A Decade of Sole: A Guide to the 10th Annual Festival Del Sole

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Bella Italia! Tribute to Sophia Loren at Far Niente , Photographer: Paul E. Richardson
Bella Italia! Tribute to Sophia Loren at Far Niente , Photographer: Paul E. Richardson

Every summer, the very best of music, dance, theater, wellness, food and wine come together in spectacular fashion at the Festival del Sole. Now celebrating its 10th landmark season, Napa Valley’s magnificent 10-day, premier cultural event offers festivalgoers the best artistic experiences that wine country has to offer. We present the highlights of this year’s event, an affair you definitely won’t want to miss.

Patron Dinner at Alpha Omega, Photo: Drew Alitzger Photography
Patron Dinner at Alpha Omega, Photo: Drew Alitzger Photography

Wednesday, July 15th—Saturday, July 18th

Let a two-day prelude exclusive to patrons, benefactors and major supporters get you in the mood for what’s ahead. After an intimate twilight preview concert in Calistoga Ranch’s private wine cave on Wednesday, the next night you’ll converge at Opus One for the exclusive founders dinner hosted by Opus One and Bouchaine Vineyards; the festival then officially kicks off to the public on Friday with a celebration at Castello di Amorosa. Following receptions atop the castle tower and the winery’s impressive Great Hall, head to the courtyard for a concert starring soprano Deborah Voigt. Afterwards, get ready for an elegant patron dinner inside the Barrel Room, hosted by the winery’s proprietor, Dario Sattui. Pace yourself, for this is only the start. On Saturday, those who are energetic can rise and shine for the inaugural 5K and 10K morning runs. Those who are less active can rest up before the festival’s signature event, Taste of Napa, a gourmet food and wine smorgasbord. A disco nap for both the early risers and late sleepers may be in order before the grand evening concert featuring the world premiere of new choral works by Gordon Getty and Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony followed by a patron dinner at Far Niente.

Festival Del Sol Opus One, Photographer: Susana Bates for Drew Altizer Photography
Festival Del Sol Opus One, Photographer: Susana Bates for Drew Altizer Photography

Sunday, July 19th

The Annual Festival Gala at Meadowood Napa Valley is, without a doubt, a real treat. You’ll enjoy a Hollywood + Vine evening— reminiscent of a nightclub during Hollywood’s Golden Era—filled with music and glamour on the newly-designed croquet glen and fairways. After an al fresco dinner, prepare to be taken back in time when the two-time Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey shows just how multi-talented he really is when he performs standards from the swing era and popular classics from the Great American Songbook. The high-energy, live auction is the fitting ending to a memorable night.

Zukerman Chamber Players at Castello di Amorosa. Photographer: Paul E. Richardson
Zukerman Chamber Players at Castello di Amorosa. Photographer: Paul E. Richardson

Monday, July 20th—Thursday, July 23rd

Try to go easy as you enter the second half of the festival, which includes another lineup of incredible events highlighted by the patron dinner at The Hess Collection on Monday evening. The momentum picks up on Tuesday with this year’s first Bouchaine Young Artist series concert featuring the Young People’s Chorus of New York City. On Wednesday, you may choose to start early with a concert at Jarvis Conservatory or simply wait until the Vintners Luncheon atop Howell Mountain at Aloft. In the evening, get ready for Moscow Nights, featuring world-renowned baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky and the Russian National Orchestra under the stars at Castello di Amorosa followed by a glorious patron dinner at V. Sattui. You’ll be in for a special treat on Thursday as well when music icon Herb Alpert and wife Lani Hall make their Festival debut in a night of sublime jazz, American Songbook favorites and Brazilian rhythms. Afterward, samba your way to the patron dinner at Charlie Palmer’s Harvest Table, where you’ll sip Silver Oak wines.

Friday, July 24th – Saturday, July 25th

Trust us when we say that Friday and Saturday will be two of the most exciting, action-packed days of the Festival. Start Friday off in style at the invitation-only Tiffany & Co. luncheon at Meadowood. The luxury brand will showcase a unique collection of extraordinary diamond and gemstone jewelry with the help of Chief Gemologist Melvyn Kirtley. After the afternoon of sparkles and bling, you’ll be prepared for an evening of major events starting with the rich and lively Dance Gala, part of the popular Dede Wilsey Dance Series. A rousing Allegro after party, in the historic Cask Room at Merryvale Vineyards, and an extraordinary patron dinner at Persian-inspired Darioush round out the electrifying night. Wake up Saturday to a revitalizing yoga session at Solage Calistoga before soaking up 360-degree views of Napa Valley at a vintner’s luncheon at Seven Stones Winery. A night of theater and celebrity awaits at Lincoln Theater, where Festival Live is sure to delight. You’ll receive a red carpet welcome at the patron dinner under the stars at the iconic Quintessa, where proprietors Valeria and Agustin Huneeus invite you to kick up your heels on the dance floor in the winery’s tank room following a gourmet meal.

Sunday, July 26th

Sad as it is, all good things must come to an end. Before they do, experience the Sunday brunch feast at St. Supéry’s historic Atkinson House. Later that evening savor the Festival’s final performance, violinist Midori, “Queen of the Strings,” and Hvorostovsky with the Russian National Orchestra. Toast 10 years of Festival fabulousness at the ultra-chic Odette Estate before you say your final arrivederci at the Vintner’s Collective-held wrap party. 

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