Celebrity Travel & StyleInterviewsJet Set PetLuxury VoyagesSuite Dreams - The World's Best SuitesTime TravelerTop 5Luxury Travel TrendsWeekend Away
Destination WeddingsFamily Vacation PackagesSpa & Wellness PackagesRomantic & Honeymoon PackagesGirls GetawaysSpring SpecialsWinter Getaway Packages
ArticlesThe Best Hotels, Resorts & Villas Around the World
Beach & Island Resorts5-Star City HotelsAdventure Lodges & Eco EscapesBoutique City HotelsCountry House HotelsRomantic RetreatsLuxury Guest RanchesLuxury Safari Camps & LodgesGolf Resorts & LodgesSpa Resorts & Wellness RetreatsSki Resorts & LodgesWine Country GetawaysLuxury Family Travel & ResortsNew HotelsHot Hotel Openings
Beach, Coastal & Island VillasCountry VillasGolf VillasSki VillasLuxury Villas & Vacation Rentals Around the WorldHotel Branded Residences
Luxury Cruises & YachtingLuxury Car RentalTravel Tips & AdviceAirline NewsUltimate TripsBusiness TravelFamily TravelLuxury SafarisPrivate Jet TravelRail Journeys: The World's Most Scenic Train Rides
Events
RestaurantsBars & NightclubsAfternoon TeaCoffeeCooking ClassesCulinary TravelWine Travel
Spa & Wellness RetreatsYogaGolf GetawaysTennisSki Vacations
Gift GuideBeach and ResortwearBeauty and FragranceBooksFashionHome StyleLuggage and HandbagsLuxury Autos & Driving ExperiencesMen's StyleTravel EssentialsWatches & JewelryWine and SpiritsWorld's Most Expensive
Back to:  Home > Food/Wine > Wine Travel

Wine Travel

Festival Napa Valley Wraps Its Eleventh Splendid Season

July 25, 2016 - By Fran Miller

For ten days each July, Northern California's wine country finds itself at the heart of a cultural and philanthropic explosion.

Festival Napa Valley (formerly Festival del Sole) lures wine aficionados, fine food fanciers, and music lovers from all over the world, and has become one of America's premiere summer destination events, while at the same time enriching the region's cultural vitality with its support of arts education. (The festival is the leading funder of arts education in Napa County.) Featuring a series of exclusive performances by preeminent classical, opera, jazz, and dance artists, paired with intimate food and wine events hosted by the region's top vintners in the area's most iconic settings, the Festival turns Napa Valley into the world's biggest stage; rolling hills, lush vineyards, amazing restaurants, and elegant wineries serve as backdrops. And though the elegant series of events just wrapped its eleventh season (July 15 – 24, 2016), it's not too early to start planning for next summer's soiree. Here's what you may, or may not have, missed:

Castello di Amorosa 2 Susana BatesCastello di Amorosa. Photo credit: Susana Bates

A performance by Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth at Dario Sattui's authentically-built 13th century style Tuscan castle and winery, Castello di Amorosa, opened the Festival. After parties were held the luxurious Solage Calistoga resort and at The Napa Valley Reserve, a private club in St. Helena with a membership of 500 couples who share a passion for wine and the way of life that surrounds it.

Meadowood Bob McClenahanMeadowood Napa Valley. Photo credit: Bob McClenahan

Always a Festival Napa Valley highlight and perhaps its most lavish event, the Festival Gala, hosted this year by Wayne Brady with entertainment from “O” by Cirque de Soleil, took place once again at luxurious Meadowood Napa Valley. The elegant Gala is perhaps the only annual event that upstages Meadowood's many stellar, on-property recreational diversions such as their new luxe spa, first-class tennis facilities, swimming, hiking, destination-worthy dining, and their renowned croquet court.

Festival Gala Meadowood Paul E. RichardsonFestival Gala Meadowood. Photo credit: Paul E. Richardson

Held on the expansive fairway lawn, the Gala attracted a who's who list of summer-white-bedecked guests, who enjoyed assorted Napa wines and dinner prepared by Meadowood's estate chef Alejandro Ayala, all while participating in a spirited fundraising auction - featuring extravagant lots - to benefit Festival Napa Valley's celebrated Arts for All initiative. Example: LOT 1 - WALK THE RED WEINSTEIN CARPET: Invitation for two to the Weinstein Company Golden Globes Viewing Party and Dinner, invitation for two to the Weinstein Company Golden Globes After-Party, two-night luxury accommodations in Los Angeles, white-glove service via Tesla to and from Weinstein Golden Globe events, host a private and exclusive pre-release screening of a Weinstein film for 25 people at a theater near your home, invitation for two to a Weinstein Company red carpet prerelease screening in Los Angeles or New York, and two signed magnums of Alpha Omega wine.

Grgich Hills Paul E. RichardsonGrgich Hills. Photo credit: Paul E. Richardson

Grgich Hills Estates hosted a Judgment of Paris 40th Anniversary Luncheon, where guests toasted Napa's victory at the historic 1976 blind tasting that pitted high quality French red Bordeaux and white Burgundies against California Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays. California's victory at the time was inconceivable, and set the stage for even greater Napa wines to come.

Aldo Lopez-Gavilan Paul E. RichardsonAldo Lopez-Gavilan. Photo credit: Paul E. Richardson

Cuban pianist Aldo Lopez Gavilan, soprano Kathleen Battle, jazz legend Sergio Mendes, baritone Lester Lynch, the Young People's Chorus of New York City, violinist Sarah Chang, and the San Francisco Ballet - accompanied by members of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra – all commanded various stages throughout the Valley during the 10-day program.

Alpha Omega Bob McClenahanAlpha Omega. Photo credit: Bob McClenahan

After parties, each more elegant and amusing than the next, were hosted by Hall Wines, Charlie Palmer of St. Helena's beautiful Harvest Inn, the Hess Collection, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, and at Rutherford's Alpha Omega where owners Robin and Michelle Baggett hosted Mendes and his wife Gracinha Leporace at their always popular down-home Patron Dinner. Baggett, an executive board member of Festival Napa Valley, wheeled out an entire pig that he personally smoked for his guests, all of whom also feasted on Baggett's “almost famous” BBQ ribs, baked beans and slaw while enjoying Alpha Omega's world class wines. The festive evening was highlighted by a surprise performance by legendary fiddler/violinist Mark O'Connor, who seemingly stood on water thanks to a dramatic dry ice illusion.

Tribute to Magrit Mondavi Susana BatesTribute to Magrit Mondavi. Photo credit: Susana Bates

Margrit Mondavi, this season's honoree, was feted at a Far Niente Winery-hosted tribute with a feast prepared by celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich. Jazz saxophonist Dave Koz serenaded the crowd, which included special guests Sophia Loren and her son orchestral conductor Carlo Ponti, Jr. The festivities closed with a luxe dinner at Robert Mondavi Winery that was preceded by an Opera Gala conducted by Ponti, and featuring Isabel Leonard and Michael Fabiano.

For advanced purchase tickets to Festival Napa Valley 2017, visit www.festivalnapavalley.org.

Top photo of Castello di Amorosa by Paul E. Richardson


 

Featured Luxury Hotels

 


 

LUXURY PARTNERS

 

Kinglike Concierge & Luxury Villa Rentals - Mykonos, Greece
Kinglike is a luxury villa rentals and personal concierge services company based in Mykonos, Greece offering 150 villa rentals, concierge, event planning, luxury transfers, yacht charters, and more.

 

 

The Abaco Club on Winding Bay
A private, international sporting club and residential community situated on 453 acres in the Bahamas. The Abaco Club offers a world of relaxation with pristine white sand beaches, world-class Scottish styled links golf and a spectacular offering of other water, leisure and sporting activities.

 

 

Carneros Resort and Spa - Napa Valley, California
The resort features 86 charming private guest cottages and suites and nightly private luxury home rentals, each furnished with casual elegance and nestled in a lush garden courtyard with private deck.

 

 

 

Hotel del Coronado - San Diego
This majestic oceanfront beach resort engages the senses and its storied personality captivates the imagination of global guests and San Diego locals alike. Situated on America's most beloved beach, The Del is an iconic destination on every savvy traveler's must-see list.

 

 

 

WEALTH MAGAZINE
The luxury lifestyle - how to spend it on autos, jets, yachts, real estate, travel, shopping, wellness and all the best in life.

 

 

 

Grand Hotel Portovenere, Italy
The charming village of Portovenere, which sits on the point connecting the renowned Cinque Terre and the inspiring Gulf of the Poets, is the perfect place to experience the serenity of Eastern Liguria.

 

 

 

Eden Roc at Cap Cana - Punta Cana
Offering exclusive luxury in the Dominican Republic, Eden Roc at Cap Cana, the only Relais & Chateaux hotel on the island, features 34 freestanding suites with private pools and stunning views.

 

 

 

ULTIMATE ADVENTURES
Explore the world outdoors - discover the best travel adventures, glamping, activities, gear, apparel, vehicles, and more.

 

 

 

Primland - Meadows of Dan, VA
A pristine Blue Ridge Mountain resort offering 12,000 acres of space, sky and shifting moods. Primland is the ultimate getaway for world-class golf, refined dining, and outdoor activities in an environment of rare natural beauty.

 

 

 

MALIBU DIET
The secret to vitality, health and happiness in the New Year! Lose weight, feel great like the A-List!

 

 

Private Villa Rentals - Caribbean & Mexico
In the realm of world-class luxury private villa rentals, we know that the exceptional experiences our guests deserve are about much more than just the villa itself.

 

 

SUPERYACHT MAGAZINE
Living the dream - the world's best yachts for sale and charter. See the latest trends in yacht design, tech, toys, destinations and lifestyle.

 

 

Mountain Shadows
The new resort features timeless modern design, 183 guestrooms, a restaurant with an exhibition kitchen, two pools, a high-tech fitness facility, a fully revamped short golf course, a golf grill and lounge as well as 37,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.

 

 

Jade Mountain - St. Lucia
Jade Mountain is an exclusive luxury 'resort within a resort' with 24 suites at St. Lucia's famed Anse Chastanet Resort, in a truly romantic and magical setting poised high overlooking St. Lucia's Piton World Heritage site and the Caribbean Sea.

 

 

Hotel Valley Ho - Scottsdale, AZ
Escape to the sun in Scottsdale! A hideaway for celebrities, this Downtown Scottsdale resort features generously sized guest rooms with all-glass walls opening onto airy patios or balconies, many with views of Camelback Mountain.

 

 

JETSETTER MAGAZINE
Luxury travel and lifestyle - discover all the best destinations, hotels, resorts, nightlife, adventure, shopping, safaris, villas, spas and much more.

 

 

Anse Chastanet - St. Lucia
Set amid a lush 600-acre estate with two soft-sand beaches and breathtaking views of St. Lucia's iconic twin Pitons mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

 

Meadowood Napa Valley
One of the true luxury resorts in Napa Valley offering golf, tennis, croquet, hiking, swimming, fitness, spa, wine education and a Michelin three-star restaurant dining experience...all on a private 250-acre estate in the heart of the Napa Valley.

 

 

 

VOYAGES MAGAZINE
Exploring the World in Style - cruising, yachting, expeditions, family adventure, luxury, river cruising - all to the best destinations in the world.