If you’re looking for the spirit of the Napa Valley, you’ll find it in the creative talents who power its businesses—and wineries are just the beginning. There’s a diverse and dynamic community of makers at work across the Napa Valley in restaurant kitchens, artist studios, and wellness centers, to name a few. You’ll be fascinated by the work of these locals and inspired to experience the Napa Valley for yourself.
Fine Dining: Elevating the Locavore Experience
From a powerhouse chef duo to an olive oil master, to a Paris-trained chocolatier, we round up the Napa Valley’s most innovative culinary talents, incorporating local bounty and artistry into their work.
- Meet the France-Trained Pastry Chef Who is Bringing Fine-Dining Quality Chocolate to a Wider Audience
Meet Wendy Sherwood of La Forêt
Wendy Sherwood is the France-trained pastry chef behind La Forêt who is bringing fresh fine-dining quality chocolate to a wider audience.
>>Now, read more about her story in our Makers of the Napa Valley series.
Wine & Spirits: Pursuing a Passion for Winemaking
If you’re looking to imbibe, look no further than the Napa Valley. Get an inside look at the world of wine and craft cocktails—from an acclaimed female winemaker to a fourth-generation cooper to a power couple committed to creating seasonal, small-batch cocktails from local wine.
>> Interested to learn more? Here’s why Napa Valley’s wines rival those of Italy.
- See How This Husband-and-Wife Team Make Seasonal, Small-Batch Spirits from Local Wines
- Meet a Fourth-Generation Cooper Who Makes Wine Barrels the Traditional French Way
Meet Pam Starr of Crocker & Starr Winery
Crocker & Starr’s trailblazing winemaker is translating the flavors of St. Helena’s complex terroir into her Cabernet varieties.
Art + Culture: A Celebration of the Handmade
Meet the artists who help make the Napa Valley a destination sparkling with creativity. You’ll learn how landscapes, colors, and light, particularly at dusk, influence their work and keep them constantly inspired.
- These Artists Are Key Players in the Napa Valley’s Thriving Creative Scene
- A New Arts District Is Transforming Napa
Meet The Baker Sisters of Ehlers Society
Melissa and Mercedes Baker are part of the Napa Valley’s burgeoning arts community and are the founders of the Ehlers Society, a group of collaborative multidisciplinary artists.
>>Learn more about this creative artists’ collective in our Makers of the Napa Valley series.
Wellness: Reimagining Traditional Therapies
Calistoga is one of California’s oldest destinations. In 1862, a developer hoped to lure early wellness travelers to the area’s hot springs. More than 150 years later, they continue to come for its mineral-rich mud and purifying waters.
>>Craving a getaway to relax? Check out our Girlfriends’ Guide to the Napa Valley, where we highlight the area’s top spa experiences.
Meet Helen Brown of Spa Solage
Spa Solage’s executive director is putting her own stamp on the area’s time-tested therapies.
Outdoors & Nature: A Commitment to Sustainability
Just as the grapes love the blissful climate of the Napa Valley, so do other crops. An agrarian community at heart, Napa Valley is home to both wineries and farms that are committed to environmentally friendly practices. Here, we profile a sustainability leader who is paving the way for 360º farming.
>>Looking for more outdoor adventure? Here are 5 Local’s Tips for Getting Active and Outdoorsy in the Napa Valley.
Meet Chris Hall of Long Meadow Ranch
Chris Hall is the EVP and COO of Long Meadow Ranch who has increasingly led its expansion into diversified, 360-degree farming.
>>Learn more about his commiment to sustainability in our Makers of the Napa Valley series
Plan Your Next Trip
Looking for more inspiration? We turned to the ultimate resource—Napa Valley’s locals—to give you insights on where to eat, sleep, sip, and play with AFAR’s Guide to the Napa Valley.