Five Things to Do in Wine Country in July


Napa Valley’s most elegant festival of the year, an exciting new food and wine experience in Healdsburg and an indulgent wine and shoes party in St. Helena, these and more happening in Wine Country in July.

Feast your soul on Festival del Sole

Napa Valley’s most elegant event of the year, Festival del Sole offers 10 days of more than 60 live performances, food, wine, art and wellness programs for everyone.  Attend one of the all-encompassing programs such as the Vintner’s Luncheon at Hess Collection on Saturday July 20 which includes a patio wine reception, musical performance by pianist Marika Bournaki in the private gallery of the extensive contemporary art collection and farm-to-table luncheon in the West Gallery.  Donald Hess has opened his art collection to the Napa Valley public since 1989. 


Last year’s concert at Far Niente Winery. Photo Vi Bottaro

Also recommended on the same day is the reception, dinner and concert at the elegant 1885 estate of Far Niente Winery in Oakville.  The vocal performance by internationally renowned soprano Frederica von Stade is sponsored by Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem

The Far Niente event is part of an evening pass ($650 pp) that also includes 24 Hour Plays and a late-night reception at Ma(i)sonry, the art, design and wine tasting gallery in Yountville.  The Hess vintner lunch is part of an all-day VIP package ($1,000 pp) that includes 24 Hour Plays, an art and wine reception at the Napa Valley Museum featuring the current Miles Davis exhibit and the Far Niente dinner and concert.

Festival del Sole includes several free performances including wellness talks at the calm oasis of LEED Platinum Bardessono and Bouchaine Young Artist Concerts taking place at the historic Jarvis Conservatory near Downtown Napa.  Check the website for full schedule, prices and packages.


Courtesy Wine, Women & Shoes

Sip into stilettos at Wine, Women & Shoes in St. Helena

Grab a group of girlfriends for an afternoon of fun indulgence at Charles Krug Winery on Saturday, July 27 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. where you can sip, sample and shop for shoes, accessories and jewelry to your heart’s desire.  Also on tap, live and silent auctions, a fashion show and fun photo shots of you and your friends.  Proceeds of Wine, Women & Shoes benefit Napa Emergency Women’s Services.  $175 pp or $250 VIP including valet parking, tableside seating at the fashion show and a swarm of attentive Shoe Guys.  Charles Krug, 2800 Main Street, St. Helena.


Lounge dining at Partake by Kendall-Jackson

Partake in Healdsburg’s surprising new food and wine lounge

Kendall-Jackson’s new “tasting lounge and flight club” Partake is not just another tasting room that offers food and wine pairings, it’s one of the best new eateries in Wine Country.  The 55-seat restaurant is casual yet elegant, with comfortable seating and gorgeous upcycled pepperwood tables.  Grape chandeliers add modern contrast to the estate photographs that line the walls and to a century-old vine.


Mirror reflects entry to the lounge side of Partake by Kendall-Jackson

Executive Chef Justin Wangler creates surprising, fun yet serious dishes using grape and wine products that really sets it apart, such as grapeskin flour battered tempura Maitake mushrooms, Liberty Duck breast with verjus cherry jam and and Rocky Jr. “coq au vin” with red wine flour pasta.  A la carte and tasting menu items feature delicious and inventive vegetable dishes, whose ingredients are sourced from a total of 10 acres of organically-farmed gardens including the 3-acre Wine Center garden now overseen by former French Laundry head gardener Tucker Taylor.  Wangler plans to always offer about half of the menu in garden-to-table vegetable dishes.  Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.  241 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg


Courtesy Handley Cellars

Taste Mendocino during Anderson Valley’s first annual barrel tasting event

This is a great time to taste Anderson Valley Pinot Noir wine futures, right before they’re bottled.  Chat with winemakers and taste a range of pre-release, current vintage and library wines covering the range of varietals from Anderson Valley such as aromatic whites, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.  The event takes place at participating wineries July 27-28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., costs $20 pp for weekend pass including logo glass.  Various locations.


Courtesy The Barlow

West of West Wine Festival at The Barlow in Sebastopol

Plan ahead for the third annual WOW wine festival August 2-4 where over 40 of the very best West Sonoma Coast vintners will be pouring cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at grand tasting events on both Saturday and Sunday.  The weekend exploration includes fascinating seminars on Saturday covering the new Fort Ross Seaview appellation and a global Syrah perspective with blind tasting, and in-depth vineyard tours on Sunday.  Tickets range from $100 – $450 pp, check the website for schedule, packages and dinners.  The Barlow event center, 6770 McKinley Avenue, Sebastopol.

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