hotel, the restaurant is designed with open seating, both indoors and out. The traditional pub-style bar touts two wide-screen TVs that broadcast popular sports channels. The menu specializes in classic American comfort food, including one of Napa’s best burgers, and along with specialty cocktails, offers an extensive beer selection featuring many North Coast microbreweries and a wine list with 100% local labels. When local Bay Area teams are in the line-up, get there early for a coveted bar seat. // 1401 First St., Napa //

Photo courtesy of Napa Sport

Palisades Saloon Buffalo Wings courtesy of Napa Pailisades Saloon

Photo courtesy of North Spirits and Tapas

NORTH SPIRITS AND TAPAS Located along Trancas Street on the north side of town, this new-to-the-scene eatery serves up specialty cocktails and globally inspired tapas that won’t break the bank. Two TVs are positioned on both ends of the dramatic wall-to-ceiling bar holding a large collection of liquors, wine, and beer. Alongside a slew of newly devoted regulars, dive into elevated bar food such as thick-cut “phat fries” served with Calabrian chili aioli, spicy Kobe beef empanadas, burgers, sandwiches, as well as a handful of desserts. The craft cocktail list is equally extensive and adventurous, showcasing concoctions with inventive names like “Hops & Scotch” made of blended malt scotch and stout beer and the “Queen of the Valley” made of vodka, limoncello, and lavender syrup. // 1540 Trancas St., Napa //

OX AND THE FOX WINE BAR Located in the First & Franklin Marketplace in downtown Napa, the Ox and the Fox, recently named “Best New Place to Hang Out” in the 2022 Best of Napa Valley Awards, is quickly becoming downtown Napa’s newest hot spot. With several perfectly placed televisions, a rustic wood bar serving up locally produced boutique wines and beers, and an impressive small bites menu, Ox and the Fox is the ideal destination for the game. Menu highlights include delicious sharable plates such as goat cheese fondue and wild mushroom bruschetta and homemade desserts from Napa-based Monday Bakery. Enjoy bottomless mimosas starting at 3:00 p.m. on Sundays or pop in for late-night imbibing through midnight daily. // 1331 First St., Napa //

Photo courtesy of Ox and the Fox

The Crush Lounge Photo by Marisa McCann

Norman Rose Bar // Photo By Laura Larson



Robert Craig Tasting Salon

NVL what’s hot

Waterfront Seafood Grill // Photo by Bob McClenahan

Robert Craig Winery expands its footprint from Howell Mountain to downtown Napa with a new tasting salon recently opened on 2nd Street. The charming bungalow, where visitors can be hosted inside or out, offers guests an intimate experience getting to know the Craig Crew and the family-owned and operated winery’s grape-growing and winemaking philosophies while sipping a selection of current vintages—by the flight or glass. The vibe is unhurried and relaxed and a perfect alternative for fans to enjoy the portfolio of Robert Craig wines in downtown Napa’s more urban setting. Open daily by appointment. FOR MORE INFORMATION: 1553 2nd St., Napa //

The Waterfront Seafood Grill Matt Cordeiro’s hottest new restaurant launched has breathed new life into the dining scene on Napa’s riverfront. The restaurant focuses on fresh, classic seafood dishes headed up by Executive Chef Jesus Mendez (known for his 21-year tenure working under Greg Cole/Coles Chophouse.) The airy restaurant boasts inside dining and outdoor patio seating, as well as a formidable bar featuring six outdoor seats sequestered for primo riverfront views. Specialties include a raw bar menu, including caviar, oysters, crab, and shrimp, a bountiful selection of appetizers, and main courses, including lobster, shrimp, fresh catch, pasta, and a handful of steaks and chops. It’s a hot ticket, and reservations are highly recommended. FOR MORE INFORMATION: 720 Main St., Napa //

Photo courtesy of Robert Craig Winery

Osha Thai San Francisco-based Osha Thai launches its newest location in downtown Napa. The much-anticipated restaurant, located in the prior Mango on Main site on Main Street, is led by Executive Chef Lalita Souksamlane and touts an authentic “East Meets West” dining experience. The menu includes favorites from Osha San Francisco and some new dishes prepared exclusively for the Napa location, such as King Salmon in a Tamarind Reduction, Thai Boat Soup with Rice Stick Noodles, and Deconstructed Shrimp Paste Fried Rice, complemented with a selection of local and imported wines. The restaurant is elegantly adorned with elaborate gold and blue tiling, colorful floral garlands, fresh flower arrangements, and modern Thai-style décor. FOR MORE INFORMATION: 1142 Main St., Napa //



Photo courtesy of Osha Thai

NVL what’s hot

Photo courtesy of North Spirits and Tapas

New Frontier Wine Co. Tasting Lounge Napa-based New Frontier Wine Co. unveils its new tasting lounge on downtown Napa’s busy Main Street. Tucked away in a turn-of-thecentury building, the comfortably appointed tasting lounge redefines luxury Napa wine tasting. The menu includes an exceptional array of wines from New Frontier Wine Co.’s collection of Napa Valley brands, including Justice, Waypoint, Pursuit, Renwood, and Lithology as well as wines from prestigious locations across the globe. Wines will be available via curated tasting flights or by the glass. Open seven days a week from 12 -7 p.m. FOR MORE INFORMATION: 1040 Main St., Napa. //

Winston’s Café and Bakery The much-anticipated Winston’s Café is now open for business. Opened in the prior ABC Bakery location on Third Street, proprietor/chefs Alex Macaraig and Paul Brown partnered together to open a local bakery/ café focusing on seasonally inspired, farm-to-table breakfast and lunch cuisine downtown Napa. It is also the first brick-and-mortar location for Brown’s ‘Paulie’s Bagels’ business, known for its signature style of bagel selections. The evolving menu represents Brown’s Pennsylvania roots and Macaraig’s Filipino-American background. It includes cookies, sticky buns, soft pretzels, donuts, breakfast sandwiches, a fantastic coffee program in collaboration with Bentley’s Coffee, and an ever-changing, eclectic selection of dishes that are “delicious and crave-worthy.” FOR MORE INFORMATION: 1517 Third St., Napa //

Los Agaves Napa Riverfront Ricky Gonzalez brings his popular Los Agaves food truck menu to downtown Main Street. Located in the prior Corner Restaurant location, Los Agaves upscale Mexican food and lively atmosphere breathe new life into the open space. The menu includes a great selection of appetizers and plates to share as well as a collection of authentic Mexican taco plates and entrées such as Alambre (sauteed skirt steak) a short rib burrito, Chileajo Con Pollo and Enchiladas De Mole or Verdes. The handcrafted cocktails are works of art and for the tequila aficionado, the tequila/Mezcal menu is robust, served by the shot or bottle. The popular happy hour is especially busy whether hanging at the bar or on expanded patio. Open SunThurs 11:30- 9:00 and 9:30 on Sat/Sun. FOR MORE INFORMATION: 660 Main St., Napa // 26


Calistoga, CA



Proprietor Abe Marapao, Winemaker Rudy Zuidema and Pablo Ortega from the Napa de Oro production team. // Photo by Vincent Gotti

Napa de Oro

GOES for the


Rudy Zuidema’s appointment as winemaker at St. Helena’s new Napa de Oro winery could be called serendipitous, but that would be an understatement. That the highly respected Zuidema should return after nearly 30 years to the site of his original winemaking training could be called poetic, even prophetic.


uidema’s path to Napa de Oro was not of the straight and narrow. Hired initially as a consultant by friends Abe Marapao and Noe Taojo to conduct due diligence on Napa Valley wineries that the duo planned to acquire, Zuidema’s job was to provide honest assessments of the pros and cons of the wineries. Finding none perfectly suited to Marapao and Taojo’s vision of a first-class, state-of-the-art facility, Zuidema suggested instead that the pair create their own wine brand. “We had some difficulty in initially finding our perfect Napa property, so Rudy suggested we create our brand without having to first own a winery,” said Marapao, an attorney who practices in both the Philippines and in California. “This was a very welcome development, so we started by creating and investing in a brand, the name of which honors Noe’s profession, and the label design of which honors our birthplace, featuring the Philippine flag and its silhouette of Mt. Apo, the tallest mountain in the rich Philippine mining region of Davao. And then we hired Rudy to make our wine–our liquid gold.”



In October 2019, the partners purchased a six-acre property in the heart of Coombsville, of which two acres were planted to Cabernet Sauvignon. The plan was to make an Estate wine out of the vineyard grapes. The first batch of wines came out in March 2020 under their label Napa de Oro, the name so chosen to honor Taojo’s profession in the Philippine gold mining industry. Then they waited as they and Zuidema continued their search for the ideal wine estate. Finally, two and half years later, that property revealed itself. In June of 2021, Marapao and Taojo became the proprietors of the former Tudal Estate, one of Napa’s most historic wineries. Some might call it fate; Zuidema certainly does. This 10 acre Napa Riveradjacent property brings Zuidema’s wine career full circle. His first head winemaking job was at Robert Craig, directly

Estate Property // Photo courtesy of Napa de Oro

Napa de Oro Wine Portfolio // Photo by Vincent Gotti

Photo Courtesy of Napa de Oro

across from Tudal, where he would wander across the street occasionally to confer with the sage Arnie Tudal, who took the then 28-year-old under his wing. Zuidema would go on to take his Tudal-acquired knowledge to varied positions at other wineries before his aunt referred him years later to a young winemaker she knew who was seeking a consultant. That winemaker was Arnie Tudal’s son, John Tudal. Zuidema’s second turn with Tudal became a six-year consultancy starting in 2012.



This current third ‘dance’ with the Tudal name and property has led Zuidema to believe just a bit in destiny. “I have such a warm-spirited connection to this property,” said Zuidema, a graduate of UC Davis with a degree in plant science and agriculture management with a focus on viticulture. “I cannot tell you how exciting it is for me to walk on that dirt again and feel the spirit of my yesteryear. That Abe and Noe were able to purchase this historic estate for Napa de Oro is such a coup, and the fact that they

“ We are making this a mini-paradise to host our partners and visitors. This will be a stellar showcase for our wines and our Philippine culture and history.” – Abe Marapao

were willing to wait for the right place is a testament to their dedication and passion. The property’s history is deep-rooted and rich with such good energy and a great story.” “We were so excited to buy Tudal after learning about both its history and Rudy’s link to the property and former ownership,” said Marapao, who, with Taojo, has already made a splash in Napa with their establishment of the annual Napa de Oro Invitational Golf Tournament. (The three are golf fanatics.) “We wanted it for all of those reasons along with its great grapes and its stellar location along Hwy 29.” The site’s wine history dates back to 1972 when Arnie Tudal purchased what was at the time a walnut orchard and tractor shed. He planted Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in 1973 on the advice of Napa legend Louis Martini who ended up purchasing the first couple of vintages, including the initial 1977 production. Zuidema plans to keep enough of these nearly 50-year-old vines to produce a couple of barrels of wine from them. “They are big, thick, gnarly, sprawling trunks of greatness,” said Zuidema, who currently crafts numerous wines for Napa de Oro including Chardonnay, Rosé, the all estate-grown Caroline’s Red Blend, named after Noe’s wife, and Cabernet Sauvignon for which the Reserve Au79 gets its name from the periodic table symbol for gold. Zuidema’s established reputation allows him access to some of the finest grapes in the valley, and the Napa de Oro wines reflect the prized estates from which he sources. His style is classic and somewhat conservative. Respect for a sense of place is foremost in his winemaking philosophy. “I tend to compete with myself,” said Zuidema, who continues to consult for other wineries such as Shadybrook Estate, Red Cap Vineyards, Phamus, and Southern

Roots. “I like to line up wines from all of the properties from which I source to discern the distinct differences.” Marapao and Taojo’s plans for the property include a casually elegant wine tasting venue that takes full advantage of vineyard views and where the luxe wine country lifestyle can be fully experienced. In addition to remodeling and rebuilding the property’s existing homes and gardens, they are planning the construction of a state-of-the-art winery. “Square tanks, automated everything,” said Marapao. “We are investing time and money here. We are making this a mini-paradise to host our partners and visitors. This will be a stellar showcase for our wines and our Philippine culture and history. We endeavor to join the shortlist of wineries that every Napa Valley aficionado knows and loves.” “This is going to be an amazing winery,” added Zuidema. “We are having a ball putting it together.” FOR MORE INFORMATION

“ That Abe and Noe were able to purchase this historic estate for Napa de Oro is such a coup, and the fact that they were willing to wait for the right place is a testament to their dedication and passion.” – Rudy Zuidema

Noe Taojo and Abe Marapao in the vineyards at the winery estate Photo by Dean Patrocinio

Napa De Oro Double Gold Award // Photo by Dean Patrocinio

Rudy Zuidema, Carolyn and Noe Taojo

NVL winery spotlight





eeply rooted in family and widely acclaimed as a Napa Valley legacy, much has been written about Grgich Hills Estate winery. When speaking with Violet Grgich, at the helm as president since taking over from her father in 2017, she discussed the legendary winery’s focus on regenerative agriculture.

BEYOND SUSTAINABILITY “We want to make truly authentic wines that resemble their birthplace,” she said. “We do that by owning all of our organically-certified vineyards and by practicing the most progressive and effective farming method – regenerative agriculture. ‘Sustainability’ is only continuing to do what you’ve always done, whereas ‘regeneration’ actually brings soil back to life.”

DOWN-TO-EARTH In the Grgich Hills Estate vineyards, three elements of regenerative farming are key. Firstly, the principle emphasizes the importance of microbes that feed the plants. Without microbes in the soil, plants weaken and invite pests and diseases. Secondly, no-till farming nourishes a microbial network and creates a quality of soil that embraces



every drop of rainfall. And the third element is animal husbandry for biodiversity. In addition to bees and cows, the farm supports a habitat populated by chickens, ducks, and owls. In combination, these three elements create an estate that’s a living organism, one that truly delivers on that all-important “sense of place” and produces the most delicious and authentic flavors. In 2003, Grgich Hills Cellar changed its name to Grgich Hills Estate to recognize its commitment to being 100% estate grown. And in 2008, Miljenko “Mike” Grgich was inducted into the Vintner Hall of Fame in recognition of his historic contributions to world-class winemaking. Today, 366 acres in five vineyards in Napa Valley produce the award-winning wines that result from farming naturally without pesticides, herbicides, or artificial fertilizers.

CROATIAN TRADITIONS Violet Grgich pointed out that in her father’s Croatian homeland, these traditional practices in the fields were the norm rather than being coined as regenerative, organic, or sustainable farming. Respected teachings and learnings were handed down from father to

son. As she explained, “My father was born in a very small village, and he learned how to make wine from his father. Because they were poor, they produced everything they consumed, and they did it naturally because there was no other way to do it.”

NON-INTERVENTION WINEMAKING “We’re as non-interventionist as we can possibly be,” she said. “From nurturing microbes in the soil to using native yeast for fermentation, we do as little as possible to create truly authentic wines with a sense of place. As a result, our wines are extraordinarily elegant and harmonious. That style is remarkably consistent from vintage to vintage, yet the wines will be a bit different every year, reflecting the changing nature of their birthplace.”

CROATIAN HOSPITALITY “We serve luxury wines with down-to-earth Croatian hospitality,” Violet Grgich noted. Visitors are welcomed daily by appointment to enjoy guided tastings and flights at the outdoor patio at the beautiful Rutherford winery and vineyard.

FOR MORE INFORMATION 1829 St. Helena Highway, Rutherford, CA 94573 // 707-963-2784 // 32


Available for private events and boasting a full commercial kitchen Our downtown Calistoga tasting room boasts of a modern interior with wide open spaces and art-covered walls, with artwork curated by vintner + artist Laurie Shelton. Guests are invited to enjoy a tasting surrounded by the current exhibit or at a sidewalk bistro table where you can breathe in the beauty of Napa Valley.




NVL winery spotlight


Celebrating 20 Years of Sun, Soil, and Humanity

Photos courtesy of Trinitas Cellars  BY ELIZABETH SMITH


n 2002, Tim and Steph Busch founded Napa Valley’s Trinitas Cellars. Today, twenty years later, second-generation proprietors Garrett and Betsy Busch continue the family’s tradition of crafting artisan wines that express the trinity of winemaking: sun, soil, and humanity. Trinitas offers over 20 different wines for every taste, occasion, and budget. Their flagship wines include Carneros Chardonnay, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley single-vineyard Cabernet Franc, and an old-vine Carignanbased red blend from Contra Costa County. Each wine demonstrates purity of fruit and reflects the terroir of its vintage. In July 2020, Trinitas Cellars welcomed Consulting Winemaker Kale Anderson to their team. He arrived shortly before harvest and quickly familiarized himself with the vineyards before the first pick. “I am inspired by the quality, variety, and unique character of our estate and grower sites,” said Anderson. Anderson has been making wine for over 20 years for some of the area’s most celebrated producers. He launched his career in 2001 with his first harvest



internship at J Vineyards and Winery in Russian River Valley. After graduating with his B.S. degree in viticulture and enology, he worked at Colgin Cellars, Terra Valentine Winery, Cliff Lede Vineyards, and Pahlmeyer Winery. While director of winemaking at Pahlmeyer, Kale became one of the youngest winemakers to earn 100 points from Robert M. Parker, Jr. Trinitas is delighted to offer Anderson’s inaugural 2020 releases – Carneros Chardonnay, Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, and Carneros Pinot Noir – available on the Trinitas website and in the tasting room at Napa Valley’s Meritage Resort. Later in 2022, Trinitas will release its first single-vineyard blend from a historic site in Oakley, California. The 2020 Sandy Lane Vineyard Red is 44% Carignan, 22% Mataro, 18% Zinfandel, and 16% Petite Sirah. The grapes come from the 50- to 80-year-old vines in the dry-farmed, windswept vineyard on Sandy Lane planted in the legendary “Oakley sands” and meticulously farmed for three generations by the Gonsalves family. These heritage vines yield wines with energy, verve, and stunning purity. It will delight those

who enjoy bold Napa Valley wines– at a fraction of the cost. In the luxurious Trinitas tasting room, visitors will discover the exceptional service of its warm and attentive team. Trinitas offers indoor and outdoor seating, with a choice of a traditional wine flight or chocolate-paired flight. For those interested in viticulture, the estate vineyard, which includes a newly replanted block, is a three-minute walk away. “It is a perfect spot for picnics and to soak in the iconic Grape Crusher statue along with a stunning Napa Valley vista,” shared General Manager Sonyia Grabski. “We feel blessed to have shared the greatness of Napa with our guests for 20 years. With our vineyard replant and welcoming Kale to our team, we look forward to doing so for decades more.” One can join them in August for a weekend-long 20th-anniversary celebration that includes a grower’s dinner, library tasting, winery tour, lobster feed, and gourmet brunch. Trinitas Cellars is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. FOR MORE INFORMATION

Proprietor-Vintners Mario Sculatti and Trevor Mallett Photos courtesy of Vault Wine & Artifacts

VA U LT W I N E & A R T I F A C T S C A L I S T O G A :

Curating the Best of Napa  BY FRAN MILLER


riginality within the world of wine tasting typically consists of tasting room architecture, ambiance, and perhaps innovative food pairings. But Calistoga’s newest tasting room, Vault Wine & Artifacts, introduces a unique concept to the Napa Valley wine scene. Along with an array of beautifully crafted, limited-edition wines to indulge by the flight, glass, or bottle, the Vault contains an amazing collection of historical antiques and artifacts from the wine industry. The combination is intended to inspire and connect people through wine and culture—an educational and evocative experience worth discovering. Located in Calistoga at the entrance to Lincoln Avenue in the former Roam Antiques space, Vault is not your standard Napa Valley wine tasting venue. Both a wine collective and antique gallery, Vault features boutique wine brands that fly slightly under the consumer radar. Proprietors and partners Trevor Mallett and Mario Sculatti hand-select each featured vintner making sure that a selection of styles, varietals, and prices are

represented. “We have selected each of our vintner partners because we literally love their wines, the quality is outstanding, and productions are very small and coveted,” said Mallett, who recently received his MBA in wine business from Sonoma State, where he also played Division II baseball. One such brand is Stringer Cellars. “It can be very difficult for a small wine brand like mine to actually get my wines out into the public and in front of people without having a tasting room or winery of my own,” said winemaker Casey Stringer. “I’ve had my feelers out for a shared tasting room opportunity, and when I heard what Mario and Trevor were doing in Calistoga, I jumped at the opportunity to work with them. It’s great that they limit the number of represented vintners, so a bigger selection of our wine portfolio can be available to taste. I also love the style of the place.” That style is both rustic and refined, as curated by Sculatti, former proprietor of Roam, who has spent years collecting significant winemaking antiques, such as a 12-foot-tall Roman press, vintage corkscrews, and a historic riddling rack table,

all artfully displayed within Vault’s homey and inviting interior. “We are collectors of Napa wine and history,” said Sculatti, a fourth-generation Napa Valley native. “And we are fortunate to share the region’s history with our guests.” Visitors will find cozy comfort in the tasting room that features leather Chesterfield sofas, club chairs, exotic carpets, captivating hand-blown glass lighting fixtures, and a solid copper bar. Large garage-style doors open to a 1200 sq. foot patio framed by maple trees. Walk-ins are welcome, though reservations are appreciated. Mallett and Sculatti plan to host a series of special events, such as quarterly movie soirees, produced by local filmmaker and wine educator Vanessa McMahon, their first of which featured Bottle Shock, as well as a post-movie Q&A with the film’s producers who attended. “This is a truly distinctive tasting experience Up Valley,” said Mallett. “The ambiance here is unique.” FOR MORE INFORMATION



NVL winemaker spotlight

Victoria Coleman With



ifteen vintages ago, Lobo Wines Proprietor Randy Wulff interviewed Victoria Coleman for a winemaker position. Already impressed with her resume and the complimentary reports that preceded her, Wulff recalled, “After five minutes, I offered her the job on the spot, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.” When they first met, Coleman was already a rising star following her production role with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars under the tutelage of owner Warren Winiarski and head winemaker Michael Silacci of Opus One repute. In addition to her U.C. Davis degree in viticulture and enology, Coleman had benefited from a season at Château Mouton Rothschild working with Technical Director Erick Tourbier. In high praise of Victoria Coleman, Wulff says, “She’s as active in the vineyard as in the winery — a perfectionist, which we really appreciate. Victoria is the complete package. She's incredibly knowledgeable, devoted to the wine, and perhaps the best palate I’ve ever encountered. Her skills are matched by her loyalty and dedication to the brand and the family. As far as we’re concerned, Victoria is family.”

As the first Black female winemaker in Napa Valley, Coleman is hopeful about the future as we see more diversity developing at many levels throughout the industry. “I am working with a small team to fund scholarships for industry training and education for people of color. We want to bridge the gap between desire and opportunity.” The wines in Coleman’s portfolio include rosé of Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir, Merlot, a Syrah blend, and two Cabernets. She recently added to her experience by taking the reins as Director of Winemaking at The Caves at Soda Canyon.

Cellars. The remainder of the grapes sourced from family vineyards in the Oak Knoll District and Atlas Peak AVA are destined for their own label wines consistently awarded above 90-points. Indeed, the 2015 Lobo, Wulff Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley was featured on the December 2019 cover of Decanter after being selected in a blind tasting as the highest-rated (96 points) among nearly 200 California Cabs. The Caves At Soda Canyon are the centerpiece for the production of Lobo reds. Now complete after several years in development, a 20,000-square-foot underground network is set into a mountaintop. What’s more, the winery is open to visitors by appointment,

Lobo, of course, is Spanish for “wolf,” which is meant as both a nod to the proprietors’ surname and as a salute to the valley’s predominantly Hispanic workforce. Coleman’s talent is widely admired throughout the valley. Lobo sells 65 percent of its fruit to top brands such as The Prisoner, Mumm Napa, and Lewis

where views of Stag’s Leap and the valley are “dramatic,” says Wulff, a real “showstopper,” even by Napa standards.

FOR MORE INFORMATION 2275 Soda Canyon Road, Napa, CA // 707-337-7220 // // 36




NVL winemaker spotlight

Meet Knights Bridge Winemaker


winemaker could ask for. Winemaking technology includes an optical sorting table, five tulip-shaped custom concrete eggs, and separate climate-controlled rooms for vinification and aging. Remotely operated fermentation tanks with automatic pumpovers are sized to match the production of each individual block. With the 2021 harvest, fruit entered this facility for the first time, fulfilling a vision more than a decade in the making.


n 1877 lithograph beautifully illustrates the point—the vineyards of Knights Bridge Winery occupy a special place at the foot of Mount St. Helena, Sonoma’s warmest appellation, planted to grapes for 160 years. The narrow Knights Valley between Napa and Sonoma is rich in cobbled volcanic soil that produces high quality Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Founded in 2006 by brothers Jim and Essel Bailey and friend Tom Costin, Knights Bridge Vineyard rises to an elevation of 900 feet on the rocky slopes of the Mayacamas. Organically farmed at the perfect intersection of climate and location, Knights Bridge seeks to make wines of energy and purpose—unmistakable expressions of the estate’s terroir.

STATE-OF-THE-ART In a state-of-the-art production facility, the team is equipped with all the tools a 38


MEET DEREK BALJEU This is where winemaker Derek Baljeu practices his farming and his craft—and it does sound like love at first sight. He says, “Knights Valley is one of the most versatile growing regions. The strong coastal influence and ample sun preserve flavors and create conditions ideal for wine growing. I thought the vineyard was absolutely stunning. I knew the topography and microclimate were things that could not be replicated and that they would support personality-driven wines with their own unique characteristics.” Before being bitten by the winemaking bug (he attributes the “aha” moment to a dinner of tomahawk ribeye paired with ’96 Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon), Baljeu was enrolled on a football scholarship at U.C. Davis. While keeping up with the demands of playing Aggie football as tight end, he earned both his BS and MS in Viticulture and Enology and was also named a Big Sky

Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2018. The following year, Baljeu came to Knights Bridge after several roles in Napa including researching phenolic development in the To Kalon Vineyard, as assistant viticulturist at Silverado Farming, and as enologist for the luxury portfolio at Trinchero.

EXCEPTIONAL GUEST EXPERIENCE Now welcoming guests by appointment, Knights Bridge is the second winery ever built in Knights Valley. Taking inspiration from the natural beauty and grandeur of the setting, the remarkable space designed by Backen Gillam Architects is almost entirely underground. Upon being greeted at the entrance gate, guests appreciate the thoughtful execution of an exclusive and highly personalized two-hour tasting experience. There’s a guided walk in the vineyards, a tour of the fermentation barn and caves, and at an intimate, seated tasting, local bites are paired with wine in the newly opened tasting salon that’s flooded with light through dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows perfectly framing the mountain’s highest peak.


707-341-3391 //

Spring into the

SEASON Discover the Bounties of Napa Valley Outdoors

Taylor Family Vineyards // Photo by Bob McClenahan


pring is here, and it’s the perfect time of the year to enjoy the good life in wine country. Although Napa Valley enjoys a mild, Mediterranean climate year-long, as the weather starts to warm and days begin to grow longer, the valley offers a gorgeous canvas to get outdoors and explore. Napa Valley is not a very large area, measuring only 30 miles long and five miles wide at its farthest point. But this small valley can pack a big punch when it comes time to move the party outside. Whether it be a long walk among the numerous hiking trails, a bike ride along the Napa Vine Trail, a paddleboat or gondola ride on the Napa River, an excursion in a balloon high atop the valley floor, or an alfresco wine tasting experience among the hundreds of wineries with beautiful views, for the outdoor enthusiast, Napa Valley is indubitably one of the world’s most beautiful places to behold. Napa Valley’s agricultural and winery experiences are especially spectacular during the springtime as the grapevines transition from the bright yellow hues of the mustard season and come alive with bud break, sprouting a new vintage for the year’s growing season. There isn’t anything much better than relaxing outside on a warm afternoon, sipping a glass of handcrafted Napa Valley wine, overlooking acres of undulating vineyards winding afield amidst a backdrop of the Vaca Range or the Mayacamas Mountains. It’s often hard to anticipate what may be next because it’s entirely possible, at that particular moment, that time has stood still. As far as immersive springtime winery experiences—there are many. Depending on which end or side of Napa Valley one may be, the possibilities can range from an intimate wine tasting with a winery owner on a private patio overlooking a family vineyard, an ATV ride around a winery farm, a choreographed tour of a historic winery with breathtaking views, or a Michelin-worthy food and wine pairing on an open veranda. On the following pages and in our Things to Do feature on Winery Farms (page 19), we are pleased to present a variety of winery experiences that showcase the bounties of Napa outdoors. So, as you plan your journey, whether you choose to explore these particular properties or are inspired to put together a list of your own, a visit to Napa during the Spring will surely be one of your most memorable. To discover more wineries and places to visit to build your Spring itinerary, visit our website or

NVL winery spotlight


Well-Rounded, Multi-Layered, Food-Friendly Wines  BY LAYNE RANDOLPH

Photo by Joel Weiss


ust a mile north of downtown Napa in the Oak Knoll District AVA, Fortunati Vineyards stands on ten-plus acres of prime Napa Valley soil. And behind the winery’s “barn,” visitors are treated to a truly spectacular sight--A to-die-for view looking up the valley at Mount Saint Helena, a part of the Mayacamas mountain range and the highest point in Napa Valley. This panorama is one of the benefits of being at the widest part of the valley floor in the southernmost part of Napa Valley. But that is far from all that Fortunati has to offer. Beyond a stunning valley floor view, an outdoor tasting area they call “the little plaza” provides small, intimate visitor spaces surrounded by vineyards and gardens. Wine enthusiasts enjoy private tastings of several highly acclaimed wines: two white varieties, two medium-bodied red varieties, and two heavier red varieties, followed by a portstyle dessert wine. On occasion, Fortunati hosts farm-to-table, curated lunches, and small private dinners in the plaza. From the expansive views of vineyards and Mount St. Helena to the wide selection of wine varieties they offer, owners Gary and Ellen Luchtel make the most of their Oak Knoll District property. “Oak Knoll is the most diverse growing region 40


Photo by Sara Sanger

in Napa Valley,” Ellen explained. “We capitalize on that with our diverse wine selection including Reserve and Signature Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Syrah, a Bordeaux blend, Estate Malbec, Zinfandel, Estate Rosé, Chardonnay, Estate Viognier, and Pinot Noir.” These small-production wines—most are made in lots of only 150 to 350 cases each—are only available at the estate and directly from the winery, affording Fortunati the ability to offer them at exceptional values. Yet, winemaking and grape-growing are at the heart of Fortunati’s success. Gary, also Fortunati’s winemaker, explained his winemaking philosophy. “One of our most revered goals is to grow the best grapes possible. I press them somewhat earlier in the fermentation cycle depending upon the taste and tannin level. This helps in making a more rounded wine with multilayers. They will age well, yet they can be enjoyed today. We aim for well-balanced, food-friendly wines.”

When it comes to growing premium grapes, Gary is dedicated and hands-on. “If vines begin to weaken, we replace them immediately instead of waiting until they are completely lifeless and non-producing. This way, our vineyard contains grapevines of all different ages and maturity which provides steadier, more even quality control. When I do source grapes from other premium growers, I always buy the same rows/blocks every year for wine consistency from vintage to vintage.” Having made wine professionally since 1999, Gary has acquired a wealth of experience on his own through experimentation, and he has also gained valuable tips and insight from fellow Napa Valley winemakers. “No matter where you are, every room you walk into in Napa, there is someone better or smarter from whom to learn something. And Napa winemakers are open to sharing information, so you can ask questions, listen, absorb, comment, and determine what works best for your personal vision and wine style.”


Taylor Family Vineyards Photo by Bob McClenahan



Expanding for the Future



hen warmly greeted at their car with a glass of wine and a smile, Materra’s guests immediately know they are in for something special. Situated on a 50-acre property in the Oak Knoll District AVA, with the Mayacamas and Vaca Mountain ranges on both sides, Materra can host 99 percent of their high-end, by-reservation-only tasting experiences outdoors. The climate is a bit cooler in the Oak Knoll District than in the rest of the valley during the warm summer months, making it an ideal tasting experience. In the coming months, owners Brian and Miki Cunat plan to enhance the hospitality even more, with a 10,000 square foot extension and renovation to the property. The addition will provide guests with more options and versatility, especially for indoor tastings. Harry Heitz, Materra’s General Manager, explained, “The new addition will expand and improve outdoor space, but it is primarily focused on the indoors, with a lounge space, multiple private tasting areas, and a library/museum with a rotating display of artwork and antiques.” 42



Some of the antiques and artwork relate to Miki Cunat’s Japanese background. Miki hails from an old samurai family in Japan. She came to the United States as a foreign exchange student to study at McHenry Community College in Illinois, where she met her husband and winery co-owner, Brian Cunat. Her influence carries over into creating three small-lot wines sold for a limited time each late spring/early summer. In the Land of Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that pairs perfectly with meat and hearty dishes, Miki saw an opportunity to create something unique--wines that pair beautifully with the light cuisine of her homeland. As an homage to Miki’s Japanese heritage, Winemaker Chelsea Barrett created Shinkan Chardonnay, Yoshino Rosé, and Dogura Cabernet Sauvignon. Meaningful Japanese monikers were chosen for each wine. They selected the Yoshino Rosé name for Yoshino Mountain in Japan, which is famous for its 30,000 flowering cherry trees and is a holy site and pilgrimage location. Shinkan Chardonnay takes its name from the Japanese word for “quiet

forest,” referencing the tranquility of a forest stroll. The well-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon Dogura, inspired by Miki’s great grandfather, Shozaburo Dogura, renowned in Japan for his legacy of conservation. These Materra wines are paired with Japanese snacks like rice crackers and crunchy green peas during the tasting to complete the Japanese theme and showcase the pairing perfection. But it’s really about the fresh and delicate wines. Winemaker Barrett provides expertise and oversees the entire process, ensuring the wines reflect the Japanese taste profile and the Cunat Family’s exacting standards. Chelsea’s exquisite winemaking touch developed early, working in vineyards and wineries from a young age with two highly regarded winemaker parents, and she joined Materra in 2019. Chelsea earned her chops on her own and through her family’s influence, and Materra | Cunat Family Vineyards keeps family in all they do, from Miki’s grandfather to their children. Brian and Miki’s youngest daughter designed the ethereal labels on the wine bottles. FOR MORE INFORMATION


Born in Barcelona. Raised in Napa Valley.  BY FRAN MILLER

Photo courtesy of Artesa Winery

estate, with tasting amongst the vines. These two experiences are discounted for Artesa members, who are also invited throughout the year to special membersonly events.

“ In a word, spectacular. The wines, ambience, and vistas! Their warm and knowledgeable staff make everyone feel welcome.” Artesa’s winemaker, Ana Diogo-Draper, brings her own Iberian Peninsula flair to her Spanish-influenced varietals: Albarino, Tempranillo, Malbec, Pinot Noir Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rosé, Sparkling Wine and a variety of specialty blends. Born and raised in Portugal, Diogo-Draper moved to California to pursue her winemaking dreams after studying at the University of Évora with Paulo Laureano, one of the biggest names

Photos courtesy of Azur Wines


ith more than 400 wineries within the Napa Valley, Amy Poehler had her pick of picturesque sites from which to film scenes for her Netflix film Wine Country. She chose Artesa. One peek at this Carneros-based winery and its panoramic vistas, and it’s no surprise that it found its way into key movie scenes. Poehler was obviously enchanted, as are all those who visit this uniquely designed winery that routinely finds itself the backdrop for many a marriage proposal. Offering breathtaking views of San Pablo Bay, and on the clearest of days, San Francisco, Mount Tam, and Mount Diablo, Artesa is a wine taster’s dream locale. Modern and sleek, with Catalonian flair, the winery is an homage to its Barcelona roots. Founded and owned by Spain’s Raventós Codorníu group, the world’s oldest producer of bottle-fermented sparkling wine, Artesa embraces its Spanish heritage not only within its delectable wines but also throughout its striking grounds that include significant statuary, vast water features, and a serene inner courtyard.

Photo courtesy of Artesa Winery

Guests can choose amongst four distinct tasting experiences that take place throughout the stunning property: The Terrace Tasting features a seasonal flight of Artesa’s single vineyard and reserve wines enjoyed on the expansive terrace overlooking the Carneros hills. The Artisanal Tasting features six hand-selected wines from the Artesa portfolio. Both of these experiences are complimentary to Artesa members. Tapas and Wine includes a taste of Artesa’s beautiful sparkling wine, followed by a brief facility tour and a private salon sampling of five of the winery’s most iconic wines paired with traditional Spanish small bite tapas. And the Wines and Vines Vineyard Tour introduces guests to a full exploration of the winery’s 400-acre Los Carneros

Photo by Laura Larson

in Portuguese winemaking. An instinctive winemaker, she revels in winemaking trials and trusts in her intuition. “While walking through the rows of a particular vineyard block, tasting those grapes as they mature throughout the growing season, I have a vision of what that wine could be and start plotting on how to achieve it,” said Diogo-Draper. “Artesa is the complete Napa Valley experience,” said Celeste and Darryl Woo, Artesa Wine Club members since 2007. “In a word, spectacular. The wines, ambience, and vistas! Their warm and knowledgeable staff make everyone feel welcome.” FOR MORE INFORMATION



NVL winery spotlight

Inviting Warmth at




t is fitting that Miner Family Winery’s logo is derived from the symbol for the Assyrian Sun God Ashur. The Oakvillebased winery and tasting room faces west, receiving a full day and, depending on the season, an evening share of sunlight that illuminates its two Silverado Trail-adjacent tasting terraces. That sunlight is also captured in the energy produced from a series of solar panels, which provide 100% of the winery’s power. Be it the sun and/or the convivial atmosphere, a visit to Miner is filled with inviting warmth. “I have been visiting Napa regularly for 16 years and have visited literally hundreds of wineries, and there are so many reasons I visit Miner every single visit,” said fan and longtime Miner Family Winery club member Matt Siegel. “From my first visit more than 15 years ago to my last visit a couple of months ago, the staff always makes it a wonderfully personalized experience, and having awesome wines to showcase doesn’t hurt either!” Miner offers five different tasting experiences, from a Current Release 44


Tasting of core wines to private, elevated (literally) experiences within the newly refurbished second and third floor terraces that offer sweeping views of the Oakville AVA below and the Mayacamas Mountains in the distance. A 20,000 square foot cave, carved into the eastern hillside, provides an additional venue for bespoke experiences, as does the third-floor interior Benedetto Lounge, named for Miner Family Winery proprietor Dave Miner’s love of and partnership with Benedetto Guitars. Within this space, guests are surrounded by Miner’s guitar collection, including handcrafted custom models commissioned from master luthier Robert Benedetto himself.

Miner further honors his love of guitars with the annual Benedetto Jazz Concert & Benedetto Series Cabernet Wine Release Party in late August, a spirited wine country event that features some of the world’s finest jazz musicians. But aside from this popular event, even an everyday visit to Miner affords a celebratory vibe. The winery is exclusive but without pretense; the atmosphere is casual yet sumptuous, with tastings perfectly tailored to guest preference. And the wines. The Miner portfolio runs the gamut. More than a dozen varietals provide choice – everything from Cabernet Sauvignon to Pinot Noir to Chardonnay, all sourced throughout central and northern California from some of the state’s most acclaimed vineyards. “What’s not to love about Miner Family?” asked Siegel rhetorically. “From the amazing wines to the wonderful staff, Miner always hits the mark.” FOR MORE INFORMATION

Find yourself


100 Rapp Lane, Napa CA 94558 707.255.5661

napa valley SPRING 2022



Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Celebrates this World-Class Wine

Photos courtesy of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars



hen it comes to history in Napa Valley, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is one of the first producers that come to mind. This storied estate, made famous by the 1976 Judgment of Paris, was founded in 1970. In 2022, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is celebrating the 30th vintage of the single-vineyard FAY Cabernet Sauvignon. The FAY Vineyard was established by pioneering grape grower Nathan Fay in 1961 and was the first Cabernet Sauvignon planted south of Rutherford. At the time of planting, the area’s climate was considered too cool for growing Cabernet. The story of the FAY Vineyard is such that Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ founder purchased the land adjacent to Nathan Fay’s vineyard after having tasted and enjoyed Fay’s homemade wine; at the time, Fay was selling his grapes to local producers such as Heitz. It wasn’t until 1986 that Fay was ready to sell his land and looked to neighboring Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, which quickly purchased the 66-acre vineyard plot and set to work replanting.

The new FAY Vineyard—respectfully named in Nathan Fay’s honor—was planted in an experimental fashion with different row orientations, trellising, and a wide variety of clones and rootstocks. The intent was to study the vineyards to see what worked best, and that style of experimentation is alive and well in the vineyard today. “The heart of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is undoubtedly our estate vineyards, and the FAY vineyard is truly special. It’s one of the most unique vineyards I’ve ever worked, due to the experimental aspect of the vineyard,” winemaker Marcus Notaro said. The first single-vineyard FAY Cabernet Sauvignon was produced in 1990, and this year marks the release of the 2019 vintage of this renowned Napa Valley wine. “The vineyard produces fruit with an abundance of supple red and black berry character, voluptuous perfume, and a luscious, fine-grained texture. I put a real emphasis on selecting the right barrels to highlight these characters in the wine,” Notaro stated. “The style of FAY not only has a unique personality but great aging potential as well.” The Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2019 FAY Cabernet Sauvignon will be officially released in May. 2019 FAY Cabernet Sauvignon Oenophiles will be welcomed A combination of premium FAY Vineyard blocks, the 2019 with special release-weekend FAY Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic expression of its site. events, unique library wine exBold in color and style, the wine offers an enticing bouquet of raspberry and wild boysenberry, with hints of baking spice periences, and ways to purchase and white flowers. Dark red fruit abound on the palate— selective library wines in black cherry and crème de cassis couple nicely with refined celebration. tannins and a long finish. This Cabernet is a refined powerhouse that’s drinkable now and built for cellaring.



Fay ReleaseWeekend Events Winemaker Dinner

Friday, May 6th $350 per person, $299 per club member Led by Winemaker Marcus Notaro, guests will enjoy an elegant, multi-course meal prepared by in-house chef Travis Westrope. Each course will be paired with incredible wines from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, including the 2019 FAY Cabernet.

Vineyard Walk + Lunch

Saturday, May 7th $325 per person, $275 per club member Led by Vineyard Manager Kirk Grace and Winemaker Marcus Notaro, wine enthusiasts will explore the FAY Vineyard and learn about the land before enjoying an alfresco lunch under the oak trees. Lunch will be paired with new wine releases, including the 2019

FAY Cabernet.

BEHIND the J U D G M E N T o f PA R I S : N A PA VA L L E Y ’ S

Compelling Impact on the

World of Wine Today  BY MARK GUDGEL

Steven Spurrier at Clos Du Val Photo by Rocco Ceselin courtesy of Clos du Val

When Patricia GastaudGallagher, an American working as a writer in Paris, proposed a tasting of American wines to her English employer, Steven Spurrier, Spurrier was intrigued. Gallagher never envisioned a blind tasting nor a competition, but Spurrier, an impeccably-dressed wine merchant with a shop, a wine school, and a devil-may-care approach to business, felt that a blind tasting was the most earnest way to approach such a thing. Besides, reasoned Spurrier, the results were predictable; the French wines would surely win.


he problem arose, of course, when they did not. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon triumphed over the best of Bordeaux’s left bank, while Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay was victorious over the giants of Bourgogne. Spurrier and the rest of the judges were shocked, and George Taber’s short article about the tasting in Time Magazine has since been heralded as perhaps the most critical piece of wine writing ever composed. The setting was France, the judges were French, the results were a scandal, and the impact was as everlasting as it was profound. The true impact of these unlikely results, artfully termed “The Judgment of Paris” by Taber after the event that sparked the Trojan War, was that the myth of unparalleled French terroir and winemaking was shattered, and the reality that excellent wine can be made all around the globe began to come into focus. Warren Winiarski, winemaker of the winning Cabernet, pointed out that it was a victory for America and the world. To put it another way, the reason that South African Pinotage, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Argentine Malbec, and Lebanese Bordeaux blends are readily available on wine lists worldwide can be to a large extent traced to this singular occurrence in Paris nearly fifty years ago.



Many wine lovers are familiar with the story of Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay and their victory over the great white wines of Bourgogne, popularized further by the 2008 film Bottleshock starring Alan Rickman as Steven Spurrier who, it bears mention, threatened to sue over the way he was portrayed. But the Judgment of Paris was not just about the two winning wines. Rather, the Judgment of Paris was a statement about the quality of the previously unheralded Californian terroir and, by extension, the potential for the entire world to produce wines of the highest quality. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Chateau Montelena were joined by a litany of other small producers, each one hand-selected by Spurrier for the unquestionable excellence of their wines. Six producers from the Napa Valley were among the remaining wineries, including Heitz Wine Cellars, Clos Du Val Winery, Mayacamas Vineyards, Freemark Abbey Winery, Spring Mountain Vineyard, and Veedercrest Vineyards. Three additional wineries, Ridge Vineyards and David Bruce Winery from the Santa Cruz AVA and Chalone Vineyard, located in what today is known as the Chalone AVA, rounded out Spurrier’s selection of extraordinary Californian contenders. Since the time of the Judgment of Paris, many of these producers have gone on to do great things, further advancing the place of California’s AVAs in markets at home and abroad.

The very next year, Miljenko Grgich, winemaker of the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, opened his own Napa winery, Grgich Hills, and his first vintage of Chardonnay won a gold medal at the Orange County Fair. The year after that, in 1978, the Vintner’s Club in San Francisco held a replica tasting of identical wines and vintages, which Spurrier flew in to help supervise. The winning white wines of the ’78 tasting were, in order, Chalone Vineyards, Chateau Montelena, and Spring Mountain Vineyards. In 1978, the first French wine, the 1972 Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles Domaine Leflaive, came in fourth. Also in 1978, the red wines were tasted again, with even more dramatic results. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars maintained its position at the top, but Heitz Wine Cellars moved from ninth place to second, while Ridge Vineyards moved from fifth up to third. Again, the fourth-place wine was French: the

1970 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild which had come in second in Paris. What was so remarkable about the results of the Judgment of Paris and those tastings that followed was that there was no way to write them off. Indeed, French publications like Le Figaro and Le Monde attempted to do so, describing the results as “laughable” and insisting that they couldn’t be taken seriously, and yet time and again when French wines were put up against comparable American wines, more often than not they were bested. In 1979, three years after the Judgment of Paris, the restaurant guide Gault and Millau held what they termed the Olympiad du Vin, a global wine tasting of differing varietals from producers all around the world. This time, the top Chardonnay was a 1976 Trefethen from Napa’s Oak Knoll. At the time, the Trefethens had no idea their wine had even been entered in the competition, but years

Chateau Montelena 1973 Winning Chardonnay Photo by Susanna Blåvarg

Judgment of Paris Judges Photo by Bella Spurrier

L: Photo courtesy of Spring Mountain Vineyards R: Smith Madrone Riesling // Photo courtesy of Smith Madrone



later, Stephen Spurrier would confess to making the suggestion. The winning Riesling was made by Smith-Madrone on Spring Mountain. “It gave us some street cred,” said Stu Smith, who had founded the winery with his brother, Charlie. The Smith-Madrone Riesling remains to this day one of if not the single most highly regarded expressions of the varietal being produced in the Napa Valley, perhaps the entire world. Predictably, the results of the Gault and Millau tasting further provoked the ire of French wine officials and producers. Robert Drouhin of Maison Joseph Drouhin effectively demanded the winning wines next be put up against his own exquisite fermentations. Thus, a mere six months later, another blind tasting was held, and the ‘76 Trefethen again came in first, this time besting Drouhin’s 1976 Puligny

Jim and Bo Barrett in the cellar Photo courtesy of Chateau Montelena

Montrachet. To his credit, this prompted Drouhin to cease clinging to denial and to call Trefethen “The yardstick by which all other Chardonnays must be measured.” Within a decade, Robert Drouhin had purchased substantial holdings in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and established Domaine Drouhin. It didn’t matter how often the American wines were challenged, it seemed. They would rise to meet that challenge every time. Two tenth-anniversary tastings of the Judgment of Paris occurred in 1986, one hosted by the French Culinary Institute, the other by Wine Spectator. There was a theory circulating that French wines had superior age-ability, though this notion was quickly laid to rest. In the former tasting of the same wines from 1976, Clos du Val took first place, and Ridge took second, with French wines rounding out the top five.

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1973 Winning Vintage Photo Courtesy of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

The myth of unparalleled French terroir and winemaking was shattered, and the reality that excellent wine can be made all around the globe began to come into focus. American producers occupied the top five positions exclusively in the latter tasting, with Heitz, Mayacamas, and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars joining Clos du Val and Ridge. Around the same time, the 1985 Groth Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville was awarded 100 points by Robert Parker, the first hundred-pointer ever made in the United States. Nils Venge was winemaker at Groth, and Wine Advocate’s acknowledgment of this wine’s superior quality placed yet another exclamation point on the Napa Valley’s relatively newfound position of status in the world of wine. Venge, founder of Saddleback Cellars, came to be known as “The King of Cab.” In the end, however, it wasn’t about competition, it was about making extraordinary wine, and there was

no longer any denying that the Napa Valley—and many surrounding AVAs— have continued that proud tradition right up to the present. Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay regularly garner scores in the high 90’s from the likes of Wine Enthusiast and Antonio Galloni. Spring Mountain Vineyards produces Cabernet Sauvignon and a blend called Elivette, both of which regularly score in the high 90’s from Wine Spectator and has one of the most impressive lists of library wines available in Wine Country. Clos du Val continues to make phenomenal wines as well. Their Cabernet and Cabbased blends earn high scores from critics, including Antonio Galloni and Jeb Dunnuck. In the 2018 documentary, Somm III, Spurrier lightheartedly quipped that Napa might name a small street in his honor. Today, the road leading from the Silverado Trail to Clos du Val is, indeed, Steven Spurrier Lane. In 2006, in a thirtieth-anniversary tasting of the Judgment of Paris, it was Ridge who took first place, followed closely by Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Mayacamas, Heitz, and Clos du Val, respectively. Indeed, Californian wine proved that it has immense potential to be cellared—for the patient type. By the time the 30th anniversary of the Judgment of Paris arrived, the world of wine looked nothing like it did in the 1970s and before. The French continue to make excellent wine, of course, as do the Americans, but so do the Spanish, Italians, Australians, South Africans, Chileans, Argentinians, Israelis, Lebanese, Canadians, Mexicans, and many more. Like Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Napa Valley, each nation’s distinct regional terroir and the varietals that thrive within them come to define their wines. The zeitgeist of twenty-first-century viticulture is one in which wine is not only grown globally but also appreciated and consumed as such, further shrinking the planet and transporting consumers to different regions with every meal and with every sip of something new. That Chateau Montelena’s famous Chardonnay, one of the two wines that in 1976 inspired this renaissance, was crafted by a Croatian who was trained by a Russian who was in the employ of a Frenchman from grapes grown in America is but further evidence of the Napa Valley’s truly immeasurable impact on the entire world of wine. And so, like the wines that hail from within, the Napa Valley herself, it seems, will stand the test of time. SPRING 2022


Wine Regions Series






A Look at the Lay of Texas Wine Land  BY MELISSA VOGT

Photo courtesy of Grape Creek Vineyards

Photo courtesy of Grapecreek Vineyards



Photo courtesy of Kuhlman Cellars

Photo courtesy of Kuhlman Cellars

our better growers because they look at it with a scientific approach,” she furthered. At the forefront of Texas grape growing, farmers are coupling terroir with grape variety and planting in experimentation to determine which grape varieties thrive. And the ability to understand and combat the extreme weather challenges is paramount to success. “Texas is an extreme weather state. We have to deal with late freezes, hailstorms, and drought conditions on a regular basis,” said Jim Evans, owner and winemaker of Lost Oak Winery. But for many of the generational Texas farmers, their longstanding commitment to farming the land has given them the upper hand when it comes to growing grapes under such conditions.

Texas Terroir

Photo courtesy of Pedernales Cellars


f everything is bigger in Texas, then the Texas wine industry is no exception. From the vast number of grape varieties grown, to the eight AVAs that cover an expansive portion of land, to the gallant personalities of the grape growers and winemakers across the state, Texas wine is vast and here to stay.

A Quick History The Texas wine industry is not exactly new, though not exactly old. The state holds claim to the site of the first North American vineyard planted by Franciscan priests around 1662. Like other states, European settlers brought grapes with them and planted vineyards through the 1800s. But Prohibition ended grape production in Texas, and it wasn’t until the 1970s—much like other “newcomer” winegrowing states—that grape growing came back on the Texas radar.

Farming: Grapes and Otherwise “Our cousins Ed and Susan Auler, one of the first families of Texas wine, planted Fall Creek Vineyards back in the 1970s on the family ranch,” said Ron Yates, president and owner of Ron Yates Wines and Spicewood Vineyards. “We are about as connected to the history of Texas wine growing as you can be.” The Yates family has been ranching and farming in Texas for eight generations, and like them, many grape growers across the state have a longstanding history of working with Texas land. As an agricultural state, Texas is no stranger to varied growing conditions, the

labor of harvest, and the sale of crops. “A lot of our growers are also farming other products like soy, cotton, and lots of different row crops,” stated Roxanne Meyers, President of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association. “And some of those people are

Terroir is another factor that generational farmers understand. Across the state, there is a wide range of appellation sizes. Some are very small, such as Texoma and the Davis Mountains. “Texoma, on the borderline of Oklahoma, has lots of hills. We are seeing really good fruit come out of that area because it gets more arid and hillier as

The steady increase in Texas wine quality is garnering attention, and as the state continues to improve its viticulture and winemaking practices, its output and impact will continue to grow.



NVL beyond the valley

Texas Wineries to Watch Duchman Family Winery

13308 FM150 W, Driftwood, TX

Grape Creek Vineyards

Photo courtesy of Duchman Family Winery

Photo courtesy of Pedernales Cellars

you go into Oklahoma,” Meyers admitted. However, one of the logistical challenges of these smaller appellations is their remoteness, which makes it challenging to truck grapes to winemaking facilities in more populated parts of the state. Two of the larger and more recognizable AVAs in Texas are Hill Country and High Plains, and these two appellations are garnering the most attention for their terroir and nicely crafted wines. In Hill Country, an area whose vineyards and reputation are quickly growing, the land is comprised of granitic soils. In the High Plains, which has the most vines in the ground by far, the soils are primarily sandy loam and limestone. These regions are proving viable for several grape varieties such Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Montepulciano, and Aglianico. But Tempranillo has been the most consistent and is quickly showing itself as one of Texas’s brightest and most promising varietals. When it comes to white wines, more obscure varieties like Picpoul Blanc and Albariño fit the bill—and like the reds, prove that Texas grape growers are not afraid to veer away from more well-known varietals like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc just for the sake of recognition. “Early enthusiasm for the grapes that established 52


California as a world-class growing region has been largely replaced by the realization that Texas is very unlike California, and hence should develop its own oenological voice, and is doing so,” said Julie Kuhlken, co-founder and chief marketing and hospitality officer of Pedernales Cellars. Texas grape growers are seeking the best varietals for their terroir, which truly speaks to Texas’s burgeoning temperament as a viable winegrowing region.

Growth and Development The Texas wine industry has looked to outof-state consultants to help with some of the logistical challenges of making wine in their great state. Wineries are hiring experienced and educated viticulturists to help them adapt to some of the more significant weather challenges, and consulting winemakers are helping to push the envelope of quality. However, Meyers admits that the state still has progress to make. “I think it is a critical time to focus on those varieties that are doing well and capitalize on those,” she said. “I have been in the industry now for 15 years, and I have seen a fabulous evolution in quality. It’s night and day from where we were 15 years ago.” The steady increase in Texas wine quality is garnering attention, and as the state continues to improve its viticulture and winemaking practices, its output and impact will continue to grow. Many grape growers finally feel like they “have the right grapes in the ground,” stated Yates, and that is precisely where Texas winegrowers and winemakers need to be.

10587 East US Highway 290 Fredericksburg, TX The Elitist blend of Petite Sirah and Aglianico brings together two powerhouse grapes in one robust wine. Cocoa, blue and black fruit, and medium body give this wine a pleasantly broodier edge than some of its Tempranillo counterparts.

Kuhlman Cellars 18421 E, US-290 Stonewall, TX

Lost Oak Winery 8101 County Rd. 802 Burleson, TX

Pedernales Cellars 2916 Upper Albert Rd. Stonewall, TX Tempranillo from this estate is classic in its style—bright with tart red fruit and nicely crafted.

Reddy Vineyards 2149 Tahoka Rd., US-380 Brownfield, TX The TNT is a blend of mostly Tempranillo with Touriga Nacional and has lots of spice and dark fruit. This wine is well made and would lend itself well to a variety of foods.

Ron Yates Wines 6676 Hwy 290 W, Hye, TX The Amalgamation red blend (Cabernet, Merlot, and Tempranillo) is a trio of varietals that works. It’s got good body and pleasant acidity, with flavors of red cherry and vanilla.

Spicewood Vineyards 1419 Co Rd. 409, Spicewood, TX

Sangiovese N A PA VA L L E Y

Small Parcels Yield Rare Gems



apa Valley is synonymous with Cabernet Sauvignon, so why do producers craft wines from varietals that seem “out of place” for the region? Although Napa Valley has hung its hat—for good reason—on Cabernet, the region’s diverse terroir is what allows for the wide range of varietals that successfully grow in the right microclimates. Add that to passion and talent, and a great viticulturist can team up with an experienced winemaker to turn a non-Cabernet varietal into a truly fantastic Napa Valley wine. Enter Sangiovese. This thin-skinned grape variety can be tricky to grow, but select Napa Valley producers have mastered the art of crafting this finicky grape into spectacular wine. It’s a grape that grows prolifically in fertile soils, which is why Napa producers need to be careful about where they plant it. “We have learned a great deal over the last 35 years of having Sangiovese planted on the Antica estate,” said Glenn Salva, wine estate manager of Antica Napa Valley. “Even within Tuscany, Sangiovese is not grown in all areas.” Sangiovese is native to the Tuscan region in Italy, where it’s made in many styles, including light and bright with fresh acidity to darker and more complex with the ability to age. In its lightest and most foodfriendly expression, Tuscan Sangiovese is offered as

Photo above courtesy of Castello di Amoroso

a table wine at every meal. In historically classified and recognized regions such as Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino, Sangiovese takes on more clout. As Chianti, Sangiovese still retains its light and bright style and is a go-to wine for everyday enjoyment. As Brunello di Montalcino, price, quality, complexity, and acquisition rise significantly—Sangiovese reaches the pinnacle of quality and recognition as Brunello. Because the wines are required to be aged for at least two years in barrel and then aged in bottle for a minimum of four months before release, their style is wholly different from other expressions of Sangiovese. Napa Valley producers have followed suit, crafting a range of Sangiovese. For Salva and his team at Antica Napa Valley, they are no strangers to the diversity of Sangiovese. Owned by the Italian Antinoris, Antica Napa Valley is the family’s only vineyard holding outside of Italy—and while it’s mostly planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, the family is passionate about its small plot of Sangiovese. The estate’s name, a literal blend of Antinori and California, is a representation of their Italian heritage combined with their desire to produce world-class California wine as a complement to their reputable Italian portfolio.



NVL wine

Aldo and Christina (Nonna) Biale Photo courtesy of Robert Biale Vineyards

It was 1986 when Piero Antinori first planted Sangiovese vines at the Antica estate. He wanted to “see how his historic Tuscan variety would grow in Napa Valley,” stated Salva. And although the grape proved sensitive, the family’s discipline and talent have yielded a remarkable version of this Italian grape. “The small amount of Sangiovese grown on the Antica estate has made us better viticulturists and winemakers. When these skills are properly applied, the resulting wine is delicious, offering Sangiovese typicity,” Salva said. // Other Napa Valley estates have managed to grow Sangiovese with classic characteristics as well, such as Castello di Amorosa with their 2018 Voyager Vineyard Sangiovese. It’s a Sangiovese that’s wholly correct in varietal style with fresh red cherry and dried strawberry on the nose, bright red fruit, energetic acidity, and a gentle tannic structure on the palate. “With Sangiovese being one of the classic Italian wine grapes from Tuscany, it was natural for Dario to grow this variety,” said Castello di Amorosa winemaker Peter Velleno, “and he was not afraid to use his prized Napa Valley estate to do so.” Velleno agrees that the diversity of soils and microclimates in Napa Valley are what allow for the “perfect combination of conditions to match just about any variety,” he said. // Italian heritage, passion for the varietal, and faith in Napa’s terroir are the threads that tie together Sangiovese producers across the Valley. Bob Biale, Founder of Robert Biale Vineyards, admits: “My father, Aldo, and Nonna, Cristina, loved Sangiovese and enjoyed it with dinner.” Their 2020 Nonna’s Sangiovese is an Oak Knoll appellation wine and a member’s only offering. Made from exactly one acre of Sangiovese that the family planted in 1995, this Sangiovese 54


601 Cellars Vintner Brian Doody making a vineyard visit

is undoubtedly one of the most limitedproduction expressions you can find. “I think many people are attracted to well-made, rare gems that are not commonly grown in Napa Valley,” said Biale, and he’s got a point. Those looking for unique and exclusive wines like this are apt to sign up for the wine club. // Another family-owned winery whose core portfolio is small-lot Sangiovese is 601 Cellars. Brian Doody is the proprietor and winemaker, and he and his co-proprietor wife, Laura Larson, seek out exclusive vineyards for their wine production. “Since we are a very small producer, we have the luxury of being able to source our grapes from some of Napa’s premier vineyards,” stated Doody. Named after their elopement in Italy in June 2001 (601) combined with their passion for Old World style wines, the duo focuses strictly on Sangiovese and Grenache production, for which they have received Best in Class industry accolades and multiple gold medals. “Napa has become oversaturated with big Cabs at escalating prices, so we’re targeting a

Nat & John Komes of Flora Springs Photo by Celia Carey

more approachable and adventurous niche of wine lovers who, like us, want to get off the grid and try something different. We see no reason to feel guilty about opening a fantastic bottle of Napa Valley wine with a pizza on Tuesday night,” said Doody. Their 2018 Sangiovese Reserve from Napa Valley expresses a spicy plum and red cherry-filled palate with fresh acidity, hailing to an elegantly balanced expression of a Chianti Classico. For their Cabernet-loving fans, they produce a bolder-style Napa Valley Sangiovese Super Tuscan blend (80% Sangiovese, 12% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon). They also produce a lighter style Sangiovese from the Sierra Foothills. // At Flora Springs Winery, General Manager Nat Komes admits that they have “found the southern part of the valley to be a good area for Sangiovese.” Komes stands by the cool breezes in southern Napa Valley blowing up from the San Pablo Bay as one of the main factors for helping their Sangiovese retain the quintessential acidity for which the grape is known. Much like Laura and Brian from 601 Cellars, Komes’ family has a “fell in love” with Sangiovese memory from a trip to Tuscany. “Our Napa Valley Sangiovese stands out primarily because it is becoming so rare,” Komes stated. The estate’s 2019 Sangiovese is a member’s only wine packed with cherry, pomegranate, and red plum— it’s well worth signing up to get your hands on this bottle. // Whether it’s an Italian heritage, a serious affinity for Sangiovese, or a trip to Italy that served as inspiration, local producers are crafting beautiful expressions of Sangiovese right here in Napa Valley. As for the growers and vintners who produce these rare gems from the remaining small vineyard parcels, they all seem to share the same passion and purpose: to hold tight and make truly enjoyable wines in a region that’s ripe for varietal diversity.

Cuvaison Estate Vineyard



Viva l’Italia!

Immigrants to the Napa Valley include a large number of Italians who arrived in Napa Valley as early as the mid-to-late 19th century. Along with their family heritage came traditional family recipes, some of which remain on menus today. Whether they be old-world style regional dishes or Italian-inspired creations with a Napa Valley twist, many feature farmto-table ingredients with all-star wine lists showcasing local vintners. Here is a list of some of Napa’s best, each of which has ranked as a fan favorite in Napa Valley Life Magazine’s Best of Napa Valley Readers Choice Awards. BISTRO DON GIOVANNI Winner: Best Italian Restaurant - NVL 2022 Best of Napa Valley Readers Choice Awards

• N A PA V A L L E Y ’ S •



Carpaccio at Bistro Don Giovanni // Photo by Elizabeth Smith

For over 25 years, Bistro Don Giovanni has been one of Napa Valley’s most treasured Italian restaurants. Fondly dubbed “Don G’s” by Napa locals, the bistro serves homestyle, house-made Italian cuisine in its casual indoor and outdoor venue just north of the city of Napa. Customer favorites include carpaccio, Mamma Concetta’s meatballs, grilled octopus salad, short rib ravioli, gnocchetti (lamb ragu and truffle pecorino), pollo alla diavola with broccoli di Ciccio, and prosciutto di Parma and margherita pizzas. Indulgent desserts like tiramisu, bostini trifle (vanilla custard, chocolate cake whipped cream, clear caramel, and toasted almonds), gelato, sorbetto, and tiramisu complete the meal. Although not an Italian dessert, Don G’s is known for its signature top-shelf butterscotch pudding made with dark muscovado sugar, The Macallan 10Year-Old Scotch, and topped with whipped cream and chocolate. The restaurant offers various old- and new-world wines and beers, plus creative Italian cocktails like the Firenze spritz and blood orange negroni. //

BOTTEGA NAPA VALLEY Bottega Napa Valley in Yountville, a Michael Chiarello restaurant, is a visitor and a local gem. It is Chiarello’s nod to his southern Italian roots, offering a menu of what he describes as “an integration of seasonal, global flavors and sustainable living.” Popular dishes include Insalatina di Cavoletti di Bruxelles (shaved Brussels sprouts with whole Meyer lemon dressing, Marcona almonds, sieved egg, and Pecorino Romano), Tagliarini Bolognese al Centro (winter wheat pasta with tomato braised pork belly, finished with red wine and topped with Calabrian gremolata and Chianti-soaked Pecorino), Rigatoni al Coniglio (balsamic-marinated rabbit and caramelized mushrooms with pancetta and house-made ricotta), and Costolette di Manzo (smoked and braised short rib in espresso agro-dolce and creamy ancient grain polenta with Calabrian pepperonata). Bottega’s innovative wine list changes frequently. “It is a base of the classics, a dash of impossible-to-finds, a sprinkling of rising-star newcomers, and a handful of newer varietals quickly making their way onto the scene,” said Chiarello. //

Pizzeria Tra Vigne Photo by Bob McClenahan

Contorni Photo courtesy of Foodshed Takeaway

FOODSHED TAKE AWAY Foodshed Take Away is the partnership of Napa natives and high school classmates Giovanni Guerrera and Sean Pramuk. While living and working in Rome, Italy, Guerrera conceived the idea of a community restaurant and teaching kitchen that incorporates Napa Valley agriculture and the area’s best natural resource, its people. Napa locals know Foodshed for its Roman-style street food pizza, whose dough goes through a 48-hour fermentation process to create a unique crunchy and chewy sourdough crust. Not to be missed is the burrata cheese pizza with tomato, olive oil, and oregano or the pepperoni pizza with tomato, fresh mozzarella, roasted fennel, and red onion. Foodshed also offers a variety of Italianstyle dishes like minestrone soup, tascas (sandwiches with house-made bread) and plates (ala carte without bread), contorni (eight-ounce sides), and desserts like polenta almond cake, brutti ma buoni, and tiramisu. Weekly specials include a farro salad, lamb sausage pizza, and cannellini bean soup. In addition, Foodshed offers family-style dinners to go, catering, and a wine bar and bottle shop with over 100 wines. //

Photo courtesy of Il Posto

IL POSTO TRATTORIA Justin Graffigna always dreamed of owning his own Italian restaurant serving the food he grew up eating as a child. Il Posto Trattoria in north Napa is the realization of his dream. Il Posto – the place – is where Napa locals celebrate family, friends, food, and life. The restaurant serves rustic, oldschool comfort food, like arancini, olive fritte (fried castelvetrano olives stuffed with Italian sausage), cioppino, rigatoni and meatballs, orecchiette (little ears – Italian sausage with red cabbage, cauliflower, Calabrian chiles, and fontina cheese), and tagliatelle with Papa (meat-based) sauce. “My kids call me Papa,” shared Graffigna. “When I made this for them as children, this what they called it.” His recipe originated

Whether they be oldworld style regional dishes or Italian-inspired creations with a Napa Valley twist, many feature farm-to-table ingredients with all-star wine lists showcasing local vintners. with his grandparents. They made it with affordable ingredients available to them. As food sources improved in quality, the recipe evolved into what Il Posto serves today, an addictive, premium meat sauce. Il Posto also makes its own gluten-free pasta daily and will adjust menu items to SPRING 2022


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Olive & Hay Photo by Bob McClenahan

Pizzeria Tra Vigne Photo by Bob McClenahan

accommodate other dietary requests. “You feel like you are in your own kitchen when you are eating here,” said Graffigna. //

OLIVE & HAY Olive & Hay in the Meritage Resort is one of Napa Valley’s newest additions. The restaurant’s ambience is casual yet refined, and the menu is a juxtaposition of rustic and modern. Executive chef Jose Mejia and his team, including maître d’hôtel Mounir Fahmy, create farm-to-table experiences using ingredients from their own gardens and local producers within a 20-mile radius, accompanied by an award-winning wine list. A few favorites include The Big Italian salad – Mejia’s rendition of an antipasto salad with garden fare, local charcuterie, and house-made Italian dressing – and the Linguini a Frutti di Mare made with scallops, mussels, clams, prawns, and white wine butter. One of the most popular winter dishes is the Veal Ossobuco – sausagestuffed, braised veal served with creamy 58


Photo courtesy of Il Posto

saffron risotto and roasted bone marrow caramelized with cippolini jam and topped with bright gremolata. In the spring, diners will enjoy Veal Milanese, a breaded and fried veal tenderloin topped with bright veal jus, lemon, capers, and cornichons. Olive & Hay’s goal is to provide a memorable meal that diners will recall years later. “Our menu showcases the journey of each ingredient, fusing homemade and homegrown, modern and classic, innovative and traditional Italian cuisine,” said Mejia. “We take a creative approach to classic Italian dishes using ingredients when they are at their peak.” Olive & Hay also eagerly accommodates special diets. //

PIZZERIA TRA VIGNE Winner: Best Pizza — NVL 2022 Best of Napa Valley Readers Choice Awards Under the helm of original owner Bill Upson, Chef Anthony “Nash” Cognetti,

and managing partner Cynthia Ariosta, Pizzeria Tra Vigne – or The Pizzeria – as the locals call it, has endured economic downturns, natural disasters, and the pandemic during the past 30 years. It is St. Helena’s gathering place for locals and visitors to enjoy favorites like spaghetti and meatballs, minestrone soup, Caesar salad, and various classic and innovative pizzas (pepperoni, Positano, La Bamba, Romano), whose base is three-day-fermented, crispy-chewy sourdough crust. Tra Vigne is also home to the Original Mozzarella al Minuto, made-to-order, “gooey and warm” mozzarella on garlicrubbed grilled bruschetta, drenched in Napa Valley Olive Oil, and topped with cracked black pepper and sea salt. Popular – and rarely found elsewhere – are Tra Vigne’s Piadine. “Bridging the gap between healthy and decadent, our Piadine offer the best of both worlds – our crust is topped with one of our salads (Caesar, Caprese, Insalata di Pollo),” said Ariosta. Seasonal dishes include woodfired asparagus and their Mercato and Sonoma fig pizzas. Gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options are also available. “We are currently working with the Blue Zones Project to add more healthy options in hopes of being one of the first restaurants in the Upper Valley to achieve Blue Zones Project certification,” shared Ariosta. //

RISTORANTE ALLEGRIA Ristorante Allegria is another favorite. Located in downtown Napa on lively First Street, it describes itself as “northern Italian influenced with California cuisine.” The restaurant is built inside a historic landmark, an old bank building built in 1916, whose most breathtaking feature is its 35-foot ceilings. Allegria has several dining areas, including the bar, the main room, “The Vault,” the Bella and Chardonnay rooms upstairs, and the spacious outdoor patio. The restaurant offers a variety of dishes, from appetizers to desserts, including beloved favorites like calamari fritti, burrata, wild mushroom ravioli, rigatoni con salsiccia (sausage), salmone alla griglia (grilled salmon with polenta), and tiramisu. Specials include soup, salad, and a fish of the day. Allegria also has an extensive list of Napa, Sonoma, and Italian wines, and a full cocktail bar. The recommended attire is “casual elegance.” //

Experience the fusing of homemade and homegrown, modern and classic, and innovative and traditional Italian cuisine. You are free to focus on what matters most: cuisine prepared by chefs honoring past generations, the al-fresco dining experience, and an award-winning wine list - all served by a staff with the singular goal of giving you a meal to remember for years to come.




by Jose Mejia & Rachel Medeiros

6 to 8 1/2 cup 1 piece 1/2 tsp 1/4 tsp Drizzle Pinch 2 to 3 slices


Cut lemons in half and juice. Juice enough lemons to yield 1 1/4 cups juice, removing any seeds.


Chop juiced lemons halves into chunks and place in food processor. Process until pieces are about 1/4 inch. Measure 2/3 cup of lemon pieces. Save remaining lemon pieces for another use.


Place lemon pieces in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn off heat, strain the pulp, and discard water. Repeat this process 4 more times (5 in total).


Combine juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add processed lemons and continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Once a golden color and syrupy consistency is achieved then transfer jam to container and allow to cool uncovered. Process cooled jam in food processor.


Drizzle bread with olive oil and toast on grill until golden brown on both sides.


Place burrata in the middle plate and gently spread 1/4 cup lemon jam over the top. Cut bread and place around burrata.


Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds and chives and finish with fleur de sel.

Meyer Lemons

(stem ends removed)

Granulated Sugar Burrata Toasted Sesame Seeds Chives O&H Olive Oil Fleur de Sel Levain Bread

Reservations are encouraged: (707) 251-3090 or | 875 Bordeaux Way, Napa, CA |



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T H E C I A AT C O P I A :



n the heart of downtown Napa is The Culinary Institute of America’s food and culture center—The CIA at Copia— playing host to various events, festivals, industry conferences, culinary classes, boot camps, and of course, restaurants, pop-ups, and unique dining experiences. Although it’s located next door to the popular Oxbow Market, it is still considered a hidden gem. However, the secret is out now, as is their mantra, which is suitably, Feed Your Joy.™ One of the first things any visitor to The CIA at Copia notices is the chef’s garden. It was developed by Executive Chef Sayat Ozyilmaz, in partnership with culinary gardener Zainab “Zee” Husain, to support the onsite signature restaurant, The Grove, and the to-go Lunch Box. Home to an abundance of seasonal vegetables, citrus and olive trees, it’s the true heart of Copia. This is a full production garden where guests can casually stroll among rows of pea shoots, colorful kales, pumpkins, and more in this space designed to grow varieties of produce not readily found in California. 60


The garden’s bounty flourishes on the menu at The Grove, where guests enjoy Chef Ozyilmaz’s seasonal dishes showcasing the bold flavors of the Mediterranean with a California twist paired with a curated selection of wines from innovative regional producers and cocktails inspired by the garden. The Grove is open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday and brunch on the weekends. New this year are the Sunday Night Suppers, featuring a rotating prix fixe family-style menu destined to be an end-of-week (or start-of-week) Napa tradition. A visit to Copia isn’t complete without taking a few moments to explore Marketplace. The curated culinary retail space has everything a host needs for cooking and entertaining in a wellequipped kitchen, including expert knife sharpening service. Select from professional cookware to local dishware, culinary antiques to cookbooks, garden tools, spices, and artisan seasonings (many of which are house made from the

Copia garden by Chef Ozyilmaz) to take home some of the magic of Napa Valley and the Culinary Institute of America. And of course, at the CIA, a hallmark of the Copia experience is education. Hands-on cooking classes and wine courses are taught in the stadium-style kitchen for foodies of all skill levels. Food Enthusiast Classes led by expert CIA instructors celebrate a variety of cuisines and cultures and create opportunities for new food discovery. Classes range from single-day sessions and multi-day boot camps to chef demonstrations and holiday courses. Private sessions and corporate programs can also be arranged. More experiences are planned to welcome guests at The CIA at Copia. Soon, the highly anticipated return of 3D dining featuring Le Petit Chef™ will offer a unique interactive digital dining journey along Marco Polo’s Silk Road and a yet-tobe-announced new movie premiere. FOR MORE INFORMATION


A Chinese Experience with a Napa Twist  BY ELIZABETH SMITH | PHOTOS BY BOB MCCLENAHAN


n December 2020, under the leadership of restauranteur Margaret Wong, executive chef Peter Huang, and director of operations, Thomas Megna, Empress M opened its doors to bring “an immersive experience of China’s regional cuisines, teas, spirits, and beers, but with a Napa twist.” The restaurant is a favorite destination for local foodies, national and international guests, and the region’s Chinese-American population. Wong and other tenacious women in Chinese history, like Empress Wu ZeTian, inspire the concept and the name, Empress M. Award-winning executive chef Peter Huang, founder of Yue Huang Dim Sum Restaurant in Sacramento, leads the culinary team of Asian chefs.

Director of Operations Thomas Megna, who lived in China for six years, brings an extensive creative background as a culinary specialist, art designer, director, producer, and teacher. Empress M is located in the city of Napa on the iconic Silverado Trail. The restaurant showcases an incomparable fusion of authentic Chinese flavors, art, culture, history, and music. It describes itself as a “feast for all senses.” The ambience at Empress M – which includes its beautifully designed indoor dining rooms and spacious outdoor courtyard – is authentic, elevated, and approachable, with a plethora of opportunities to enjoy world-class Chinese cuisine and Napa Valley’s vibrant social life.

Since its opening, Empress M has expanded its offerings to include a variety of culinary delights and opportunities for community engagement and enjoyment. New to Empress M is its Sunday Chef’s Tasting Menu, which includes an eight-course meal in the VIP Room. The restaurant recently launched its own private-label Empress Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, Napa Valley, joining another one of their own wines on the menu, Castrucci Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a customer favorite. It has also changed its wine list and added new cocktails. In addition, Empress M offers prix fixe lunch and dinner specials Monday through Thursday. Napa Valley community leader, Dorothy Salmon, calls the restaurant’s lunch “the best deal in town.” The restaurant’s bar program is an exciting way to cap off the day, with DJ and patio dancing on Mondays, 10% off Takeout Tuesday and industry professionals, Wednesday Karaoke, Thirsty Thursday, Friday live music, and Saturday and Sunday Sports Weekend on the restaurant’s big-screen television. Happy hour is daily from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Customer favorite dishes are the Peking Roast Duck, Chinese Broccoli with Vegetarian “Oyster” Sauce, Beef Chow Fun, Dan Dan Noodle, Emperor Baked Sea Bass, Sichuan Spicy Fish, and all of the dim sum. Empress M is the only restaurant in Napa to offer dim sum all day. The staff especially enjoy the Sautéed String Beans, Chengdu Eggplant, Thin Rice Noodles in Clay Pot, and Xi’an Short Ribs. Desserts include Sesame Balls, Egg Custard Tarts, and Banana Cream Pie. In addition, Empress M has gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options. Empress M is open daily from 12:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. From spring until fall, Friday and Saturday hours will be extended until 11:00 p.m. “Late night at Empress M” will offer Chinese street food, barbecue, live music, and dancing. FOR MORE INFORMATION SPRING 2022


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Allison Hallum with Eiko's chefs


ne of downtown Napa’s most popular restaurants, Eiko’s Modern Japanese Cuisine, would not be the success it is today without its longtime culinary team – executive chef Tateki Noma, lead sushi chefs Arnold Romero, Jose Sanchez, and Heriberto Orozco; sushi chef Angel Ramirez; and lead line cooks David Hernandez, Victor Sanchez, and David Gonzales. Sanchez and Hernandez have worked at Eiko’s for 11 years. Together with general manager Darren Orr, bar manager Kayla Gurrola, and familiar faces like Rhonda, Ivan, Dougie, Phoebe, and Christian, restaurateur Allison Hallum has assembled a dream team. “Our team is the backbone of our business, and the consistency and quality are all because of them. We are created for locals by locals. When you walk into Eiko’s, you feel like family,” said Hallum. This sense of belonging and community among both the staff and guests inspires Hallum and her team as Eiko’s enters its twelfth year in business. Napa Valley Life Magazine readers repeatedly honor the restaurant as one of the area’s best Asian, sushi, 62


and seafood restaurants in its Annual Best of Napa Valley Readers’ Choice Awards. There is no better way to celebrate Eiko’s than with its locals’ happy hour from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. It is the place to be at the end of a workday, either seated inside at the bustling bar or outside in the extended patio section enjoying the mild weather and the vibrant energy of downtown Napa. With upbeat music playing in the background, happy hour goers – mostly locals – enjoy beer, wine, sake, and well drink specials paired with creative appetizers. Favorites include the sushi rolls (avocado, veggie, California, Poki, Sanchez, and spicy tuna), tempura green bean fries, tempura shishito peppers, 15-spice crispy spare ribs with hoisin barbecue sauce, tacos Japonais, fried gyoza (pork or shrimp dumplings), and the Miyagi oysters. One must also try the spicy and savory Hamachi jalapeño sashimi with an off-dry sparkling wine like Prosecco. Chef Tateki updates specials seasonally, but favorites like the ribs and signature rolls will remain. The staff’s favorite on the lunch and dinner menu is the Tsunami roll with its

fried scallops topped with seared jalapeños and “a spicy aioli that makes you want to lick the plate,” shared Hallum. Popular among guests are the Hawaiian poke bowls and lunch Bento Boxes. Another not-to-bemissed menu item is the Seared Royal Sweet Scallops entrée prepared with lemongrassinfused oil, accompanied by ginger-cured green beans and shitake mushrooms, then smothered with coconut lemongrass sauce. An ideal wine pairing is one of Eiko’s Sauvignon Blanc selections or sake. Some may believe it is a challenge to adjust Japanese cuisine to special diets like gluten-free, keto, or vegan, but at Eiko’s, there is something for everyone. “We can accommodate the pickiest of eaters, the littlest of eaters, and everything in between. We want everyone to have a wonderful experience,” confirmed Hallum. Eiko’s is open for indoor and outdoor dining daily from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. with carryout available. FOR MORE INFORMATION

DIRTY GIRL DONUTS Maple Bacon and Girl Scout Cookies Photos courtesy of Dirty Girl Donuts



hen asked for the most popular donut flavor, Marisa Wondolleck immediately exclaimed, “Maple bacon!” The choice could not have been easy. Marisa’s “Dirty Girl Donuts” displays an incredible selection of flavors that rotate monthly with the seasons and holidays. From caramel apple to rose water hearts, this one-woman band has made her small business happen despite natural disasters, global pandemics, and the fact that she started the venture only five years ago, in her early twenties. Born and raised in Sonoma County, Marisa is the founder and owner of this little bakery that could. She attended pastry school in Santa Rosa, then worked for bakeries in northern California, focusing on catering weddings until she decided to open her shop in Cobb, Lake County. To supplement her wedding catering income, she introduced custom donuts and found her culinary and artistic calling. Her signature fluffy dough, innovative flavors, and intricate decorations made her donut shop an instant success.

Then began a series of unfortunate events that tested her mettle. After wildfires forced her neighbors and customers to leave her bakery’s northern California community, the shop was forced to close. Luckily, Sonoma’s Best Hospitality Group, a real estate group that owns Cornerstone, Sonoma Depot, and Cheese Factory, invited Dirty Girl Donuts to open a shop in Sonoma with their backing. “I was ready to sell the business and hang up my baker’s cap before they asked me to partner with them,” Marisa admitted. In March 2021, she opened Dirty Girl Donuts just off Sonoma’s Square. Within two weeks, Covid-19 was upon us. Like so many, she improvised. She operated from a mobile cart outside the business when restrictions kept her shop immobilized. Dirty Girl Donuts’ online ordering and pick-up option soared. And all the while, she continued innovating and adding more unique and delicious items to her menu, for which Dirty Girl Donuts has become known. In March, she aids the Girl Scouts by buying up their stock for her creations: Thin Mint, Lemon Shortbread, Samoas,

and Smores donuts are offered in honor of the annual fundraising event. In May, she turns to flavors like honey, lavender, and rose, and in June’s fruit season, she incorporates tastes of watermelon, strawberry, and other in-season fruits. Beyond the fantastic flavor offerings, the donuts are beautiful visual art pieces. They are a treat for the eyes as well as the senses. These days, Marisa’s main struggle is finding staff to help her in the business— a problem confronting the entire service industry. “Some people aren’t looking for careers anymore; they want to stay home and make TikToks,” Marisa joked. She has raised Dirty Girl Donut’s hourly rate well above the minimum to attract candidates with her mentality: entrepreneurs wanting to learn the business and grow with it or, like her, maximize the experience to become tenacious small business owners themselves someday. FOR MORE INFORMATION



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“In Raised Beds” EQUIPMENT NEEDED • Whisk • Measuring cup and spoons • Cutting Knife

• Cooking scissors for the Radicchio bowl • Bamboo drawer organizer boxes (3” x 9”)

CRUDITÉS A selection of four raw vegetables, garden-fresh or store-bought, such as: • Radishes with the top leaves

• Cherry and/or pear tomatoes, cut in half

• Green beans

• Cucumbers, peeled and quartered

• Carrots with tops • Broccoli crowns

Cooking with

KAREN CROUSE Crudités is a fancy word for raw vegetables and are a beautiful and healthy accompaniment to just about any meal.


love my garden. I take every opportunity to gather the first vegetables that emerge, then find an out-of-the-box way to present their rainbow of colors to my guests. This recipe puts them in-the-box and only requires assembly. Instead of a platter, I put them in the bamboo boxes used for organizing drawers to make them look like little raised garden beds. I also found mini gardening tools in the dollar bin at Target and put them on and around the ‘raised beds.’ They added to the garden theme and doubled as serving utensils. My crudites were a hit, and everyone ate their veggies that day.

• Celery peeled and cut into sticks

BUTTERMILK RANCH DRESSING INGREDIENTS: • 1 medium-size head of Radicchio

• 1 ½ tsp dried dill (3/4 teaspoon if fresh)

• ¼ cup good quality mayonnaise

• ¼ cup finely chopped chives

• 2 garlic cloves, minced

• 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

• ¾ tsp salt

• ½ cup sour cream

• ¼ tsp pepper

• ½ cup buttermilk

PREPARATION: Using a whisk, combine all ingredients. Taste and add additional lemon juice, chives, and/or salt to taste. NOTES: • If you are not serving the dressing right away, I suggest you add the garlic the day of since it becomes more intense and can be overpowering. • The dressing can be made ahead of time and will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container.

TIP: For a more colorful presentation use heirloom carrots and cut them in half lengthwise to showcase the different colors on the insides. PRESENTATION FOR THE ‘RAISED BEDS’ Stack the vegetables in their individual bamboo boxes. For a fresh-from-the-garden look, I prefer to keep the leaves on the carrots and radishes.

Photo by Karen Crouse FOR MORE INFORMATION 64


For The Radicchio Bowl cut the bottom of the head of Radicchio flat. Using a knife, core out most of the center leaves, making the ‘bowl’ as deep as you can. Use the kitchen scissors to snip the remaining leaves and refine the sides…think Edward Scissorhands. Just before serving, pour in the buttermilk dressing. Stagger the boxed vegetables on your table or counter and place the Radicchio bowl within reach.

AMERICAN MADE KNIFE ART The perfect balance of power and grace.

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Santa Cruz County “This Is How We Cruz!”  BY LAURIE JO MILLER FARR

Wine Tasting at Nicholson Vineyard Photo by Michele Magdalena courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz County



Downtown Santa Cruz at Night - Pacific Avenue Photo by Paul Schraub courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz County

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Photo by Jenn Day courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz County


Every Californian appreciates the incredible diversity of the Golden State, a feature that’s especially easy on the eye along its stunning coastline. Underscore that natural beauty by taking a shore-hugging drive from Napa to Santa Cruz — home to 300 days of sunshine, 29 miles of beaches, and the birthplace of surfing on the U.S. mainland. Against the quintessential beach town backdrop of white spray and wetsuits, there’s much more to the Santa Cruz County story, including distinctive wine, towering redwoods, and the pretty pastel-painted seaside village of Capitola.

Along West Cliff Drive, villas on the bluffs with enviable ocean views line the way to Steamer Lane. Head to the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse, home to the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum. Have a look inside for its compelling display on the evolution of the sport. On the lawn overlooking the famous surf break that attracts experienced surfers, a bronze plaque tells the story of three Hawaiian princes who introduced surfing to Santa Cruz using hand-carved surfboards made from local redwood trees in 1885. It’s startling that a 20-minute drive separates ocean waves from a majestic old-growth redwood forest, but that reality defines Santa Cruz County. Embrace the local outdoor culture by taking a picnic to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park; to find a picturesque spot, just follow the Redwood Grove Loop Trail on a leisurely three-quarter-mile hike. For something completely different, visit Annieglass Studios and retail shop in Watsonville. Known for its quality and unique designs, two Annieglass pieces are on permanent display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. Reserve ahead for Pour & Tour, a wine bar and Craftbar for an introduction to the handcrafted pieces produced onsite and embellished by several highly skilled artisans. //


Lighthouse Point and Its Beach Photo by Skip Kuebel courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz County

Jack O'Neill Lounge at sunrise Photo courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz County and the Santa Cruz Dream Inn

Vineyard at Lester Estates Photo courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz County and Lester Estates

“America’s Premier Mountain Appellation” is one of California’s oldest wine regions, dating back to the 1870s when Paul Masson and Charles Lefranc planted their precious Burgundy cuttings. Here, in the large Santa Cruz Mountain AVA that spans three counties, wineries tend to be small, family-owned-and-operated, no-nonsense affairs tucked into rugged landscapes. Seventy wineries farm 1,300 acres of vineyards, evenly divided among Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and other varietals, notably Merlot and Zinfandel. One of the most picturesque is Lester Estate Wines at Deer Park Ranch in Aptos. It’s a sprawling 210-acre site about three miles from Monterey Bay. Among rolling hills, pastures, and redwood groves, 15 acres are dedicated to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines planted in 1998 by Dan and Pat Lester. Production is small, so guests who reserve for the Tasting Barn or an outdoor wine tasting on a Saturday afternoon are indeed fortunate. // Outdoor Bathtub at Bardessono



NVL side trip

fireplaces, known as one of the nation’s most romantic dining spots since 1947. // Several restaurants also worth a look are Bittersweet Bistro, La Posta (from Soif proprietor Patrice Boyle), Sanderlings at the Seascape Beach Resort, and Avanti. Alderwood and Mentone (from David Kinch of Manresa) were recently “tagged” in a new category by Michelin, indicating that the inspectors may see star potential. Drinks and a tasty meal with a seaside view are always a good idea. Onsite at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn and adjacent to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the Jack O’Neill Restaurant & Lounge welcomes guests with its nostalgic black-and-white photos of the surfing legend and wetsuit pioneer, as well as images of his original surf shop, plus live music nights for a true sense of place. //

Alyssa Twelker at Birichino Tasting Room Photo by Garrick Ramirez courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz County

Dream Inn Resort Santa Cruz Photo courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz County and Dream Inn


Photo courtesy of Nicholson Vineyards

Nicholson Vineyards is a small production winery and farm run by 11th generation Californians Marguerite and Brian Nicholson in the Corralitos foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Open on weekend afternoons, a dog-friendly patio has tables and sunbrellas right beside the vineyards and olive groves. // In Downtown Santa Cruz on Church Street, there’s a pleasant option for wine tasting at Birichino Wine Tasting Room. Curated wines from Central Coast and beyond are served by knowledgeable staff at an attractive custom cast pewter bar; floor-to-ceiling windows look onto tables and sunbrellas that spill out onto the sidewalk. Founded in 2008 by two industry pros and winemakers, Alex Krause and John Locke. Their Saint Georges 2018 Pinot Noir was poured for Thanksgiving dinner at the White House in 2021. //

EAT & DRINK Downtown is as lively as the city’s young mayor, Sonja Brunner, who also runs operations at the Santa Cruz Downtown at Bardessono Association. Stroll along Suite tree-lined Pacific 68


For sandy days on Cowell Beach, afternoons strolling the Santa Cruz Boardwalk or riding the historic Giant Dipper roller coaster and evenings walking the Santa Cruz Wharf jutting a half-mile out into the sea, the retro-chic Santa Cruz Dream Inn delivers. Valet parking is a treat, and a room with a view is guaranteed—all the guest rooms face the ocean. There’s a heated outdoor pool and hot tub surrounded by chaise lounges, cabanas, fire pits, and a poolside bar for drinking in spectacular sunsets. Sweet dreams. // In addition to B&Bs such as the Victorian-era West Cliff Inn, new hotels are opening in spring 2022: Courtyard by Marriott near Main Beach and a Tapestry Collection by Hilton in Aptos. The Visit Santa Cruz County website is filled with up-to-date information. To plan a visit, log onto

Avenue with its sidewalk tables, public art, street performers, vintage cinemas, and a staffed visitor kiosk. Keeping everything friendly, tidy, and ticking over nicely, helpful Downtown Ambassadors work seven days a week on Pacific Avenue and side streets to support a positive experience for visitors, workers, and residents alike. Also downtown, family-run since 1948, Zoccoli’s is Santa Cruz’s favorite deli. Gabriella Café is a charming date night magnet. Anchoring it all, Abbott Square is a dynamic plaza and marketplace with six restaurants, two bars, and courtyard seating where free music performances and public art are staged. Five years in the making, the new plaza is adjacent to the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. Tip: Work up an appetite browsing the shelves in the spacious and historic Bookshop Santa Cruz Bookstore nearby, such a rarity these days. Set into the cliffs above Capitola Village overlooking Soquel Creek, Shadowbrook West Cliff View is a destination restaurant Photo by Denis Jockmans courtesy Visit Santa Cruz County with no fewer than four cozy

Wine tasting at Crown Point Vineyards Photo by Dan Miller



NVL real estate spotlight



any homeowners are in a quandary about the current market situation and wondering whether to sell now or wait, over-analyzing what the future will hold, wondering if the current situation is a fluke, and if they were to sell, where would they go. The questions are valid, and there are solutions for the well-informed seller (or buyer). One unique factor is the post-pandemic supply chain disruptions affecting supply and demand—not just in real estate but in many markets. When the buyer demand far exceeds the housing supply, prices naturally increase. For home sellers, it is an optimal condition to fetch top dollar for your property. So whether you are retiring, purchasing a bigger home, downsizing, buying that beautiful vacation home, or simply

investing, if you can make a change, now is the perfect time to do it. Like many homeowners in Napa Valley, your property may be a second home or an investment property not being utilized to its maximum potential. If that’s the case, this may be an ideal time to consider putting it on the market. Perhaps you will get more than you ever dreamed of, allowing you to purchase a larger family home or in more than one investment property. Taking advantage of tax deferring strategies through a 1031 exchange is an excellent strategy for this. Suffice it to say, we’re in a unique situation right now where almost all home sales in Napa are getting multiple offers, resulting in a much higher return—a huge win for the investor/owner. In addition, based on the current supply and demand scenario, most buyers

are flexible with move times or are willing to negotiate a rent-back while you decide your next move or even consider a longerterm escrow. Many lenders offer creative programs to clients, such as setting up bridge loans and freeing up options to make any move a smooth transition. The bottom line is there are solutions if you want to sell, and a great realtor will always help you find a way to make it work. And for the buyers with a toe in the water, fear not. The driving forces of today’s real estate market are vastly different than the bubble (and subsequent recession) of 2008, caused by lax oversight in the lending market. Instead, today’s market trends are running solid, so now’s the perfect time to jump in!

Tracy Warr // Napa Tracy Style Napa Valley Real Estate Specialist

My mother was a REALTOR®, I’m a REALTOR®, and my daughter is a REALTOR®, so you could say that real estate is in our blood. Having pursued this profession for more than 17 years, my passion for the Napa Valley began in 1985, when I bought my restaurant in Calistoga. While food and beverage hospitality allowed me to share my love of our Valley with visitors and locals, I have found that helping people sell and buy real property affords me the best opportunity to get more folks to fulfill their dreams experience their own Napa Valley passions. (707) 287-1994 // TWARR@CBNAPAVALLEY.COM // NAPATRACYSTYLE.COM // DRE# 01443203

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NVL featured property

Quintessential ELLEN POLITZ


It is no secret that Napa Valley holds some of California’s most coveted real estate, especially for those seeking a home for relaxing, entertaining, and hosting family and friends. Ellen Politz, Real Estate Agent with Corcoran Global Living, insists she has the ideal Napa Valley home available. 72


“It’s an exceptional resort-like listing for someone looking for something that no one else has—a private, gated property with a gorgeous vineyard, a party barn, a pool, a bocce court, and mountain and vineyard views in every direction,” Politz gushed. The five thousand square foot, twostory home’s interior was a labor of love for the owners. A few distinguishing touches include 27-foot exposed beam ceilings, a theatre room, handcrafted metalwork, artfully designed lighting, and an intimate, wine barrel-inspired dining room, creating a one-of-a-kind oasis in the heart of wine country. Politz got into the real estate market after working in finance for 20 years, eventually transitioning to real estate in 2008 when the market was tanking. She focused on helping stressed sellers with loan modifications and short sales. “Nobody went to foreclosure on my watch,” she proudly claimed. The experience served her well.

The property typically produces nine tons of grapes. For buyers seeking property at this price point in the Napa Valley, one of the most popular asks is the ability to make wine. In addition to the vineyards, the estate comes with a tasting room, winemaking equipment, and a winemaking area. Critical to Napa Valley sustainability, an onsite well with excellent production services the house, plus water for irrigation, and a 10,000-gallon water storage tank for the vineyard. The winemaker and wine lover’s paradise also delivers outdoor amenities like an orchard, raised garden beds, and a large hidden area for boat, RV, or farm equipment storage—but one of the most talked-about

features is the outdoor “party barn,” a structure linked to the main house by a seamless flow of outdoor living spaces and entertainment areas. The 864-square-foot party barn holds a loft, open great room, full bathroom, kitchenette with wine barrel style island, elevated ceilings, and double doors that open to the pool and bocce court. Politz hopes to give one lucky buyer their ideal home with the Coombsville AVA estate. “These types of properties don’t come along every day. This property is for those most discriminating buyers who settle for nothing short of the Napa Valley dream.” FOR MORE INFORMATION

“ It’s an exceptional resort-like listing for someone looking for something that no one else has—a private, gated property with a gorgeous vineyard, a party barn, a pool, a bocce court, and mountain and vineyard views in every direction,” Politz gushed. “I realized if you could negotiate with the big banks, you can make it among Napa Valley realtors,” she laughed. Ellen has found her niche with the boutique luxury brokerage Corcoran Global Living, previously Terra Firma Global Partners. Ellen ranks as the number one agent in the Napa office and in the top two percent of the Company. The Napa Valley property is one of her favorite listings, not only for the buildings but for the land surrounding it. Located in the prized Coombsville AVA, it encompasses more than four valley floor acres with vineyards containing six thousand Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 6, Rootstock 101-14 vines, plus a one-fourth acre vineyard of Malbec vines for blending.

Ellen Politz

Broker Associate • Lic. #01860953 707-363-2133 •



NVL artist spotlight



Layla Fanucci // Photo by Chick Harrity



Layla Fanucci did not start painting until age 40. After a failed attempt to find suitable artwork for her home, the St. Helena resident took brush to canvas to create her own 6’ x 5’ addition to her bare walls. Friends and family took notice of the resulting colorful abstract piece and commissioned Fanucci to create the same for them.


ensing that she had found her true calling, she quit her job as a music teacher within the Napa Valley School District to devote herself full-time to painting. She allowed herself two years to see if her newfound passion might become a profession. To say that she found success is an understatement. Today, Fanucci is internationally acclaimed, and her works have been shown worldwide. On display both at her St. Helena studio and at New York City’s Walter Wickiser Gallery, her vibrant paintings sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars; she recently received a million-dollar offer for one of her masterpieces. Her style is distinct and was developed upon the advice of New York art consultants who told her early on in her career that she needed to find a singular approach, not utilized by anyone

else in the world. Inspired by her travels, her unique cityscapes entail layer upon layer of architectural detail upon which she draws black linear outlines of buildings, bridges, and people to create a sense of energy. Each of the layers entails a different city rendering, which, in the final result bleed through, creating a work that is complex yet harmonious. “I find her and her work nourishing, uplifting, and inspiring,” said friend and art collector Lisa Saunders, a wine sales executive for Boich Family Cellars. “Every time I look into her works, I fall into the city.

“I find her and her work nourishing, uplifting, and inspiring... Every time I look into her works, I fall into the city.”

Paris Dream Opus 999 // Photo by Chick Harrity

I find more layers of activity, and then the layers upon layers feel like the past, like when a new building replaces an old one, but you remember the old one and what that looked like before the new one was built. So there is time passing within the layers of her work. It is hard to explain until you see it. It is magical.” Fanucci welcomes visitors to her St. Helena gallery to witness first-hand the magic and to also taste a bit of wine. On the same property, with historic structures built in 1900, her husband Robert operates Charter Oak Winery, where he handcrafts small-batch varietals in the same cellar and the same manner as his father and grandfather before him. “Guests know us for either the art, or the wine, or both,” said Fanucci, who has been the subject of two coffee table books that introduce her painting style in depth. She was also recognized in Marlo Thomas’ book It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over for her entrepreneurial vision and success. “There has not been one day in the past 25 years that I’ve not painted,” said Fanucci. “I absolutely love it; it’s a calling. I’m addicted.” FOR MORE INFORMATION // //

San Francisco Opus 1957 // Photo by Nathan Schwab SPRING 2022


NVL shop local spotlight


The Birth of Napa’s Newest Luxury Inn  PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE GEORGE


nown as the most handsome house in town, The George began its journey to become one of downtown Napa’s most beautiful luxury inns when Patty Theodorides and her daughter and son, Kiki Theodorides and George Theodorides, acquired the property in 2016. Originally built in 1891 as the George Goodman Jr. mansion, it was one of the most elegant residences of its time. Over the past 120 years, the property was repurposed into several iterations and is now reimagined into a nine-room luxury boutique inn that captures a 21st-century balance of contemporary elegance with stylish grandeur. “When we acquired the property in 2016, it was in extreme disrepair and, for the most part, unlivable. We had considered a few options for the renovation but ultimately agreed that a boutique inn would be the best way to showcase such an iconic historic property,” said Patty. And that’s where The George’s journey began. The renovation process was long and arduous, but the Theodorides found they enjoyed the interior design work. With no formal training, they leveraged their 76


careers working in and around the luxury real estate business to create the design concept. “There were a few design aspects that were unanimously non-negotiable for The George,” explained Kiki. “First, we wanted to stay true to the historic feeling of the property, second, we didn’t want it to feel dated, and most importantly, we wanted our guests to feel an impact upon arrival from the approach to the residence, through the entrance, and ultimately in every guest room, our trifecta of wow factor.” Local designers helped to bring The George to life. “Every member of our design team shared our vision of maintaining the integrity of the house and restoring as much original detailing as possible,” said Kiki. Upon entering the property, guests are surrounded by clean and contemporary white walls, original braided inlay hardwood floors, ornate woodwork on the grand staircase, and twin iron cage crystal chandeliers overhead. The woodwork on both fireplaces in the common areas was preserved and restored, and all guest rooms boast the original wavy lead glass windows, and high ceilings wrapped with beautiful crown molding. Original to the property are

four 80-foot palm trees. When illuminated at night, they showcase the massive canopy of leaves, which set a magnificent frame around the ornate Queen Ann Victorian. There are contemporary upgrades as well, including an open-concept demonstration kitchen with state-ofthe-art appliances and Carrera quartz countertops, heated bathroom flooring, luxurious modern designer fabrics, Matouk towels and linens, and stunning peacock mural painted by local Italian artist Fabio Sanzogni. These contributions present the perfect juxtaposition of contemporary elegance with historic charm. “As a Greek familyowned and operated business, our mission is to have every guest experience the feeling of ‘philoxenia,’ a Greek word that translates to ‘friend of a stranger.’ It is the sense of responsibility for making another person feel at home through generosity and courtesy; our main virtue at The George,” Patty explained. The combination of all these aspects has created a simple yet significant atmosphere. FOR MORE INFORMATION

707.255.3340 |

FALL 2020 103

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NVL shop local spotlight


Brings Vitality and Wellness to Downtown Napa

Photos courtesy of B12 LOVE  BY LAURIE JO MILLER FARR


n an episode of Justin Bieber’s docuseries, Seasons, he shares how he keeps his youthful charms: regular IV drips (among other things). Chrissy Tiegen posted about her vitamin IV drips on Instagram. Rihanna shared a Twitpic receiving an energy-boosting IV drip. And media coverage of Ivy Getty’s San Francisco wedding indicated that IV drips were made available for guests. Once a specialized offering found in party cities like Beverly Hills and Las Vegas, it has become a thriving industry that’s now come to downtown Napa in the form of B12 LOVE. People continue to seek out wellness services, looking for more ways to boost their immunity and address ongoing health issues such as poor sleep, weight gain, chronic pain, lack of energy, and more. Many of these complaints may benefit from nutrient therapy. While vitamin injections and IVs aren’t intended to replace a healthy diet and lifestyle, or medical supervision, they have gained popularity as quick and easy ways to boost energy, vitality, and overall well-being.

Nutrients are safely and professionally administered via an injection into the muscle or delivered straight into the bloodstream, bypassing issues, such as digestive malabsorption, that can occur for swallowed vitamins. These high-quality nutrient IVs and injections have found ready appeal among Napa residents and out-of-town visitors looking to revive and rejuvenate naturally. Interestingly, the appeal in Napa is a wide-ranging one, as visitors and repeat clients tend to be evenly distributed among men and women and cover a broad age range from 25 to 65. According to Dr. Jason Servatius, Naturopathic Doctor and Director of Operations for the Napa branch of B12 LOVE, their lounge is “a wellspring for those who want to boost their healthy lifestyle and a retreat for those who need to recuperate from physical stressors peacefully. We want it to feel like a spa experience for our guests. We want our guests to leave replenished.” Although new to Napa, B12 LOVE has been a growing Bay Area brand for several



years. Founder Dr. Shannon Wood Gallegos, Naturopathic Doctor and Licensed Midwife began administering vitamin B12 injections to pregnant and nursing mothers in the early 2000s. By 2013, Dr. Shannon and her husband, Armando, had established B12 LOVE in the Mission District of San Francisco, intending to help others to experience the many benefits of nutrient injections without the inconvenience of a doctor’s appointment or prescription. It has since expanded to seven brick-andmortar locations. A first-time client has an opportunity to discuss in-depth their personal health goals, background, lifestyle, any medications, symptoms and concerns about metabolism and energy levels with the onsite naturopathic doctor, medical assistant, or a registered nurse. Because an extensive menu of options is available at B12 LOVE, that conversation will inform the appropriate selection of nutrients. B12 LOVE takes both walk-ins and appointments. Services start at around $50.

1428 2nd Street, Napa, CA 94559 // 707-947-3004 //

La Bohème & Act Two Your eco-friendly stores in St. Helena

purchasing gently-used goods to our St. Helena stores. Your transactions support Collabria Care’s services for the seriously ill.

Wednesday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Monday – Tuesday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

1428 Main St, St. Helena

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707.244.4687 SPRING 2022


NVL health & wellness


Enhancing Natural Beauty with Personalized Care  BY VALERIE OWENS | PHOTOS COURTESY OF LIFT AESTHETICS

Dr. Meaghan Noud

Nicole Chiaramonte


n a valley abounding in opulence, beauty is all around. Intertwined with artistry, ingenuity, and aptitude lies a passionfueled community. For Lift Aesthetics, enhancing natural beauty through cuttingedge technology and personalized patient care embodies the spirit of the Napa Valley. With a philosophy to achieve an overall state of well-being and feeling confident from the inside out, Lift Aesthetics offers a full-service medical spa. From natural treatments to injectables, skin tightening, body contouring, and plastic surgery, patients have a large array of services at their fingertips to look and feel their best. “We specialize in making men and women look and feel more youthful, refreshed, and confident,” said Co-founder & CEO of Lift Aesthetics, Nicole Chiaramonte. Recently renovated, the 1914 Welte house on First Street in Downtown Napa offers a taste of tranquility in a spa-like setting for patients to relax as they embark on their beauty journey. “Lift stands out in the aesthetics industry because of our dedication to 80


“Lift stands out in the aesthetics industry because of our dedication to offering the most advanced, safe, and effective treatments.” offering the most advanced, safe, and effective treatments,” expressed Chiaramonte. At the helm of Lift Aesthetics sits entrepreneur & investor Nicole Chiaramonte and Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Meaghan Noud. Chiaramonte is quick to point out the heart of Lift’s success is due to their brilliant team, who operate more like family than co-workers. “I am honored to work with these women of character, beauty, brilliance, and class,” said Chiaramonte. “Lift was created from a patient’s point of view. I was a patient before a founder in aesthetics; Dr. Noud is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon and our Medical Director. She practices in San Francisco and Beverly Hills but spends more time each week in Napa. She loves it as much as I do.”

When asked about her philosophy in facial plastic surgery, Dr. Noud said, “The most rewarding part of my job is bringing out my patient’s own natural beauty. I apply an individualistic, patient-centered approach to each case, intending to achieve natural, elegant results that do not have an “operated on” appearance. With a background in professional services management, law firms, medical practices, and investing in aesthetics practices, Chiaramonte has spent the last nine years partnered with some of the best physicians and surgeons in the country to open locations focused on delivering the best patient experience. “I love Lift for the team of women who are dedicated to one another and our patients. You can feel the peacefulness, kindness, and care when you walk in the door. There is no pretension one often sees in aesthetics. We are mothers, daughters, wives, and friends who relate to our patients personally,” said Chiaramonte. For the Napa Valley, Lift Aesthetics is a renaissance for the mind, body, and soul. FOR MORE INFORMATION


in Senior Living L IF E ST Y L E •

Community of engaged, active friends and neighbors

Gorgeous 20-acre campus on the sunny south end of Napa

Variety of classes, events, and daily activities

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Everything we do is tailored to you. Learn more about the retirement experience you deserve! Call 707-415-2010 or visit us online at

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NVL money & wealth


ELLEN KOHAGURA Takes Complex and Makes it Simple  BY FRAN MILLER


he birth of her first child led Ellen Kohagura to a career that has, for the past three decades, provided great fulfillment. Desiring to care for her baby, she left a prestigious and demanding Southern California-based communications job to explore more flexible opportunities within the world of mortgage lending, and she was hooked. “The detail, the strategizing, and the close relationships that I formed were exciting,” said Kohagura. “I knew very quickly that I had found my calling.” After realizing great initial success in Southern California, Kohagura moved north, following her parents, who had moved to wine country several years earlier. She began working at Investors Trust Mortgage in 2002. She established Napa Valley lending in 2008 and since then, has helped her clients to purchase new

Photos courtesy of Napa Valley Lending

“ Ellen is absolutely the best mortgage broker my clients and I have ever worked with.”

homes, refinance, consolidate debt, and solve varied financial challenges. Her family-run business is 100% referral-based. Daughter Jordyn Villaluna is executive assistant, sonin-law Joseph Villaluna is marketing director, and husband Mark Kohagura is operations

director. She is in the top 1% in the nation for production, and she feels fortunate to be affiliated with C2 Financial Corp., the largest brokerage in America, with whom she is a consistent top producer. “Ours is a boutique operation, based on the belief that our customers’ needs are of the utmost importance,” said Kohagura, who, though based in Napa, continues to offer her services throughout California. “I am involved in every transaction, from soup to nuts. We make the processes as painless as possible. Our goal is to create lasting relationships with each of our clients so that

Ellen Kohagura NMLS 250696 | DRE 01370347 // Napa Valley Lending NMLS 135622 |DRE 01821025 82


we may continue providing excellent world-class service for a lifetime. Our entire team is committed to meeting those needs. As a result, a high percentage of our business is from repeat customers and referrals.” Client Melanie Clerici met Kohagura 19 years ago through their then young sons; the two have completed multiple transactions together over the years. “I once mentioned an impossible real estate transaction we were about to enter into, not knowing she was a mortgage broker,” said Clerici. “Ellen’s eyes lit up as she quickly rattled off several scenarios we could explore. Her knowledge and expertise and her vast network of industry professionals were so impressive that we turned everything over to her, and she made the impossible happen. Her energy, enthusiasm, and amazing sense of humor are contagious, making even a lot line adjustment and mortgage refinance fun.” Added Suzy Pratt Anderson, owner and broker with Coldwell Banker, “Ellen has been the most supportive and knowledgeable lender with whom I’ve ever worked. She is always available for a consultation, she quickly gets my buyers approved, and takes care of every aspect of the client’s needs, from the loan to the appraisal, insurance, and escrow. She is warm, friendly and my clients are always overwhelmed by her kindness and efficiency.” “Ellen is absolutely the best mortgage broker my clients and I have ever worked with,” said CPA Greg Bennett. “She is ALWAYS able to get the job done and in a timely manner.”


Bob McClenahan





NVL money & wealth


“How will this affect my taxes?” C o n si deri n g the tax imp lications of key fi n an c i al m oves could s ave you money. Here is what Merrill suggests you know.

We make big financial decisions all the time. But we don’t always ask ourselves: How will this affect my taxes? Here are four times when remembering to consider the tax consequences — and possibly adjusting your strategy — could make a difference.





Don’t forget: Money contributed to an employer-sponsored health flexible spending account (FSA) for health care expenses offers another way to lower your federal taxable income. Participating in certain types of FSAs may have an impact on your eligibility for HSA contributions.



Did you know that you could take advanWith a traditional 401(k) plan, your contage of a capital gains tax exclusion on tributions are made on a pre-tax basis, the first $250,000 of profit — $500,000 if giving you immediate savings by reducing you are married and file jointly — when your federal taxable income. In addition, selling your primary residence? You and investment income in your account is not your spouse, if you are married, must have subject to federal taxes until money is money sense lived in the house for at least two of the taken out at retirement, when it is taxed past five years. With the maximum capital as federal ordinary income. With a Roth SELLING STOCKS gains tax rate currently at 20%, that ex401(k), contributions are made with afterAND BONDS clusion could save you $100,000 or more. tax income, but then qualified withdrawals “In most cases, there are tax conse(The exclusion can only be used once starting at age 59½ are potentially federal quences when you sell investments to money sense within the prior two years.) tax-free. turn to you for financial support. When torealize say yes — and how to say no — if family members gains. But not all investments are A move to consider: Staying until the A move to consider: Splitting your contaxed at the same rate,” says tax accountributions, enough in a traditional two-year threshold hasevery beenfamily met, has as the Vinay Navani ofa position WilkinGuttenplan.* Almost one: the tant person family to provide it. Yet the “Financessaving in develop a basic philosophy th your federal taxable income. 401(k) planthat this ph capital gains exclusion onlymoney to is tight and members applies call on when Retirement” survey found that few respondents everyone. Explain Bond interest and dividends from real to limit your taxable income andbuild keep your primary residence. they need a helping hand. The more financially had budgeted to be able to help family members your family its wealth an estate investment trusts (REITs) are responsible you are, the more likely you are to financially, despite giving an average of $6,500 from rising into a higher tax bracket, then gift decisions will be made ba Don’t forget: You can add the cost of home generally taxed as ordinary income, at be considered “the family bank,” according to a annually to family. “We create budgets for such values, such as a strong work putting the rest in a Roth 401(k). improvements you make before you sell to rates currently as high as 37% (with a 2016 study conducted by Merrill in partnership things as travel or shopping, so why not for self-sufficiency. If you’re drea By Lisa Margeson, head of retirement client experience and communication, Merrill Don’t forget: Be sure to contribute the cost basis of the home. The higher the proposal before Congress to raise the top with Age Wave. The study, “Finances in family giving?” asks Bill Hunter, Retirement of refusing a request, prepare enough to your regular 401(k) to earn the basis, the smaller your gain — and the less rate to 39.6% for 2022 for high earners). Retirement: New Challenges, New Solutions,” Client Experience, Director, Strategy & Solutions beforehand so that you can ex maximum matching contribution from you would have to pay taxes on. Qualified dividends and gains from the found thatadults 62% ofinpeople over 501provide at Bank of America. • Start saving for retirement unemotionally. you can’ There are 75 million early Additionally, approximately take When noage debt. your employer. Because and companies can sale of investments owned for more than financial support18 toand family members, with adults the outline the reasons for your d Hunter advises that you determine how much America, with 4 million turning 1 ina4 year early with a retirement advantage of having longevity on only allocate matching contributions to a may be eligible for long-term overwhelming majority (80%) doing so because PAYING FOR you can commit to this purpose without a family business is invo pre-tax account in to your 401(k) plan, that capital gains made rates, which currently entering early adulthood each year. They plan have already an early your side. Contribute anWhen employer“It’s the right thing to do.” disrupting your retirement planning and current Schmieder, it’s possible that y HEALTHCARE means at least part of your money are capped at 20% for most taxpayers, make up one-thirdStill, of the workforce, so withdrawal, primarily to cover debt. sponsored savings plan such as a thewill if you’re that person, you an additional living When you have that figure, understand company’s fin be contributed on a pre-tax basis. Your 3.8% needs. net investment See if your employer offers a high-haven’tplus their financial health is something you thatcould justincome 401(k) at least at a level that meets sometimes say no? Maybe consider your other priorities. Are—there any match “Not everyone may be aware, employer can your 401(k) contriParents aretax. understandably concerned deductible health plan thatwished qualifies you you have other priorities to deal with or you lifestyle changes you may need to make in order company owners have an obli can affect not just themselves but the any company match. bution and place the matching contributo make contributions to a qualifying about their children’s wellbeing andto family A move to consider: In giving general it is during tough times? doubt the money will be used wisely. Or you’re to keep their profits into their economy as a whole. tion in a pre-tax account in your 401(k) busines health savings account. When you enroll to have non-income-producing havebetter beenby supporting themimportant, financially.before• you Talkgive, to yoursure local Merrill advisor, who convinced that your kids will learn more Most to set growth,” he says. Use this opp plan,bebut cannot place the matching conin a high-deductible health plan, you may investments, such as growth stocks, in saving for that desired purchase — whether it’s aside an emergency fund for yourself to help The aggregate amount spent by can assist with putting together a that the company’s profits are A new study from Merrill and Age tribution into your Roth 401(k) account. be able to contribute to a health savings taxable accounts, and investments aYour house, a carPursuit or a vacation on your theiron own. ensure that you a comfortable cushionyour goals. for gifts or loans. their early adult children is will have plan to help pursue Wave, “Early Adulthood: The account (HSA). contributions to an —parents This is just a sampling of the kinds of that generate income, such as corporate retirement. Naturally, or you’ll always want to be there — for your $500inbillion As you consider each request are tax-deductible, may be made enormous annually.2 ofHSA Financial Independence,” finds situations where you might benefit from bonds, in over tax-deferred accounts. members when they 3. Set firm guidelines forFor saying yes. Decide in important to remember that g more information, contact by pre-tax salaryfamily deductions if allowed by need you, but there being more tax-aware, notes Navani. that financial independence defines Don’t forget: It is possible offset outlook isn’t entirely bleak,under as to the are times and whenwithdrawals it does makeThe sense to politely advance what circumstances you would family members will have a di your employer. Earnings Merrill Lynch Financial “Remember, too, that Advisor tax laws change freadulthood today — so than capital gains selling investments that or lending money. saymore no,expenses even to those closestmajority to you. If of you’re feel your retirement planning. The for qualified medical arethe federal early by adults (72comfortable percent) giving quently, and in anticipating future shifts in havehere dropped in value. Yougoing can gener-Eric considered “the bank” in yoursay family, are benefit “Iffrom you’re a giftF.ofGonzales the money, the unwritten fifth rule, says Hunt traditional milestones of employment, income tax-free. they would financialto makeNapa, tax rates and rules could help to influence office ally deduct up to think $3,000 (or using $1,500 four useful tips. about the ifoccasion CA, as a teaching being overly generous, or you homeownership or starting a family. the financial decisions you make today.” A move to consider: If your HSA allows guidance. Here is some advice to early married and filing separately) of capital moment,” suggests Hunter. Without sounding needing financial help yoursel at 707.254.4606 However, 80 percent ofRules early adults you to invest the money you contribute, Four of the Family Bank adults to help their of pursuit ofgains financial losses in excess capital per yearor preachy or judgmental, try to explain to your itsit’s potential growth could help you with your Start talking about money say hardertax-free to 1. become financially fromchildren your ordinaryrelative income. how you’ve put yourself in a position to independence: when they are young. “Set up regular family pay for healthcare costs as you age and independent than it was for previous provide this assistance. Have you kept your debt meetings to discuss life skills,• including the stick to aunder even cover the cost of Medicare premiums. Create and budget. Track control, for instance, or lived within your generations, and earning, their baby boomer saving, spending, investing and sharing means orand avoided high-interest credit cards? and manage your expenses, parents agree. of money. What role does money play in your adults in the family, this could be a identify areas where “For you young can make family’s life? How do your financial decisions valuable lesson,” he says. One major hurdleexpress complicating early values?” says adjustments to fund your goals. your family’s Stacy Allred, 1 Center for Retirement FOR MORE INFORMATION Contact Merrill Lynch Eric F. at Boston College. * As a CPA and shareholder at WilkinGuttenplan, Mr. Navani is not “If you expect to be paid back,Financial create aAdvisor loanResearch adults’ toOpinions financial head of independence the Merrill Center for Family Wealth™. affiliated path with Merrill. provided are his, do not necessarily “How Student Debt Affect Early Career Gonzales in the Napa, CA office at 707-254-4606 or Does document,” recommends Joe C. Schmieder, reflect those of Merrill and may be subject to change. • Pay down your debt. Pay high-interest, a young age, encourage children to ask Retirement Saving?” 2018. is mounting levels“From of debt. In fact, principal of the Family Business non-tax deductible debt first consultant (e.g., questions about the decisions you’re making 2 Investing involves potential of losing money when you invest in securities. This material does not Wave/Merrill take into account your particular investment objectives, Age Lynch. “The Financial Journey Americans 18 torisk. 34There holdis always morethe than For moreof information, con Consulting Group. This may include details on thatand they can begin as toaunderstand the offerand financial situations orso needs is not intended recommendation, or solicitation for thenon-tax purchase or sale ofParenting: any security, instrument or strategy. Before acting credit cards) thenhow other Joy,financial Complexity and Sacrifice,” 2018. $1.5 trillion of debt. This indebtedness frequently repayments will beand, made and seek professional Merrill Lynch Ad on any information inreasoning this material,behind you should consider whether it sound is in your best interests based on your particular circumstances if necessary, advice. Financial Any them and develop deductible debt (e.g., an loan). expressed herein are given inwith good faith, are subject to change without notice, andauto are only correctwill as of stated date of their issue. Merrill, itsEric affiliates, and financial whether interest bethecharged. If the family Gonzales in the is opinions having major ripple effects, money management habits of their own.” advisors do not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner member hasproducts asked you to invest in a business, Napa, CA, office With background, theyormay have & Smith Incorporated (also that referred tohalf as “MLPF&S” “Merrill”) makes available certain investment by companies that early adults contributing only • Plan formore contingencies such as health sponsored, managed, distributed or provided request a business plan or other formal details are affiliates of Bankrealistic of America Corporation (“BofA Corp.”). MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, Member SIPC and a wholly owned subsidiary expectations if they do someday find at 707.254.4606 the theirproducts 401(k)s of amount BofA Corp. to Banking arewhen by Bank ofemergencies. America, N.A. and affiliatedon banks, FDIC will and be wholly owned howMembers the money used. “It’ssubsidiaries importantof Bank of America Corporation. themselves inprovided a financial bind and consider or Investment products offered through MLPF&S, and insurance and annuity products offered through MLLA.: understands your terms,” compared to theirasking colleagues who have that the recipient you for help. Hunter says. © 2022 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. | Are Notpass FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value 2. Create a budget for giving. Even if you MAP4020872 | WP-01-22-2622.A | 472503PM-0421 | 01/2022 4. When you must say no, avoid makingAreitNot personal. on your own sound money management Are Nothabits, Deposits Are Not Insured By Any Federal Government Agency a Condition to Any Banking Service or Activity Instead of blaming family members for their there are bound to be times when relatives financial troubles or questioning their plans, will need your help, and you’ll want to be in


Are You the “Family Bank”?

The Pursuit of Happiness: Early Adults Want Financial Independence


of our signature burgers. A fun spot to meet up with friends or enjoy a meal with the whole family! 1122 First Street, Napa, CA 94559 707--812--6853 |

NVL dining guide

AMERICAN SOLBAR RESTAURANT Solbar divides its menu into light, delicate flavors to stimulate your palate and bold, savory dishes, all with ingredients that showcase the best of what’s fresh and seasonal in the Napa Valley. Enjoy outdoor dining on the sunlit Solbar patio, or the new Picobar, for dining al fresco or relaxing by the firepits overlooking the landmark pool. 755 SILVERADO TRL, CALISTOGA // 707- 226-0860 // AUBERGERESORTS.COM


TARLA - True to our namesake, the Tarla Grill aims to yield nourishing, creative, and culturally eats originating from Turkeynewest and Greece, lands heralded forfeatures their FIRST &exciting FRANKLIN Downtown Napa’s Marketplace and Deli cuisine and a culture that takes pride in the relationship between mankind and the the best of the Napa Valley. The Marketplace offers a full-service deli and a land! We take our responsibility of ensuring the origins of our ingredients seriously specialty Grocery Store selling local wine and craft beer. The store is filled with and pride ourselves on using local, seasonal and organic fare whenever possible.

grab-and-go or made-to-order sandwiches, salads, and picnic side salads for

you to home enjoy on either of their two patios. 1480 1sttake St, Napa, CAor 94559 707-255-5599 |


Photo by Darren Brazil


G LO B A L HERITAGE EATS Heritage Eats offers a fast-casual, globally-inspired menu that thinks and acts locally. The popular restaurant serves up tacos, wraps, baos, rice and salad bowls made-to-order with choice of protein, toppings and sauces with unique flavor profiles from all over the world. The Dirty Fries, Papa K’s Burger and Haven Wings are local favorites.

EIKO’S - Eiko’s delivers imaginative twists on traditional Japanese cuisine. Our vision EIKO'S Delivering a modern, imaginative twist on traditional Japanese cuifor the menu combines modern and authentic traditional Japanese cuisine including sine, Eiko's menu includes seasonal, fresh sustainable fish and ingredients deseasonal, fresh sustainable fish and ingredients delivered daily from our local markets livered daily from local markets andraw purveyors. In addition to traditional and purveyors. In addition to traditional fish preparation, our chefs creates a raw fish preparation, their chefs createbyaour selection of innovative dishes featuring inspired selection of innovative dishes inspired local culture and taste profiles by local culture and profiles featuring Napa as influence and inspiration. Napa as influence and taste inspiration.


1385Napa NAPA TOWN CENTER, NAPA // 707-501-4444 // WWW.EIKOSNAPA.COM 1385 Town Center, Napa, CA 94559 707-501-4444 |

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A M E R I C A N - L AT I N F U S I O N



SOUTHSIDE CAFÉ Southside is a community-centered café and coffee bar with three locations: Carneros, Yountville, and Century in South Napa. They serve a chef-driven menu of authentic California cuisine with a Latin influence, specialty coffee from Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, and beer & wine from friends in the Napa Valley. Open for breakfast, lunch, and Century is also open for dinner.

PIZZERIA TRA VIGNE For the past 25 years, Pizzeria Tra Vigne reigns one of St. Helena's local treasures. Guests of all ages enjoy the pasta, pizza, or a fresh daily special to go at this vibrant, family restaurant. Their pizzas are a crowd favorite to eat in or carry out. There's plenty of seating outdoors on the beautiful patio, complete with a bocce court, or inside with family and friends.







C CASA Offering reimagined Mexican cuisine, C CASA features fresh food crafted with nutrient-packed ingredients sustainably sourced. Handmade tortillas are made from 100% USA grown, non-GMO, organic white corn. C CASA offers a modern and fine casual approach to tacos, salads, quesadillas and rotisserie meats. And everything is 100% Gluten Free! Vegetarian/Vegan offerings available.

FILIPPI’S PIZZA GROTTO For over 15 years, Filippi’s Pizza Grotto has been one of Napa Valley’s favorite Italian restaurants among locals and visitors alike. Best known for its extensive pizza menu, their dinner entrées include traditional Italian favorites such as Veal Scaloppini, Eggplant Parmigiana and Linguini with Clam Sauce. Soups, sandwiches and gluten-free options are also on the menu.

OXBOW PUBLIC MARKET // 610 1ST ST., NAPA // 707-226-7700 // MYCCASA.COM




NAPA PALISADES SALOON Located in downtown Napa, Napa Palisades is a local gourmet grub pub serving American comfort food with a twist. Their full bar serves up their own Napa Palisades Beer Company house brews, over 30 local craft beers and many guest taps. They boast 16 big screen TV’s, weekend brunch and a popular happy hour.

GRILLE 29 Nestled in Embassy Suites Napa Valley, Grille 29 offers a casual, friendly space ideal for a business lunch, after work drinks or dinner with the family. The tall rustic ceiling with chandeliers, sofa seating and beautiful oak bar add an old-world charm to the intimate dining room and lounge. Enjoy delightful entrees using fresh products and herbs grown from its very own garden!

1000 MAIN ST, NAPA // 707-492-3399 // WWW.NAPAPALISADES.COM

1075 CALIFORNIA BLVD., NAPA // 707-320-9520









THE GRILL AT SILVERADO A one-of-a-kind Napa Valley restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and bar appetizers, The Grill at Silverado features Wine Country Cuisine, emphasizing fresh and sustainable products. Just minutes from downtown Napa, the Grill overlooks one of the most beautiful golf courses on earth and offers a respite from the daily routine for everyone who visits.

NAPA NOODLES Eiko’s sister restaurant, Napa Noodles, is an Asian Pacific Rim-style restaurant that fuses the delicious taste of Asian noodles with Napa Valley cuisine. Specialties include house-made noodles, savory soups, slow-roasted meats, seasonal salads, duck, flavorful rice dishes, Asian beers, Sake, and local wines.


1124 FIRST ST, NAPA // 707- 492-8079 // WWW.NAPANOODLES.COM SPRING 2022




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There's something extra-refreshing about spring in Napa Valley. There’s dew on the grass, mud on the tires, and hints of winter still linger in the air. New grapes appear on the vines, new recipes are tested, and wildflowers bloom. It’s the time of year that we get our first taste of the wonderful things to come. Cheers to that. Scan the QR code to learn more about a taste of the good life.

Come experience Ascend, City Ventures’ new townhome community in Novato’s vibrant Hamilton Field. These solar included homes are in a neighborhood surrounded by parks and protected wetlands, yet closely connected to San Francisco and Sonoma County via Larkspur Ferry and the SMART train. Nearby shopping centers like Vintage Oaks, restaurants, and a variety of hiking trails provide the ever-desirable town and country lifestyle. Closer to home, a community garden, bocce courts and play area rounds out this new community. Preview tours are available now. 1,737 - 1,875 Sq. Ft. | 3 - 4 Bedrooms | 2.5 - 3.5 Baths From the $900,000s to Low $1 Millions | 415.214.4689 | 802 State Access Road, Novato, CA 94949

All renderings, floor plans, and maps are concepts and are not intended to be an actual depiction of the buildings, fencing, walkways, driveways or landscaping. Walls, windows, porches and decks vary per elevation and lot location. In a continuing effort to meet consumer expectations, City Ventures reserves the right to modify prices, floor plans, specifications, options and amenities without notice or obligation. Square footages shown are approximate. Broker/agent must accompany and register their client(s) with the onsite sales team on their first visit to the community in order to be eligible for any broker referral fee. Please see your Sales Manager for details. ©️2022 City Ventures. All rights reserved. DRE LIC # 01979736.