5 Things to Do in Wine Country in April


Inspiring Napa Valley home and garden tours, eye-popping poster art at Silverado Vineyards, artist Heidi Barrett at Jericho Canyon and La Follette Wines’ new tasting room at The Barlow.  These and more happening in April in wine country.


1. Tour five gorgeous Napa Valley homes during Kitchens in the Vineyards

Beyond just kitchens, this premier home and garden tour gives visitors an inside look at the wine country lifestyle with entertaining in mind.  The beautifully designed indoor and outdoor living areas, dining rooms and kitchens, decorated with springtime floral arrangements and table settings, are sure to inspire.


Luxury hilltop home high above Crystal Springs Road. Photo Natasha Biasell

The five homes cover the diversity of wine country styles from contemporary, French mansion, Tuscan villa and California ranch, and includes this signature Howard Backen-designed hilltop home (above) featuring open, flowing spaces, multiple entertaining areas and infinity pool with breathtaking views.


Manoir Francais with formal garden. Photo Natasha Biasell

Get inspiration for outdoor living wine country style by exploring a variety of alfresco dining areas, beautiful gardens, vineyards, pools and sculptures on the tour.

Kitchens in the Vineyards self-guided tour takes place April 27 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., entry is $65 pp in advance, including appetizing bites.  For an exclusive sparkling wine tour of all five properties, attend the Preview Party on Friday April 26 beginning at 4 p.m., followed by dinner at the Cliff May-designed Robert Mondavi Winery, cost $225 pp.  Proceeds benefit Music in the Vineyards.


2. Catch a remarkable collection of advertising art at Silverado Vineyards


Marie Brizard & Roger/Curacao/Cherry Brandy by Leonetto Cappiello. Image courtesy Silverado Vineyards

During Arts in April in the Napa Valley, Silverado Vineyards invites visitors to view its large collection of dazzling Belle Epoche (1880-1920) poster art including four originals by Leonetto Cappiello.  An Italian artist and caricaturist living in France, Cappiello captured the joie de vivre in lifestyle products such as wines and spirits.

The docent-led tour also includes spellbinding panoramas by Thomas Hill such as Lands End (1886) and Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite (1901).  The indescribable beauty depicted in these majestic plein air paintings promoted the relatively unknown American West to those living on the East Coast.  The complimentary tour takes place every Thursday in April at 2 p.m. with two-for-one wine tastings and wine discounts on offer.  Call ahead to reserve.  6121 Silverado Trail, Napa.

Make sure to taste Silverado Vineyard’s 2009 Solo, a 100% estate, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine – a fresh, balanced and elegant style that is pure Stags Leap. 


3. Meet cult winemaker and artist Heidi Barrett at Jericho Canyon Vineyard


Photo courtesy Jericho Canyon Vineyard


Few people are aware of Heidi Barrett’s hidden talent as an artist.  During Arts in April, Jericho Canyon features her vibrant paintings of Napa Valley’s bounty.  Meet Heidi at an artist’s reception at the winery on April 5 from 4-6 p.m. Cost $20 pp including tasting of Jericho Canyon wine and Heidi’s personal label La Sirena, plus small bites.  Check the website for additional arts events at the winery throughout the month.  RSVP required for all at info@jerichocanyonvineyard.com  or call  (707) 331-9076.  3322 Old Toll Road, Calistoga


4. Taste La Follette Wines at The Barlow in Sebastopol


La Follette Wines new tasting room at The Barlow


Feel the excitement of upcoming openings at The Barlow with its spacious and bright rows of converted warehouses.  You’ll get a sense for the airy interiors by visiting La Follette Wines, a modern, skylit tasting room with high ceilings and roll up glass door.  Here, the focus is on North Coast Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as it should be.  Greg La Follette helped make Sonoma Coast wines famous when he was winemaker at Flowers and is a master at capturing, and communicating, regional Pinot Noir character.  Taste a flight of single-vineyard wines from Sonoma Mountain, Russian River Valley, Mendocino Ridge and more.  Open daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., 180 Morris Street, Suite #160, Sebastopol.


5. Visit a green winery for Earth Day month throughout California

Green wineries all over California are celebrating Earth Day in a special way including Santa Cruz Mountains vintners on Saturday April 20 and Livermore Valley vintners on Sunday April 21. 


Photo Ridge Vineyards


In Sonoma County, check out wineries during Dry Creek Valley’s Passport Weekend April 27-28 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., where over 50 vintners will offer special tastings, bites or activities.  Various locations, cost $120 for weekend or $70 pp for Sunday only.  This event always sells out.

Dry Creek Valley is known for old vine zinfandel exemplified by Ridge Lytton Springs.  Its green, A-frame barn style winery (above) is insulated with clay-covered straw bale, powered by solar and its vineyards farmed organically.

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