NAPA (THE VALLEY) Part One of Two – The Middle

Photo Courtesy of Visit Napa Valley

Photo Courtesy of Visit Napa Valley

I recently wrote about Napa (The Town) and said there was so much to cover, I would save the rest of the Valley for another day. There is much “up there” that I have to sub-divide this even further… so for now, let’s talk about Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford and we’ll save the rest for some other “other” day. Don’t know if we’ll ever get it all, but it’s a start.

One other note… there are a zillion great restaurants and winery venues. No way I can talk about them all, so I have just highlighted a few.

In keeping with our Mission Statement to share cool stuff you can use, we keep adding descriptions and links to suppliers of all kinds to our Ever-Expanding Meeting Resource Library. Bookmark It. You need an idea or a contact, go there. It’s a free searchable resource of “good”. Always Look There First.

So as promised… let’s move north.

Bardessono Napa Valley

Bardessono Napa Valley

Bardessono

This 62-room property has a Zen feel to it, assuming that Zen monks like to hang out by the roof-top pool and prefer luxury accommodations, great food and wine, a Spa (what is the sound of one hand massaging), and a high (and award-winning) level of service. I guess what I am saying is… it’s a nice place in the middle of Yountville and so walking distance to some of the best restaurants in Napa Valley (and therefore in the USA).

The resort offers 1664 square feet of meeting space, so it’s better for either a small high-end meeting or an incentive that does not require much indoor space. But… they do have some great outdoor space too for receptions/dinners and such. www.bardessono.com

Villagio and Vintage Inn 140 year old winery Yountville 

Villagio and Vintage Inn 140 year old winery Yountville 

Villagio & Vintage Inn

This gets complicated so bear with me. First, take a 140-year old winery, turn it into a Napa Valley marketplace in the middle of the food Mecca known as Yountville. Then build two hotels on either side… The Tuscan-styled Villagio Inn and Spa with 122 guest rooms and suites, and the French country manor-styled Vintage Inn with 80 guest rooms, suites and villas. Together they share 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting/event space and a Spa. It’s all good.

Oh… they are even adding a new 1062 sq. ft. Vintage House, complete with a glass elevator, marble boardroom table, built-in audio visual, separate private lounge area, and an adjacent outdoor patio with gorgeous views of the Mayacama Mountain range. So even more good (and yes I know that is bad grammar). www.villagio.com and www.vintageinn.com

Bottega Napa Valley

Bottega Napa Valley

Bottega Napa Valley and Ottimo

Located in the middle of Vintage Estates (between Villagio and Vintage Inn), Bottega Ristorante has long been a favorite venue for private dining (for groups from 12 to 120). There are three private rooms, plus you can also take over the whole place (il Tutto) that could accommodate up to 200. As an aside… the food and service is great. www.botteganapavalley.com

Just across from Bottega is Ottimo, a casual dining spot that can be taken over and transformed into a formal dining room for up to 100. One idea… have your dinner in Bottega and then walk over to Ottimo for late-night partying. I vaguely remember the days when that sounded like fun. www.ottimo-nv.com

napa-valley-lodge-for-meetings

Napa Valley Lodge

Part of the well-respected Woodside Hotel Collection, this 55-room hotel on the north end of town also offers 2540 square feet of meeting space (so good for a small meeting or incentive). They do not have their own restaurant but in Yountville, which has more Michelin stars per capita than any other city in the world, you can walk to at least 10 superb restaurants within minutes. www.napavalleylodge.com

Cliffe Lede Vineyards Yountville

Cliffe Lede Vineyards Yountville

Cliff Lede Vineyards (Yountville)

Located on 60 acres in the famed Stags Leap District, this beautiful venue offers five indoor and outdoor spaces for up to 150 guests. The contemporary steel and wood architecture, floor to ceiling glass doors, the beautiful vineyard views, museum-quality art, and the general feeling that Cliff Lede (the guy) really likes rock & roll, makes this a venue you should definitely consider. And as an extra note… they also own the Poetry Inn, a five bedroom luxury Inn perched directly above the property… just in case. www.ledefamilywines.com

B Cellars Vineyards and Winery Oakville

B Cellars Vineyards and Winery Oakville

B Cellars Vineyards and Winery (Oakville)

 I like wine but know nothing about it. These folks make good wine. They call it food-centric. I don’t know what that means either, but it sounds good. What I do know is that they have a beautiful setting (as in “nestled” in “lush sourroundings”) with vineyards, gardens, a honey bee aviary (not to mention a hen house), PLUS… they have a wine cave that can seat up to 100 guests for dinner. So… reception outdoors (as my mother used to say the bees won’t bother you if you don’t bother them) followed by dinner in their caves... excellent food paired with excellent wine (that goes with the food). One important point… they do not do weddings. Check them out at www.bcellars.com

auberge du Soleil Rutherford

auberge du Soleil Rutherford

Auberge du Soleil (Rutherford)

I have stayed in a lot of great hotels. I remember looking around my room at this 50-room super-luxury property and thinking… someone really took the time to think about what you would want to have or see in every part of the room, and then put the perfect thing there. What I am saying is, this iconic property really deserves to be called iconic.

Perfect for high-end meetings or incentives where the price is not really the point, it’s the experience (and the perceived ROI from that experience). What do I mean by that? I mean it’s expensive but only if you care about that. And, of course, their restaurant has a Michelin Star.

One small thing about Auberge du Soleil on weekends. There will be weddings. Just saying. https://aubergedusoleil.aubergeresorts.com/

Inglenook Rutherford Francis Ford Coppola

Inglenook Rutherford Francis Ford Coppola

Inglenook (Rutherford)

Not that it matters, but in 1879 the founder of the original wine estate was a Finnish sea-captain. Just had to get that in. More recently, the estate was purchased in 1975 by Francis Ford Coppola and he has spent the last 40+ years restoring the joint and making it pretty spectacular.

Groups can explore the caves (wine in hand) before heading to dinner in any one of the smaller private dining and tasting rooms, or, head up to the South Barrel Room (big doors, high-ceilings, turn-of-the-century 1000 gallon casks) for groups up to 200… plus it opens onto the Chateau terrace, ideal for after dinner cigars, port, or even outdoor movie projection. Francis did a good job. www.inglenook.com

Photo Courtesy of Visit Napa Valley

Photo Courtesy of Visit Napa Valley

The Napa CVB

Rather than keep repeating myself (see previous blogs), they are a great resource for everything Napa-ish. www.visitnapavalley.com

Again…Everything goes into the EVER-EXPANDING Meeting Resource Library that you can search at leisure.

AND… bookmark allthingsmeetings.com, share it with your colleagues, and click on everything. AND… come to one (or all) of our Trade Shows (next one is July 26th in San Jose) so you can meet suppliers and form your own relationships, AND… if there is something you want me to write about, tell me.