Over the last several weeks I have been sharing some highlights from Festival Napa Valley 2016, a 10-day celebration and of music, art, food, wine and dance that raises funds to enrich art and community programs in Napa Valley. It’s the third season in a row I have covered this event, formerly known as Festival del Sole.

This year I had the opportunity to attend most of the events on the Festival Napa Valley calendar, which was such a privilege. In my last post about Festival Napa Valley, I shared some unforgettable moments from the Tribute to Margrit Mondavi that took place at Far Niente.

This time, I want to tell you about one of my other favorite days attending Festival Napa Valley. The day began at Jarvis Conservatory in the city of Napa. Bill and I attended a concert which was part of the popular Bouchaine Young Artist Series.


Award-winning violinist Alexi Kenney performed this concert that was free to the community.


After Kenney’s outstanding performance concluded, we made our way up Napa Valley to St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery for the Festival Napa Valley’s Vintner’s Luncheon.

St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery is a 100% estate grown, Napa Valley winery that is sustainably farmed.

We were a bit early so we decided to walk around the grounds a bit. I have been to St. Supéry before, but it had been many years since my last visit even though I regularly buy St. Supéry wines. Their Sauvignon Blanc is almost always found in our refrigerator!


Such beautiful grounds with lots of trees and gardens and sculptures.

Festival Napa Valley 2016 St. Supery

Parts of the property remind me of Paris. Which reminds me to tell you that Chanel, Inc. bought the holdings from the Skalli family, St. Supéry’s founding family and previous owners, in 2015. Yes, that Chanel!


We took our time taking in the beauty of the winery. When I saw my husband standing in front of the ivy-covered wall at St. Supéry looking so handsome, I just had to snap his photo while he wasn’t paying attention.

Festival Napa Valley 2016 St. Supery

It was a beautiful summer day, despite the heat – typical July weather in Wine Country. It was lovely to sit in the shade by a fountain and enjoy the light breeze.  I could have stayed outdoors the entire time but there was wine to taste, food to eat and things to see!

Festival Napa Valley 2016 St. Supery

We made our way toward the entrance to the tasting room.

Festival Napa Valley 2016 St. Supery

And passed this chic patio area on the way. So Parisian looking!

Festival Napa Valley 2016 St. Supery

Once inside, we walked upstairs where were greeted with a glass of St. Supéry Sauvignon Blanc. On this level, there is an art gallery.

Festival Napa Valley 2016 St. Supery

While we were admiring the art, Emma Swain, CEO of St. Supéry, came into the gallery and showed us around. What a treat to meet her! She has had a long and successful career in the wine industry, is a Certified Public Accountant and currently serves as the Board Chair of the Napa Valley Vintners. Emma volunteers with several local charities and is an avid runner. She is warm, welcoming, interesting and has a great sense of both humor and style. Bill and I were delighted to share a table with her at the luncheon.

Emma showed us this gnarly grapevine that is on display in the gallery. It was taken from one of St. Supéry’s vineyards and exhibits how deep a grapevine’s roots can be and what the soil is like in this part of Napa Valley, the Rutherford growing region.

Festival Napa Valley 2016 St. Supery

After spending some time in the gallery, we made our way to the other section of the second floor, this stylish tasting area where a violinist and pianist entertained guests.

Festival Napa Valley 2016 St. Supery

Bill and I sat down to listen to them and enjoy some appetizers.

Festival Napa Valley 2016 St. Supery

Soon we were told it was time to make our way outside to the luncheon. Darling yellow parasols were on hand for guests to use on this sunny day.

Festival Napa Valley 2016 St. Supery

What a beautiful and relaxing setting on the lawn!

Festival Napa Valley 2016 St. Supery

Chef Britny Sundin of St. Supéry prepared a mouthwatering menu for us. The luncheon started off with St. Supéry Melon Salad with Blistered Padrón Peppers, Grilled Prawns, Feta, and St. Supéry Herb Vinaigrette.

Next we were served Grilled Pork Tenderloin with St. Supéry Garden Ratatouille, Watercress Purée, Crispy St. Supéry Garden Potatoes.

For dessert we had Dollarhide Stone Fruit Shortcakes with Buttermilk Buscuits with Dollarhide Ranch Peaches and Nectarines and Fresh Whipped Cream. As you can imagine, it was hard not gobble down every single morsel of this phenomenal meal!

The wine was spectacular too! We enjoyed 2015 St. Supéry Napa Valley Estate Rosé, 2012  St. Supéry Napa Valley Rutherford Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon and with our dessert we had 2014 St. Supéry Napa Valley Estate Moscato.

Festival Napa Valley 2016 St. Supery

After the luncheon, we went back to our hotel to relax, get a bit of work done and change our clothes for the next event. I was excitedly anticipating the evening’s event at Harvest Inn. It’s one of my favorite places in Napa Valley. In fact, I have written about it before on the blog here and here and here!

Festival Napa Valley 2016Harvest Inn

Chef and hotelier Charlie Palmer bought Harvest Inn in 2014 and has steadily been making fantastic and luxurious improvements to the woodsy and charming Wine Country property ever since.

Festival Napa Valley 2016 Harvest Inn

Chef Palmer was in attendance at this event and welcomed the crowd to the Full Moon Party. I regret not taking photos of the appetizers that were offered. We had a small roast beef sandwich that Bill and I are still talking about, it was that tasty!

Festival Napa Valley 2016 Harvest Inn

Along with wonderful food, a festive atmosphere, and a breathtaking setting, there was live music.

Festival Napa Valley 2016 Harvest Inn

One of the most exciting parts of the evening was watching a fire dance performed by Fire Fleye to live drumming. She captivated the audience with her amazing skills. It was truly unforgettable!

Festival Napa Valley 2016 Harvest Inn

I have even more to share with you about Festival Napa Valley in the coming weeks!

Pre-sale tickets for the next Festival Napa Valley are available online now.

Visit their website for details!


Make it a rich day!



Disclosure: I was asked to attend Festival Napa Valley and write about my experiences. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always.


A major highlight of my summer was experiencing Festival Napa Valley 2016, a 10-day celebration and of music, art, food, wine and dance that raises funds to enrich art and community programs. It’s the third season in a row I have covered this event, formerly known as Festival del Sole.

This year I had the opportunity to attend most of the events on the Festival Napa Valley calendar, which was such a special treat for me and my husband! I will be writing a few posts about this outstanding festival in the coming weeks. I would like to begin by sharing some unforgettable highlights from Festival Napa Valley’s Tribute to Margrit Mondavi that took place in late July.

Festival Napa Valley Tribute to Margrit Mondavi 4

As you may be aware, Margrit Mondavi passed away earlier this month on September 2nd, at the age of 91. Mrs. Mondavi was honored at this event for her longtime dedication to the arts, viticulture, education and the Napa County community – and beyond – for over four decades.

Wife of Robert Mondavi, who passed away in 2008, the two donated $35 million to University of California at Davis to create the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts and the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. In 1981, Margrit Mondavi launched the incredibly successful charity wine event, Napa Valley Wine Auction, currently known as Auction Napa Valley. This world-famous fundraising event has raised over $150 million for Napa County nonprofit organizations to date.

It’s an understatement to say Margrit and Robert Mondavi have left an indelible impression on Wine Country. They were instrumental in turning the area into the rich culinary, art and wine region it is today.

This tribute, underwritten by Mrs. Mondavi’s friends, philanthropists, art patrons and owners of Clos Pegase Winery, Jan Shrem and Maria Minetti Shrem, took place at Far Niente Winery in Oakville.

Far Niente a stunning winery nestled among trees and expansive vineyards at the base of the Mayacamas Mountain Range. This was our first visit to Far Niente. I have always been curious about this winery and was excited to see what awaited us at the end of their long, tree-lined driveway.

Built in 1885, the winery was abandoned at the start of the Prohibition, then purchased by Gil and Beth Nickel sixty years later in the late 1970s. A three-year restoration was complete in 1982, which was also the year winemaking returned to Far Niente. Far Niente produces fine Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines.

Once you drive down the long driveway, you come upon a magnificent stone building with climbing ivy and red geraniums in window boxes. I felt as though I was in Europe.


Before we made our way down the stairs to the event area, we stopped for a few photos. It was a warm summer evening and I chose an off-the-shoulder lace top with lightweight linen blend pants and heeled sandals. I carried my Louis Vuitton clutch and chose not to wear any jewelry except my diamond stud earrings.


As we made our way to the stairs, we could see the tent were the event was taking place through a pair of very old olive trees.


We made our way down to the reception area where people were starting to gather.


The tribute dinner would take place over a stone bridge and next to a gazebo and tranquil pond. Such a lovely and charming setting!


I ventured inside the tent before it started to fill up with guests so I could have a look around. The first thing that caught my eye was the stage in the middle of the tent against the the far wall. This 12-foot wall of fresh pink roses, created by Melody Raye Flowers, used roses from Passion Roses. The room smelled amazing!

Festival Napa Valley Tribute to Margrit Mondavi

The time, effort and attention to detail this piece required had to have been substantial. And in summer’s heat, no less!

Festival Napa Valley Tribute to Margrit Mondavi 2

The table decor was elegant and feminine. I loved the silver, ivory and pink color choices and the chandeliers were a gorgeous addition.


There were beautiful pink rose center pieces throughout.


Some well-known guests were due to arrive soon such as Sophia Loren!

Festival Napa Valley Tribute to Margrit Mondavi 5

From the end of the tent you could see the stone building in all its stateliness.


Once outside on the patio, Bill and I got a glass of Far Niente Chardonnay, mingled with guests and waited excitedly for Margrit Mondavi and Sophia Loren’s arrival.

Roses at Far Niente Festival Napa Valley

We also took in the gorgeous views around the property.


We got to see the stunning and alluring Ms. Loren arrive, wearing a long black sequin dress with pink flowers. She was with her son, Carlos Ponti Jr. and his wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Shrem. Mrs. Mondavi arrived shortly after guests were seated.

While we got acquainted with the other guests at our table, a slideshow was playing with video recordings of many of Margrit’s friends including Boz Scaggs, Jaques Pepin and Thomas Keller just to name a few, who all sent greetings and messages of gratitude. There were also photos of Margrit with her husband, Robert.


Once the guests were seated, Beth Nichols came out to greet the crowd. She soon introduced cookbook author, chef and TV personality Lidia Bastinich. Bill and I watch Lidia on PBS frequently and were so thrilled she was at the event. Lidia, along with her chef at New York’s Felidia, Fortunato Nicotra, created the menu for the evening.


What a culinary delight to enjoy this special dinner!


The wine was phenomenal, which was no surprise, and added to our already wonderful meal.


Not only was the dinner spectacular but so was the entertainment! Jazz saxophonist Dave Koz performed for guests.


Then double-Grammy nominated singer Monica Mancini took the stage to sing a couple of songs with Koz.


After the dinner and musical performances concluded, Margrit took over the spotlight and spoke to the crowd of about 300 guests. She thanked her friends for attending and recounted memories from her 40 years in Napa Valley.


I loved Margrit’s wry sense of humor and wit. At one point, she joked that she wished she had Sophia’s long legs.


After Margrit Mondavi spoke, the evening was about to conclude. But first, dessert. We walked outside onto the patio where there was an assortment of sweet bites and Dolce. Known as “Liquid Gold of Napa Valley”, Dolce is a late harvest wine and the perfect finish to the evening.


This magical scene greeted us as we walked to the valet for our car – fitting for such a magical night. There were so many pinch-me moments, I started to lose count!


Although I never had the chance to meet Margrit Mondavi in person, being in the same room with her, celebrating her countless impactful accomplishments and her contributions to the arts, the wine industry and our region was an honor and an experience I will always treasure.


Make it a rich day, friends!




Disclosure: I was asked to attend Festival Napa Valley and write about my experiences. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always.