Tour Vin – Upcoming Spring Events in Napa Valley
Published on: March 20th, 2018
Spring is fast approaching, and we want to tell you about some exciting events scheduled in Napa Valley. It’s a popular time to visit the valley, and sometimes reservations are required; don’t worry, we can help coordinate your trip!
- Eighth Annual Napa Valley Arts in April: This month-long event showcases art, music and culture, and features artists working with a variety of mediums. Venues in St. Helena, Yountville, Calistoga and Napa will host art and music programs paired with excellent food and wine.
- 2018 Lobster Fest: Do you enjoy lobster? If so, plan to head to V. Sattui in St. Helena on April 21. This food extravaganza includes fresh Maine lobster, large prawns, Italian sausage, corn on the cob, artichokes and a surprise dessert. Reservations will go fast for this feast!
- Sixth Annual Art, Sip & Stroll: Offered in conjunction with the Napa Valley-wide Arts in April, Yountville hosts this annual event on April 28. Touted the largest visual arts event in the Napa Valley, visitors can walk along Washington Street and view the work of 40 different artists, sip wine from 10 different wineries and tasting rooms, and enjoy live music at the town’s parks and main plaza.
- Grand Barrel Party at Castello di Amorosa: Barrel tasting, anyone? On May 4, Castello di Amorosa hosts their Grand Barrel Party, which features more than 40 Castello wines paired with fine Italian food! There will also be a blind-tasting challenge and a barrel making demonstration you will not want to miss. Reservations required!
As we enter the high season in Napa Valley, reservations at popular venues can be difficult to secure. If you are thinking about staying at the new hot spot in the valley, the Archer Napa Hotel, or would like to attend an upcoming event during your trip, contact us soon, as rooms and reservations are selling out fast!
Tour Vin Highlights Krupp Brothers Winery
Published on: February 19th, 2018
Tour Vin’s January 2018 trip to Napa Valley was a great success! Many of our guests have asked us about specific venues, so we made sure they were on our list to visit.
This month, we’re highlighting Krupp Brothers Winery in Napa. Two brothers, Jan and Bart, founded the winery in 1999, and produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Syrah and a Tempranillo-based red blend. Krupp Brothers wines can be enjoyed at their downtown Napa tasting room or at the Krupp Brothers Estate, which is nestled at the foot of the Vaca Mountains, just off the Silverado Trail. We chose the latter.
Upon our arrival on the Estate, we were met by Nikki Lincoln, Regional Sales Manager and Director of Hospitality. Glasses of wine in hand, we toured the property with her and learned a little history about the Krupp brothers. Then, she treated us to a 60-minute wine tasting.
Nikki also took us into the barrel room where she used the wine thief to sample several excellent wines straight from the barrel. Fun fact: A wine thief is a glass or food-grade plastic pipette used to remove a small amount of wine from a cask for testing (or, in this case, tasting).
If you are planning a trip to Napa Valley in spring or summer, we recommend taking a moment to sit on the Estate’s back porch that overlooks the sprawling vineyards and beautiful lake. The view is breathtaking. With advance reservations, Nikki can arrange lunch for you and your group coupled with, of course, a bottle or two of their fantastic wines!
It’s never too early to start planning your next trip to Napa Valley – give us a call and we’ll get you on your way!
Tour Vin – Exploring Beautiful Napa Valley
Published on: January 25th, 2018
Tour Vin just returned from a week in Napa Valley where we searched out new and exciting venues to recommend to our clients. We tasted wines on Atlas Peak and Spring Mountain, as well as in the hills of Calistoga, on the top of Soda Canyon and, of course, on the Valley floor. We also enjoyed wonderful cuisine at new restaurants and visited the downtown Napa’s new Archer Hotel.
In coming months, we will post in-depth reviews on many of the places we visited. The focus here is the beautiful scenery we experienced while driving through the Valley. Many of our friends and guests remain concerned about whether or not the Valley is ready for visitors. We say, YES, it is! And, we feel the best way to convey that the Valley is as wonderful as it has ever been and open for business is through photographs. Enjoy!
As always, contact us to help plan your next trip to Napa Valley.
Tour Vin – Napa Valley Winter Fun
Published on: December 28th, 2017
The hustle and bustle of activity in Napa Valley doesn’t slow during the winter months. In fact, events with focus upon wine tastings, excellent food and music abound. There is, no doubt, something for everyone – take a look at what’s in store for you!
- Calistoga Winter in the Wineries, December 2, 2017 – February 4, 2018. Offering special Winery Passports, 17 Calistoga wineries present passport holders with complimentary wine tasting flights. Some participating wineries include Castello di Amorosa, Bennett Lane Winery, Madrigal Family Winery, Chateau Montelena, Sterling Vineyards, Tamber Bey and Strasser & Lava Vine Winery.
- Napa Truffle Festival, January 12-15, 2018. Where else can you purchase all the fresh black truffles you want? Local restaurants will be offering special truffle menus, hands-on black truffle cooking workshops, a special winter feast at CIA at Copia, and free admission to the Oxbow Public Market so you can browse and purchase a la carte truffle fare.
- Napa Valley Restaurant Week, January 21-28. This event is a great opportunity to dine at restaurants throughout the Valley at remarkably low prices! Multi-course, prix fixe menus will be offered for lunch ($20) and for dinner ($35-$46). Participating restaurants include Auberge du Soleil, The Grill at Silverado Resort, The Restaurant at CIA Copia, Brasswood Bar & Kitchen, Solbar at Solage Calistoga, Torc and Charlie Palmer Steak Napa.
- Yountville Live, March 15-18, 2018. This four-day event is a celebration of food, music and wine, and features acclaimed musicians, award-winning chefs, and, of course, Napa Valley’s finest wines. Some scheduled activities include:
- The Grand Tasting, which includes 100 food and wine tastings
- Grand Cru Wine Tasting in the VIP tent
- The Grand Tasting Experience, which allows access to the chef demonstration stage
Yes, winter is an excellent time to visit the Valley. Contact us today to help plan your next trip!
Happy New Year!
Tour Vin – 2018 Regional Best of Wine Tourism Award Winners Worth a Visit!
Published on: November 19th, 2017
Each year, San Francisco and Napa Valley recognize regional hospitality leaders by presenting awards in seven Best of Wine Tourism categories. The 2018 San Francisco/Napa Valley Best Of award categories include accommodations; art and culture; architecture and landscape; innovative wine tourism experience; sustainable wine tourism practices; wine tourism restaurants; and wine tourism services.
We wanted to share the winners with you – drum roll, please!
- Accommodations – The Napa River Inn, a boutique hotel on the downtown Napa Valley river site.
- Art and Culture – The Hess Collection in Napa Valley, which provides free public access to its Contemporary Art Collection
- Architecture and Landscape – Davis Estates, located in Calistoga with design inspired by a historic barn built in 1916.
- Innovative Wine Tourism Experience – Shadybrook Estate Winery, a Napa Valley historic ranch property located in the Coombsville AVA.
- Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices – Etude Wines, located in the Carneros Appellation in Napa Valley.
- Wine Tourism Restaurant – The Napa Valley Wine Train, which offers a three-hour, 36-mile roundtrip excursion from Napa to St. Helena, as well as freshly-prepared lunch or dinner, on a fully-restored 1917 Pullman dining car or 1952 Vista Dome car.
- Wine Tourism Service – The Napa Valley Wine Trolley, a motorized replica of a late-1890s San Francisco cable car offering six-hour tours of four wineries and lunch.
These award winners offer something for everyone! If you would like more information, please contact us and we’ll help you with any aspect of your next Napa Valley vacation.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Tour Vin Reports: Napa Valley On Road to Recovery
Published on: October 24th, 2017
* Photo Credit: Azur Wines
Napa, Sonoma and surrounding areas have just begun to recover from the unprecedented Valley fire and the disaster left in its wake. Finally, only hot spots remain, but many residents have lost their homes and businesses, and continue to need help. Of course, both monetary and personal item donations are needed, but the best way to help the Valley in its recovery is to VISIT and enjoy great food and wine at your favorite venue!
The folks at the Napa River Inn say, “Napa is ready for visitors! Tasting rooms and wineries have re-opened; balloons are flying again and restaurants are ready to take your reservation!”
Tour Vin recently discovered that some travelers are reluctant to visit the Valley to enjoy themselves after what everyone has experienced. To that, James Cole Estate Winery said, “The opposite is quite true. We need you, the Valley needs you now more than ever!”
Contact us to help plan your next trip to Napa Valley!
* Photo Credit: Azur Wines
Tour Vin – Holiday Happenings in Napa Valley
Published on: September 27th, 2017
It’s not too early to book your holiday plans in Napa Valley! The Napa Valley Harvest is well under way with red grapes being picked as I type. De-stemming, the crush and the fermentation process will be the focus in the weeks to come. At the same time, the entire Valley is preparing for holiday celebrations that offer something for the entire family.
Napa Valley Santa Wine Train
A favorite holiday activity enjoyed by the young ones is the Napa Valley Santa Wine Train. This 90-minute, Christmas train ride to the North Pole offers music, games and entertainment, as well as refreshments. The storyline of the ride is that the Jolly Bear was left behind at the train station and will not make it to Santa’s workshop to be officially named Santa Train Conductor Bear. The happy outcome is what you’d expect, and the ride ends with a toy teddy bear for the kids!
Holidays in Yountville:The Brightest Town in Napa Valley
If twinkling lights and beautiful street décor are to your liking, check out Holidays in Yountville: The Brightest Town in Napa Valley. Yountville, known for its award winning restaurants, hotels and tasting rooms, goes all out in creating a magical holiday experience. Walking through the town, guests enjoy the glow of thousands of lights, holiday music and beautiful, decorated shops.
The Restaurant of Meadowood Napa Valley
Many of our guests have visited The Restaurant at Meadowood Napa Valley and have had nothing but great things to say about the food, wine and service. No surprise here – it’s rated a three-star Michelin restaurant.
During the holiday season, Meadowood also offers something special – The Twelve Days of Christmas Charitable Extravaganza. Beginning December 8, the restaurant invites well-known international chefs to collaborate daily with Chef Kostov to create a unique dining experience. This year’s celebration benefits a non-profit organization that provides elementary school scholarships to young children.
Napa B&B Holiday Tour & Taste
How would you like to tour eight to ten different B&Bs while enjoying food, wine and music? This very unique holiday experience, the Napa B&B Holiday Tour & Taste, is held in December, and is a great way to visit some of the B&Bs you’ve been thinking of booking for future trips. Reservations are limited to this event.
Have a safe and sane Halloween!
Tour Vin – Napa Valley Harvest Season
Published on: August 21st, 2017
Harvest season is one of the most exciting times of the year in Napa Valley. This year’s official harvest kick-off date was August 7 when Mumm Napa began harvesting their Pinot Noir grapes to make their famous sparkling wines!
The harvest season lasts about three months and involves different stages of grape picking. During the first stage, the grapes destined for sparkling wines are picked. Next, white wine grapes are collected. Grapes used for making red wines take longer to mature, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, and are harvested last.
Harvest is also the time of year when wineries love to celebrate. Annual winemaker dinners abound to showcase not only wonderful wines, but they also combine food, music and tours to create an amazing experience.
As you travel through the Valley, you may realize you hear cannon noise coming from the vineyards. Not to worry; firing the cannons is an easy way to scare off the birds who are trying to enjoy some of the great fruit! Interested in observing the hustle of vineyard activity? We suggest a trip before the end of September (just to be safe!).
If grape stomping is on your bucket list, this is the time of year to visit Wine Country – advanced reservations are a must!
Napa Valley Concierge
Tour Vin – Wine Bars Are Upping Their Game!
Published on: July 25th, 2017
Tour Vin just returned from a week-long tour of Napa Valley where we visited new food, wine and hotel venues. This month, we would like to introduce you to three wine tasting rooms in Napa that are well worth a visit.
Wines On First (Jean Edwards Cellars, Pure Cru and J.McClelland)
This time around, our focus was Jean Edwards Cellars (JEC) where we were hosted by Stewart, our hospitality wine guru. JEC sources their grapes from some of the finest regions in Napa Valley, primarily Pritchard Hill and Spring Mountain, from which most of their production is Cabernet Sauvignon.
The JEC winery was recently named “2017 Best Boutique Winery and Tasting Room” by Napa Valley Life Magazine and Kian Tavakoli, JEC’s winemaker since 2004, was named one of the top three winemakers of Napa Valley! Our favorite wine was the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from Mt Veeder-Yates Family Vineyard.
Stop in and tell them that Ed sent you!
Opened in May 2017, this venue incorporates a high-end art gallery with a small wine bar while offering exceptional wines. Acumen offers three intimate tasting options:
- Enjoy the Mountainside Tasting of current releases
- A PEAK Tasting (that’s Atlas Peak) featuring a single vineyard reserve
- A portfolio tasting of current releases, as well as their PEAK wines, in the private dining room space
The Acumen wine tasting team is amazing. We recommend you ask for either the Wine Gallery Manager, Jennifer, or the Estate Ambassador, Marian.
The Ellman Estate is currently under construction (they took us for a tour through the site), so tasting is in downtown Napa at the Ellman Tasting Gallery. Wine offerings include a Sauvignon Blanc, a Cabernet Sauvignon, a proprietary Red Blend and a Pinot Noir.
Ellman’s Cabernet Sauvignon is special because they source their grapes from Beckstoffer George III and Stagecoach Vineyards. VIP tastings are by appointment only, and make sure to ask for Adriana – her knowledge of the vineyard’s wines is second to none!
This year’s Crush will be sometime in September, so it’s wise to make your Napa Valley reservations early! Contact us to help plan your customized Napa Valley vacation.
Napa Valley Concierge
Tour Vin – Napa Valley Wine Train
Published on: June 19th, 2017
One of the most popular venues in Napa Valley is the Napa Valley Wine Train. Departing from downtown Napa, the full-day rail trip experience includes a multi-course dining experience combined with a tour and wine tasting at one of the Wine Train’s outstanding partner wineries. Riding in the vintage, 100-year old cars is truly a one-of-a-kind experience!
The Legacy Tour
On June 15, the Napa Valley Wine Train began offering a new experience to guests – The Legacy Tour. Guests who sign up for The Legacy Tour will visit three of the most popular Napa tour and tasting wineries, including Robert Mondavi, Charles Krug and V. Sattui.
The Legacy Tour begins at 10 a.m. when guests are greeted with champagne and treated to a light gourmet breakfast. The first stop on the train tour and first private wine tasting is at Robert Mondavi Winery. Once en route to the second winery, Charles Krug, guests are served their choice of entrée while they appreciate the beautiful scenery of the surrounding valley.
Upon arrival at Charles Krug, guests experience a second private tasting. Guests then reboard the train and make their way to V. Sattui Winery, the Napa Valley venue known for their picturesque picnic setting and Italian marketplace. To top off the day and complete the tour, a decadent dessert and cheese course is served to guests while riding back to Napa.
We suggest you sign up well in advance for Napa Valley Wine Train’s new Legacy Tour as it’s already gaining popularity. Contact us to help plan your next trip to Napa Valley!
Napa Valley Concierge