Haute Secrets: Vintners Michelle and Robin Baggett Share Their Napa Valley Guide

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Robin and Michelle Baggett
Robin and Michelle Baggett

Photo Credit: Patrice Ward

Michelle and Robin Baggett landed in the Napa Valley, in the Rutherford Bench to be exact, 10 years ago and revolutionized the wine industry when they opened Alpha Omega based on an 80 percent direct-to-consumer business model. The successful vintners—he’s a former general counsel for the Golden State Warriors while she’s began her multifaceted career in the development of hospitality brands before becoming a marketing whiz—are known for consistently turning out quality wines, their hospitality—Robin loves to flaunt his skills on the BBQ grill to their wine club members and at charitable functions—and giving back. The philanthropic pair are V Foundation for Cancer Research President’s Club members, previous vintner grant recipients and active in Auction Napa Valley. Robin, who has a baseball stadium named after him at California Polytechnic State University SLO, sits on the board of the Wine Institute, Festival Napa Valley and the First Tee of Monterey County while his wife is a founding board member of the Napa Valley Film Festival, sits on the St. Helena Hospital Foundation Board and is president of the Rutherford Dust Society. Together they share their guide to the Napa Valley.

Where were you born:
MB: Marietta Georgia. Yes I am a southern girl!
RB: Salinas, the same as my father. My family came from Texas in 1930 at the beginning of the depression. Read “Grapes of Wrath.”

How long in Napa:
MB: My husband and I began commuting to Napa from San Luis Obispo in 2005 and moved permanently in 2006 one we procured our winery Alpha Omega
MB: My wife and I began living part time in the historical Ink house in Rutherford fall of 2005 before starting Alpha Omega in 2006

Neighborhood:
MB:  We live in the Rutherford Dust, in the heart of Napa
RB: The Rutherford Bench, in the heart of Napa

Occupation:
MB: Winery Owner and sitting on several amazing boards such as St. Helena Hospital, Rutherford Dust Society and Napa Valley Film Festival
RB: Owner of two wineries Alpha Omega, in Napa and Tolosa in San Luis Obispo, where I also operate a cattle ranch, and Cypress Stables Equestrian Center in Carmel

Favorite Restaurant:
MB: Bistro Jeanty is the first Napa restaurant my husband and I had lunch together at and it keeps on drawing us back with their delicious menu.
RB: Bistro Jeanty. It has something for everyone and a special place for my wife and I.

Best Sushi:
MB & RB: R + D Kitchen has taken sushi to a new level…it is so fresh and tasty!

Best Italian:
MB: I have to go to North Beach or Scoma’s in San Francisco to satisfy my craving for authentic Italian food.
RB: Scoma’s

Best dessert:
MB: I’m not a dessert eater, but if I have a cupcake craving I have to go to Model Bakery in St. Helena
RB: Strawberry shortcake at home with my wife’s homemade biscuits!

Best place for a romantic date:
MB: Auberge de Soleil serves up the views and tranquility that make for a perfect date experience.
RB: Tapp Room in Pebble Beach. We love all of the TV’s!

Best Sunday brunch:
MB: Auberge de Soleil hands down. They make the best Bloody Mary’s. Ask for a bacon Bloody Mary!
RB: Auberge brunch makes Sunday mornings fun.

Best place for a power business meeting:
MB: The private rooms at our winery, Alpha Omega, or on the terrace
RB: Alpha Omega. Late meetings include wine service!

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend?
MB: Meadowood Napa Valley or Auberge de Soleil
RB: Meadowood Napa Valley, Auberge de Soleil or a spot in Yountville.

Favorite shopping venue/boutique:
MB: Helen Lyall in Napa carries some dynamo brands.
RB: Brooks Brothers. I love a good deal!

Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches:
MB & RB: Padis Jewelers

Best Spa:
MB: Meadowood Resort’s new spa is a beautiful and calming place to relax.
RB: I’m more of a gym guy than a spa guy.

Favorite Charity Event:
MB: Auction Napa Valley…the energy in the room is extreme
RB: Auction Napa Valley. It’s the biggest lifestyle auction in the world.

Favorite Cultural Event:
MB: Looking for the who’s who of Napa? It’s a tie between the Napa Valley Film festival and Festival del Sole, now known as Festival Napa Valley, where celebs from around the world come to Napa to experience amazing film, music, dance, wine and food.
RB: It’s a tie between the Napa Valley Film Festival and Festival del Sole, aka Festival Napa Valley. My wife and I sit on those boards.

Favorite Cultural Institution:
MB: Uptown Theater takes me back in time.

Best Steakhouse:
MB & RB: Press. You will always run into a lot of locals at this chop house.

Best Pizza:
MB & RB: Pizzeria Tra Vigne

Best Lunch:
MB: R + D Kitchen in Yountville is perfect for a lunch and business meeting.

RB: The Beach & Tennis Club at Pebble Beach

Best Gym/Athletic Facility:
MB: Meadowood Napa Valley not only has a great gym, there is tennis, croquet, golf and hiking trails. It has it all.
RB: Pebble Beach’s Beach & Tennis Club has excellent equipment and views.

Best Massage:
MB: Paul Voorhees in St. Helena, he is a healer!
RB: My barber Fred’s barbers chair.

Best Limousine/Driving Service:
MB: Napa Valley Wine Tours
RB: There are several good ones, but we have a few designated to drive our car.

Best Museum/Exhibit:
MB & RB: The Legion of Honor as it represents patriotism and exhibits outstanding historical treasures. It’s quite a monument for the City by the Bay.

Describe your city in three words:
MB: Beautiful, exciting, glorious
RB: Wonderful, giving people

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore:
MB: CIA and Inglenook
RB: The islands of San Francisco Bay on our yacht

All-around favorite spot in the Napa Valley:
MB: My back yard BBQing with my husband and border collies
RB: Any place where I can BBQ for charity

Best Aspect of the Napa Valley:
MB: Wine, food and plenty of hospitality!
RB: The wine and food experiences

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