Pairing Music & Wine Napa Valley Style at Live in the Vineyard
The Napa Valley was turning an autumnal palate of gold, red, and orange as we passed vineyards on our way to the opening reception for Live in the Vineyard. As we arrived at Provenance Vineyards it was the perfect autumn evening to be greeted with a glass of Malbec Rose or a crisp Sauvignon blanc. Passed hors d’oeuvres featuring a mélange of mushrooms, braised short ribs, and lamb delighted our senses, a glorious start to our weekend of indulgence.
Wine flowed effortlessly, and so did conversation. We were treated to a cooking demonstration by James Beard-winning chef Joey Altman, who shared some delicious appetizer recipes from his new cookbook and inspired us to cook fabulous bites for our friends.
An intimate concert was held in the barrel room, with hay bales for seating to enjoy the exclusive concert by Kodaline. As we sipped wine and the music enveloped us we felt privileged to enjoy this evening, which was only just beginning.
Before we knew it shuttles were transporting us back to the hotel to change into cocktail attire for the late-night party held at Copia. As guests arrived on the red carpet they posed for the paparazzi before joining the festivities.
Music beckoned and wine fortified us for the adventures yet to come. Wine was poured by Napa wineries, and waiters circulated appetizers. We danced to live music from several bands while enjoying the ambiance and wine.
A culinary event followed, held in Julia’s Kitchen. Guests felt as though they were watching the Food Network live. It was a fun yet late night as we arrived back at the hotel for a few hours of beauty sleep before the next day’s adventures.
The next morning, we were whisked away in a limo to be treated to more music and wine at Sutter Home Family Vineyards. The tasting room was overflowing with wine from their vast portfolio, while appetizers, cheese, charcuterie, and snacks complemented the wine selection.
The musical entertainment was John Ondrasik of the band Five for Fighting. He engaged us with his heartfelt tunes and soulful singing. In this intimate venue we experienced a connection with the artist you don’t get at a large concert venue.
After the concert, we sampled more wine and snacked on cheese and charcuterie. Sutter Home had arranged for us to participate in a wine education program in the historic Sutter Inn, built in 1884.
The Trinchero family has been making wine on the estate since 1947. While most famous for making White Zinfandel, the (red) Zinfandel is the true star, made from old vines in Amador County. The winery is seeing resurgence in off-dry wine, such as Moscato, and its bubbly Pink Moscato, which appeals to a younger generation of wine drinkers.
To make the education fun, we played a version of Wheel of Fortune, spinning a wheel and identifying aromas found in wine using only our sense of smell. It proved educational and entertaining for both teams. Our parting gift was a set of mini bottles of Sutter Home wines, perfect for airline travel.
Uptown Theater hosted the evening’s concert featuring emerging and known musicians. Groups performed several sets, with each group better than the last. Guests were on their feet, clapping and singing to the music. Held in Napa, wine and beer were available during the performance.
After a full day of tunes, wine, and good food, we indulged in a final glass of wine before turning in for the night. A million stars hung in the night sky as we strolled back to our hotel with a feeling of gratitude for this remarkable weekend.
Details: Live in the Vineyard is held twice yearly in April and November in Napa Valley. It celebrates music paired with wine and food for the lucky few that get to attend. They sell very few tickets so the only way to attend is to be invited or to win the trip through a radio promotion.
Dine: Angèle serves French cuisine in a rustic chic restaurant next to the river. We couldn’t resist the seasonal ingredients such as the fall apple salad with a selection of apples, chestnuts, and watercress, Brussels sprouts, and beet salad. We chose a bottle of 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from Trinchero, which paired perfectly with the roasted quail, creamed kale, and wild rice. Dessert included a quince tart and a butterscotch pot de crème—simply heavenly.
Stay: River Terrace Inn is conveniently located next to downtown Napa and the wineries. Guestrooms are spacious with comfy beds, silky sheets, and delightfully soft pillows; some rooms contain balconies with river views. Unwind at the outdoor fire pit while sipping wine at the end of the day. The heated outdoor pool offers relaxation, and Cuvée provides farm-to-table dining in a welcoming environment.
Sip: Sutter Home Family Vineyards is open for tasting daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is located at 277 St. Helena Hwy (Hwy 29) South in St. Helena, California. For more information, call (707) 963-3104 ext. 4208.