Rows of vines stretched across hills that rolled into a backdrop of mountains, set against a clear blue sky. On a long wooden table, fresh-from-the-garden brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes arrived in a delicious multi-course meal, perfectly paired with local wines.
This was just one moment of an AFAR Experience in the legendary Napa Valley. For two days in January 2019, AFAR Experiences Napa Valley brought 40 AFAR readers here, making unique discoveries and connecting with some of the valley’s most influential people. Craftsmanship, history, and scenery were all on the menu—as was, of course, great food and world-class wine.
When in Napa Valley, what better place to start than where the vines do—in the ground? Bob Biale, a third-generation Napa Valley vintner, discussed with the group the area’s essential role in agricultural history—a lesson that any visitor to Robert Biale Vineyards can also pick up. And the CIA at Copia was the setting for an interactive workshop in terroir. Here, participants tasted all 16 of the valley’s sub-appellations (because someone has to do these tough jobs) in CIA’s state-of-the-art center, where many more classes—and spectacular meals—are offered.
Of course, exploring the valley’s outdoors is a must, walking its lush rolling hills and witnessing its endless rows of perfectly aligned vines. Each day included interactive small-group sessions to get outside while meeting locals and absorbing their expertise. One of those sessions involved a biodynamic vineyard hike, followed by barrel tastings, with Quintessa winemaker Rebekah Wineburg. Another group learned how to prune vines with Opus One winemaker Michael Silacci. While wine may dominate any visit to Napa Valley, there’s much more here. Other groups took part in activities like making glass art in the studio of renowned artist Gordon Huether and cooking with star chef Victor Scargle in the gourmet kitchen of Napa’s 1888 Queen Anne Victorian Ackerman Heritage House.
Speaking of food, sampling local cuisine—and meeting its makers—is a central part of every AFAR Experience, and Napa didn’t disappoint. An elegant multi-course lunch in the exquisite garden of Round Pond Estate was followed by dinner with notable Napa Valley residents, who graciously opened their own homes to the group.
That extended to the celebratory final dinner, which took place in the dazzling home of Jean Charles Boisset, one of the valley’s most dynamic vintners. His exceptional wines were paired with an otherworldly meal from Charter Oak. It was the perfect opportunity to connect on a very personal level with those who are helping to continuously evolve the Napa Valley experience.
Check out all your options to create the perfect Napa Valley experience at VisitNapaValley.com.