The Power of Three

The timing was spot on, as the world was learning more about the incredible wines that were coming from the region. With insightful vintners like Robert Mondavi and others, Napa Valley was now entering the world stage for fine winemaking. Robert Mondavi brought the idea of hosting a wine auction that would amplify this emerging reputation of Napa Valley’s quality wines and raise money for local health care needs. In tandem, the renown of the region’s wines steadily grew along with the success of the charity wine auction, which has now become the wine industry’s must-attend event each June. To date Auction Napa Valley has contributed $90 million to scores of health care organizations, adding youth service and affordable housing non-profit programs a dozen years ago, and is now the world’s most successful charity wine auction.

“Meadowood has had three goals since day one,” Harlan states. “Number one, continue to be a gathering place for the local community. Number two, to be a common ground for the Napa Valley Vintners. And number three, to be one of the finest country resorts in the world, focused on food and Napa Valley wines.”

Harlan also felt that while Napa Valley might become a tourist destination, it needed to be an authentic one, one that would remain grounded in its agricultural roots. It also had to remain true to its original character. To this end, a private membership program is still in place at Meadowood, and some 800 families enjoy its benefits.

Today, the rooms and cottages, built along the rolling hills above the fairways, offer rustically elegant accommodations—fit settings for enjoying a glass of Napa Valley’s finest while sitting on the deck watching groups of wild turkeys and deer walk past. Miles of hiking trails meander throughout the surrounding hills and grounds, where a health spa and croquet lawns joined the upgraded tennis courts and golf course. To manage all of these aspects, a team of professionals was assembled to execute the original vision of the ideal retreat in which to experience the traditional essence of Napa Valley.

At the root of that experience is, of course, the wine. Director of Wine & Cuisine Patrick Davila, Master Sommelier Gilles de Chambure, and Restaurant Sommelier Rom Toulon lead the property’s wine program, which includes nightly tastings, wine appreciation seminars, an extensive Napa Valley wine list, and guided area winery visits. “Meadowood is a common ground for the Napa Valley Vintners, a destination for wine enthusiasts and collectors, and club where many of our local vintners and growers come to relax and spend time with their families and to socialize with friends,” says Harlan. With prominent vintners and growers coming and going from the property each day, it’s easy to understand why the professional team’s commitment to exceptional wine experiences for guests and members alike is unwavering.

Of course, fine wine and fine food go hand-in-hand, and the dishes that come out of Chef Christopher Kostow’s kitchen at The Restaurant at Meadowood showcase the region’s bounty, simultaneously blending tradition with innovation. In his two short years at Meadowood, Kostow has earned quite the list of accolades—including two Michelin stars (also a testament to the service, which is overseen by Restaurant Director Nathaniel Dorn) and a rare four stars from the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Christopher’s entrepreneurial vision in the kitchen brought the culinary experience at Meadowood to a level that complements the commitment to excellence in grape growing and winemaking embraced by the Napa Valley Vintners,” says Harlan. “Because dining and wine go hand-in-hand, I believe this alignment is very important for us. Over the last four decades, Meadowood has evolved along with the Napa Valley itself. As such, the culinary evolution that’s taken place in The Restaurant at Meadowood over the last few years seems very natural to me.”