Wth the mustards in full bloom, this isn’t just a beautiful time to drive down Highway 29 or the Silverado Trail in the Napa Valley to take selfies in the fields. There are also an abundance of activities taking place that will give you even more reason to escape San Francisco. Here are four haute Napa Valley events that you don’t want to miss this March.
CabFest Napa Valley
CabFest Napa Valley
March 4-6, 2016
This three-day celebration in Yountville of world class Cabernet Sauvignon paired with culinary offerings from the top chefs in Napa Valley is a must for those who enjoy the varietal that the Napa Valley is most known for. The festival kicks off on the Lincoln Theater main stage with a Mat Kearney concert on Friday, March 4, followed by an exclusive “Cigars and Guitars” afterparty. The wine tasting begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday in the Grand Foyer of the Lincoln Theater, where patrons will be able to sample product and interact with representatives from over 100 wineries. The weekend is full of unique events including interactive symposiums lead by “Wine Bible” author Karen MacNeil, boutique tastings from small batch Cab producers and elegant VIP parties featuring special musical guests. cabfestnapavalley.com
Flavor! Napa Valley
Photo Credit: Visit Napa Valley
Flavor! Napa Valley
March 16-20, 2016
The five-day food and wine festival, which supports programs and scholarships at The Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Campus in St. Helena, returns for its fifth year. Featuring 40 events, Flavor! Napa Valley showcases the finest in farm-to-table cuisine and world-class wines with a series of local and celebrity chef demonstrations in addition to intimate winemaker workshops, tastings and exclusive experiences. Truly the highlight of this year’s Flavor! Napa Valley will be A Celebration of the Judgment of Paris Wine Dinner, starring CIA all-star alumni chefs, on Thursday, March 17 at Silverado Resort and Spa. This marks the 40th anniversary of the 1976 Judgment of Paris wine tasting, the blind tasting that revolutionized the world’s opinion of California, and especially Napa Valley wines. Participating chefs include Matthew Accarrino, SPQR (San Francisco); Bradley Ogden, Lark Creek Restaurant Group; Justin Yu, Hawker Fare (Oakland); and Larry Forgione (Culinary Institute of America). You’ll toast the 40th anniversary with wines from Chateau Montelena, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Freemark Abbey, Spring Mountain Vineyard, Heitz Wine Cellars, Clos du Val Winery, and Veedercrest Wines. flavornapavalley.com.
Wine Train Pride Ride
Wine Train Pride Ride
March 19, 2016
The Napa Valley Wine Train’s sixth annual LBGT celebration will again offer fine food, delicious wines, gorgeous scenery and a festive atmosphere. But this year’s ticket to the March 19 “Wine Train Pride Ride” comes with a bonus: Proceeds will benefit the groundbreaking Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation, which supports HIV services, hunger programs and support for homeless and disenfranchised youth. The festivities start with a tasting of JCB’s outstanding No. 69 Crémant de Bourgogne with Pianist Andrew Moore setting the intimate mood. Sipping the pink-hued bubbles, guests will mingle with prominent Napa Valley LGBT wine professionals Cezanne Hendricks, Christopher Barefoot, Eric Murray, Ryan Graham and David Mahaffey. Riding in each rail car, one of these esteemed experts will share their knowledge and guidance with wine choices as diners enjoy an exquisite multi-course culinary experience created by Executive Chef Kelly Macdonald. Upon return, the Wine Train Depot will transform to Funky Town, the hot after party with entertainment featuring Mistress of Ceremonies, the incomparable Daft-née Gesuntheit. http://winetrain.com/package/pride-ride/
Photo Credit: Kelly E. Carter
March 31-April 3, 2016
The second annual Yountville Live, the country’s ultimate and intimate food, wine and music celebration takes place in Yountville, the culinary capital of the Napa Valley and features a star-studded line-up of rock-star chefs, the finest Napa Valley wines, and chart-topping musical acts to offer special up close and personal, semi-acoustic sets by Goo Goo Dolls, American Idol winner Kris Allen, Mayer Hawthorne, and Plain White T’s with emerging artist performances sprinkled throughout the weekend.
Dozens of the valley’s celebrated vintners will provide their best wines to pair with culinary creations by the country’s most renowned and passionate restaurateurs and Michelin-rated chefs. Dozens of the valley’s celebrated vintners, including Trinchero Family Estates, Jessup Cellars, Handwritten Wines, Grgich Hills Estate, Cliff Lede Vineyards, Franciscan, Clos du Val, Peju, Paraduxx, Ma(i)sonry, Priest Ranch, Robert Mondavi Winery, Provenance, Hewitt and Somerston, among others, provide their best wines to pair with culinary creations by the country’s most renowned and passionate restaurateurs and Michelin-rated chefs. The Yountville Live culinary lineup includes Napa Valley favorites Michael Chiarello (Bottega Napa Valley in Yountville), ‘Top Chef’ Victor Scargle (The Culinary Institute of America at Copia), and Bob Hurley (Hurley’s Restaurant in Yountville), combined with the iconic Las Vegas chef Grant MacPherson (Bellagio and Wynn in Las Vegas, and Raffles in Singapore), the legendary Julian Serrano (Picasso, Aria, Lago in Las Vegas), nationally acclaimed James Beard Foundation award winning pastry chef Gale Gand (Tru, Spritz Burger in Chicago), and among others. http://yountvillelive.com.
What’s ahead in the Napa Valley in April
For you planners, you’ll also want to mark your April calendar for these must-attend events:
Arts in April: The sixth annual Napa Valley Arts in April officially kicks off on April 7, 2016 with the opening of Napa Valley Collects at a reception at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville, and closes with the ENGAGE Art Fair April 30 and May 1, 2016 at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga. During that time you’ll have more than 75 opportunities to explore and experience the wealth of art and artists from American Canyon up to Calistoga. For more on the events, go to visitnapavalley.com
Calistoga Food and Wine Event: Solage Calistoga is turning up the heat this spring for the third annual Calistoga Food and Wine Event. From Friday, April 22 to Sunday, April 24, the annual epicurean festival created in partnership with Calistoga Wine Growers, will take guests on an intimate pilgrimage through Calistoga’s world-class culinary attractions. Led by Executive Chef Brandon Sharp of seven-time Michelin Star-rated Solbar restaurant at Solage Calistoga and Evangeline in downtown Calistoga, the weekend will feature a series of exclusive wine tastings and festive dining experiences showcasing the talents of world-renowned local and global chefs and award-winning wineries at hotspots throughout Calistoga. calistogafoodandwine.com
HALL Cabernet Cookoff: Back for its seventh year which return for its seventh year on Saturday, April 23. The annual event will feature an impressive lineup of both Napa Valley and San Francisco based chef teams vying for a chance to win money for a charity of their choice, by participating in a food and wine pairing challenge. 100% of ticket sales benefit Napa Valley non-profit organizations. Chef teams involved create seasonal bites that pair well with HALL’s signature Cabernet Sauvignon and present it to an all-star panel of judges who vote for two Judges’ Awards. Chef teams are also judged by guests in attendance who vote for two People’s Choice Awards. All four awards are announced by Kathryn Hall, who presents checks to the winning chef teams and their selected charities, towards the end of the event. Trust us when we say this is a fun time! hallwines.com