BottleRock Mixes More Than Music, Food And Wine

Billy Idol at BottleRock

Photo Credit: BottleRock Napa Valley

In what seems like overnight, BottleRock Napa Valley has grown into one of this country’s top annual music festivals, luring fans from around the nation to see energetic performances by Billy Idol, Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Foo Fighters, Snoop Dogg and other high-wattage entertainers in past years. But BottleRock, presented by JaM Cellars, isn’t just three days of great music, food, wine and beer every Memorial Day Weekend. There is a commendable giving back and sustainability component to BottleRock that makes splurging on VIP and platinum level passes as easy as enjoying chilled rosé on a hot summer day.

Django Walker and Tyler Reeve

Photo Credit: Brooke Stevens

A bevy of local organizations that serve the Napa Valley community have benefitted from BottleRock’s giving back program while oodles of local schools have received donations from BottleRock. Following the North Bay fires in 2017, BottleRock Presents promoted and co-promoted a series of benefit concerts that raised $23.4 million for wildfire relief. Not only have tons of water refill stations sprinkled throughout the BottleRock grounds allowed concertgoers to eliminate 117,200 plastic water bottles but BottleRock’s recycling and composting programs kept 177 tons of waste out of landfills last year. This year, BottleRock buses from nine cities are among the alternative transportation options encouraged to help keep cars off the road. I hope to see you at the festival!

Kylie Rae Harris and James Otto

Photo Credit: Brooke Stevens

While BottleRock has solidified its place in Napa, an exclusive, boutique music festival series that takes place in beautiful destinations called Songwriters in Paradise (SIP) proved in its Napa debut in March that it is here to stay. I had the pleasure of attending two of the four nights of SIP Napa and truly loved the intimate and touching “in the round” shows where the world’s top songwriting and performing talent take the stage together to play and share stories.

Michelle Baggett, Robin Baggett, Patrick Davis

Photo Credit: Brooke Stevens

After the fabulous SIP Napa experience at Alpha Omega winery, which ended with Chris Barron (yes, he of The Spin Doctors fame) leading everyone in singing his classic Two Princes, I bonded with Texas-based singer-songwriter Kylie Rae Harris, then was treated to a memorable, impromptu green room performance by Nashville-based singer-songwriter Patrick Davis who created Songwriters in Paradise. What fun!

Chuck McMinn

Photo Credit: Jonathan Herre Photography

The next night at vintner David Duncan’s Silver Oak winery, I chatted with country music artist James Otto about the growing music connection between Nashville and Napa, and like everyone else in the audience, teared up when Ashley Campbell spoke about writing the song Remembering about her late father Glen Campbell’s struggles with Alzheimer’s. Admirably, proceeds from SIP Napa went to Notes for Education, which supports arts education for today’s youth in Napa and Nashville, and the Boys & Girls Club of St. Helena and Calistoga. Thank you, Patrick and David, for bringing SIP to Napa. I can’t wait until next year.

Doug Shafer and Annette Shafter

Photo Credit: Jonathan Herre Photography.

Also, in March, I was honored to sit at the table Alpha Omega winery purchased at the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition’s annual Loco-Motion fundraiser. The evening was extra special because it honored Annette and Doug Shafer just days after the passing of Doug’s beloved, 94-year-old father John Shafer, who founded Shafer Vineyards in the 1970s and was one of the valley’s most passionate philanthropists—not to mention trailblazers. In comparing the Vine Trail, a bike and walking trail that one day will stretch the length of Napa Valley, to his father, Doug used words such as big, bold, risky, pioneering and dream. Eighteen miles of the 47-mile path are already a reality thanks to a coalition founded by Chuck McMinn and the support of Annette, Doug and many others. As Doug told the Loco-Motion attendees, in 2025, his granddaughter will be eight years old, and his desire is to bicycle south with her from St. Helena to Yountville, have lunch and pedal back to St. Helena. For now, the trail goes from south Napa to Yountville. Visit to learn more and donate to help make Doug’s vision come true.