Enjoy the Theater? See Who’s at Uptown Theatre Napa Valley

August 16th, 2014

The Uptown Theatre is Napa’s own destination for fine, live entertainment. Nestled in the famous West End district, this stunning art deco masterpiece from 1937 showcases the finest entertainment. The Uptown is a historic landmark and offers a phenomenal, intimate, live experience with world class sound and site lines. The distance from the last row to the stage is a short 98 feet! So, every seat is a good seat in the Uptown.

See who’s coming in September:

Dana Carvey – Emmy-award winning comedian Dana Carvey has had an illustrious career and the Uptown is delighted to welcome this talented performer for a live show on Friday, September 26th

Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam – Join rock and roll Hall of Famer and co-founder of the legendary band, Traffic, Dave Mason for an evening of music history retracing the early days of Traffic and launching into his successful solo career, September 27th

Reserve a room at the Napa Valley Hotel and Suites and you can walk to the Uptown and local restaurants in no time! Our friendly team can help with directions and recommendations.

Napa Valley is world-renowned for its chefs and there are some great places to have a meal here. Most Napa chefs focus on the locally grown and sourced fruits, vegetables, cheese, meats, and wine to create delectable dining experiences.

Our location is uniquely suited to an early evening stroll and dinner before the theatre. The staff at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites can help you choose your dining spot, make reservations, and provide directions to get you there in time. After the theatre, top off your evening with a glass of wine and dessert at one of our many fine locations.

Call us at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites to reserve your suite and you have your perfect theater evening in Napa Valley. Call 707-226-1871 for more details and pricing.

The Basics of Harvest Season

August 11th, 2014

Grape crush season begins when the grapes start to turn color in mid to late summer. The actual picking of grapes happens between August and November in the Northern Hemisphere. This is an important time of the year for winegrowers that depend on wine production, such as those in Napa Valley.

Whether you plan on visiting Napa during grape crush season or not, understanding the basics of harvest season is good for everyone to know!

The Veraison Stage

Grape ripening begins with the growth period called veraison, which is where the fruit hangs from the vines and transforms from hard, small berries into soft, plump grapes. Vines enter this stage about 30 to 70 days depending on their type and the weather. The grapes begin to lose their green color and take on mature hues such as greenish yellow, red or purple. The grapes soften and enlarge, too. Although you can’t see it happening, the vine begins pumping sugars into the fruit while the acidity decreases.

The Ripening Stage

Veraison doesn’t happen at the same time for all grapes, even those on the same vine. Typically, the ones that are exposed to more sun and warmth get a head start on the process. Depending on the grape variety, the ripening process takes about 30 to 70 days after veraison. Growers monitor the grapes very carefully to ensure that they are ripening and getting sweeter. The higher the sugar, the higher the potential alcohol, since the sugars are fermented into alcohol.

The Harvest Stage

When the time is right, the harvest begins. Workers are sent out to pick individual parcels or rows. Some wineries still harvest grapes by hand, while others harvest them mechanically. The trouble with mechanical grape harvesters is that they can’t tell the difference between ripe, underripe or rotten grapes. But, they are faster and more efficient than by hand.

The Fermentation Stage

When the best grapes have been picked, they are crushed so that the yeast can start fermenting. Crush destemmers are used for this process to break open the skin and expose the juice and pulp. Winemaking begins with fermentation, and before you know it, wonderful wine selections are made!

Be a part of grape crush season by booking a summer package at Napa Valley Hotels and Suites!

Harvest STOMP – Annual Grape Stomp: August 23rd

August 5th, 2014

Eat, Drink, Stomp!

Join the Napa Valley community for one of the best, and squishiest, events of the year – the annual grape stomp. We encourage individuals, families, and teams to get down and dirty with the grape harvest. Event takes place at the Yount Mill Vineyards in Yountville. Stomp grapes with your bare feet in this lively, interactive competition where you can eat, drink, and stomp to your heart’s content.

Here are a few fun grape stomping facts you may not know:

  • Grape stomping is also known as pigeage
  • Stomping grapes is one part maceration, one part messy fun
  • Mel Tillis wrote a song called “Stomp Them Grapes” to commemorate grape stomping
  • Grape stomping was also featured in an I Love Lucy episode, “Lucy’s Italian Movie”

Harvest STOMP is attended by the industry’s most renowned growers and vineyard owners. This year, over a 100 local wineries will pour the best wines Napa Valley has to offer.

Stay with us at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites and attend the annual harvest grape stomp. In past years, the Harvest STOMP has sold out quickly, so don’t wait to call 707-226-1871 and make your reservations today.

The 2014 Harvest STOMP evening party is where you can kick up your heels with the grape growers of Napa Valley. Dance to live entertainment. Dine on local cuisine prepared by the finest local chefs. Sip the best local wines served up by well-known wineries such as Anthem, Antica, Arrow & Branch, Barbour, Bond Estates, Crocker Starr, The Tasting Room, and many more. Bid on exclusive, one-of-a-kind Napa Valley experiences in the live auction.

Bring your boots, your cowboy hats, and your party pants because this is one event you don’t want to miss. The reception starts at 5:00 p.m. The proceeds of the Harvest STOMP go to the NVG Farmworker Foundation, which supports the families of Napa Valley farm workers.

Spend some time stomping grapes this August, then join the party at the Harvest STOMP reception and dinner. Call the helpful and friendly folks at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites to make your reservations today.

Welcome to Harvest Season!

August 4th, 2014

Harvest time is one of the busiest seasons in Napa Valley. This is true for just about everything: wineries, restaurants, hotels and shopping. The excitement of harvest season brings in a lot of tourism, which means there is plenty to do in the community and even more people to meet. Let’s take a look at why harvest season is a great time to visit Wine Country!

When is Harvest Season?

The exact dates of harvest season vary with the weather conditions, but it generally starts between the end of July and end of August and lasts about 8 weeks. Even though official harvest season starts at different dates, it typically lasts 2 months because it takes this long for all the grapes to ripen. The Cork Board blog announced that the wine grape harvest for this year started July 30. Sparkling wine producer Mumm Napa is typically the first one to bring in fruit each year, and they’ve begun their harvesting.

Pros and Cons of Visiting Napa During Harvest Time

There are clear advantages to visiting Napa Valley during harvest season. First, the weather is a bit cooler, with highs in the mid-80s and lows in the mid-50s. There is little chance of rain, which means you should be able to enjoy warm temperatures and abundant sunshine without having rain affect your travels. Usually, the most that happens weatherwise is a bit of morning fog, especially near San Francisco Bay.

Another advantage is that you get to visit Wine Country during one of the most important times of the year. You may get to see some of the harvesting when taking part in a crush or harvest event at one of the local wineries. Plus, the summer is winding down, so you can expect a steady crowd of people and events to keep you and the family busy.

The biggest drawback to visiting at this time is that it is crowded. If you enjoy a quieter, more intimate travel experience, you may want to wait until after harvest season is complete. Also, wineries tend to be very busy at this time, so you may not get the one-on-one attention you’d prefer on a tour. Finally, most of the harvesting takes place in the near dawn hours and is finished before breakfast, so you may not see as much harvesting as you had hoped.

There is no right or wrong time to visit Napa Valley. For some, harvest time is full of surprises and excitement. If you can relate, plan your trip today and take advantage of Grape Crush Season Packages at great rates!

First Time Visitor’s Guide to Napa Valley

July 31st, 2014

Planning your first trip to Napa Valley is a fun and rewarding experience! It can get confusing since everyone has an opinion on where to go and what to do, but rest assured that there’s something for everyone, which means you can easily plan a trip around your own hobbies and interests. From wine tastings to outdoor activities to spa days, Wine Country is built around relaxation, enjoyment and the simple life!

Here are helpful tips for planning your first visit to Napa Valley.

When to Visit

The most popular time to visit Napa is during the summer. There’s nothing wrong with visiting at this time of the year, but do expect the temperatures to be warm and the crowds to be large. We think the best time to visit is right now, in the fall! September and October is crush time when the grapes are being harvested, the temperatures are cooler and the crowds are much smaller. Spring is also a great time to visit because the weather is warm, possibly a bit rainy, and the mustard plants are in full bloom.

Where to Stay

There are several areas that are suitable for staying at, including Yountville or Calistoga. But, the BEST place to stay is in Downtown Napa – hands down. Downtown Napa is trendy and quaint, with plenty of great restaurants and shopping. It’s also one of the less expensive places to stay, and you get all the convenience of the downtown area. Check out Napa Valley Hotel and Suites that is in the heart of it all and offers great rates.

What to Do

Like we said before, Napa Valley has a little something for everyone. An outdoor enthusiast will love hiking or biking through the valleys. A foodie will enjoy the seasonal menus at the local restaurants that offer fresh produce and seafood. There’s also shopping, spas and golf to pass the afternoon. Perhaps the one thing that everyone does enjoy is a visit to a winery.

You may hear people tell you that certain wineries are ‘too touristy’, but don’t take that to heart. Just because some wineries attract more tourists than others doesn’t mean they’re not worth seeing. Some of these wineries are what made Napa famous in the beginning! Choose 3-4 wineries to visit in a day, and be sure to call ahead if you need special accommodations. Most wineries are very accommodating and even welcome children and pets!

Enjoy Vintner’s Dinner or Lunch on the Napa Valley Wine Train

July 29th, 2014

The ever popular Vintners Dinner or Lunch on the Napa Valley Wine Train is a weekly gourmet dining experience featuring a special vintner each month. Guest vintners share insights on wine-making and answer your questions while the train winds its way through the beautiful scenery of Napa Valley. Not only do you get extraordinary views, you can learn more about the wines, wine supping, and growing in Napa Valley right from the source.

This August, the Wine Train is featuring Wine Director, Cheryl Stotler, and Executive Chef, Kelly MacDonald. They’ll join forces to plan a lip-smacking four-course gourmet lunch or dinner specially designed to perfectly complement the wine choices.

  • The Vintners’ Dinner features Jericho Canyon wines on August 8th.
  • The Vintners’ Lunch features ZD Wines on August 15th and Castello Di Amorosa on August 22nd.

Schedule your stay at the Napa Valley Hotel and Suites to enjoy the Napa Wine Train offerings.

The Napa Valley Wine Train also features Murder Mystery plays and Moonlight Escapes to entertain visitors. Murder Mystery is a dinner theater event and this month is featuring “The Detectives Club”. The Moonlight Escape gourmet dinner event takes place in the Vista Dome railcar with near 180-degree views. Gliding through the evening vineyards under the silver light of the moon, you’ll enjoy a five-course dinner, wine, and other delectable treats.

See the full calendar of Wine Train Events. Seating at each of these events is limited, so get your tickets early.

Call our friendly staff at 707-226-1871 to book your late-summer stay in Napa Valley today.

Wine Etiquette: The Wine Tasting Process

July 24th, 2014

When you visit Napa Valley, you’ll likely go on several wine tours to the local wineries. Wine tours are fun, relaxing and enjoyable, but you may be unsure of what to expect. How are you supposed to drink the wine? Is there any type of etiquette that you should follow?

Typically, you want to taste wines in the order of light white to heavy reds, leaving the sweet wines for the end. Otherwise, if you drink a dry wine after a sweet wine, it will usually taste bitter. Wine tasting is all about the experience, so make sure you use your senses when it comes to tasting each wine.

  • See: Focus on the hue, intensity and clarity of the wine. The true color is judged by tilting the glass and looking at the wine through the rim. The intensity can be gauged by looking straight down into the wine, while the clarity can be determined when the light is shining sideways through the wine.

  • Smell: Now comes the swirling, which allows you to smell the wine. Rest the base of the glass on a table, hold the stem between the thumb and forefinger and rotate the wrist gently. The wine should climb to the rim – almost. You don’t want to splash wine on yourself.

  • Taste: Take a small sip and breathe through the wine when it’s in your mouth, sort of like sucking a spaghetti noodle. This aerates the wine and involves your nasal senses, completing the whole experience.

You do not have to rinse your mouth in between tastes since water can ruin a healthy pH balance that sets the stage for your next taste. And, if you don’t like a particular wine, you don’t have to finish it. Every bar has a dump bucket for this.

If you discover that you only like whites or reds, or you know this in advance, you may request only these wines. Also, you don’t have to finish every good wine. It’s not bad etiquette to dump out some of the wine. After all, you’ll probably be heading to another winery later, so you should leave room for more tasting.

We hope this information helps you to taste wines like a pro at your next wine tour. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, refresh your palate with crackers and cheese or explore with new flavors and wine selections. This is what wine tasting is all about!

Music in the Vineyards – 20th Anniversary Season

July 21st, 2014

After years of sold-out concerts, the 2014 Music in the Vineyards Festival has finally been able to expand to four weeks. This year, the festival is featuring performances by over 80 musicians in 18 different Napa Valley wineries where the music, the ambiance, and the wine share the center stage to the audience’s delight.

No summer celebration would be complete without a party, and in this case there are two:

In between both weekends, the festival will host special concerts featuring such artists as acclaimed soprano Dawn Upshaw, two superb ensembles: the Escher and Pacifica String Quartets, and violinist Youjin Lee, just to name a few.

Contact the Napa Valley Hotel and Suites or call 707-226-1871 to reserve your room today for your spot at the 2014 Music in the Vineyards Festival.

Tickets to individual events are on sale now, and some events sell out quickly. You can purchase tickets online and no fees are charged in addition to the ticket prices.

See the full schedule of events to choose the nights or weekend you want to stay and enjoy Napa Valley. Performances are in the evening, so you have all day to enjoy the valley before heading to the evening entertainment.

Free open rehearsals are a huge draw in the afternoons. They serve an opportunity for music lovers of all ages and levels to understand how musicians prepare for their performance before a live crowd.

Check our room availability at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites. Call us at 707-226-1871 to arrange your stay and enjoy some of the most beautiful music ever heard across the valley.

Plan an End-of-Summer Getaway to Napa Valley

July 17th, 2014

It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to a close in less than a month! it seems like just yesterday, everyone was planning the start of their summers. Even though kids will be back in school soon and summer activities will be winding down, there is still plenty of beautiful, warm weather to be enjoyed. Here are a few reasons why planning an end-of-summer getaway to Napa Valley may be in the cards for you this year!

Start of Harvest Season

If you plan to visit Wine Country during the last week of August, you can experience the start of harvest season. The sparkling wine grapes are being picked and crushed, and you may get the opportunity to see this happening in the vineyards or be a part of it! Even if you travel in the beginning of August, you get to see what the vineyards look like ripe and full. It’s a truly neat experience.

Summer Activities and Festivals

Napa Valley is home to many festivals throughout the summer months, and August is no exception. Close out your summer with the Napa Valley Chamber Music Festival lasting the entire month of August. Other fun activities include Movies in the Park (in both Napa and Yountville) and Napa City Nights. These activities are great for the whole family and give back to the local community.

Farmers Markets

Produce is still in season in Napa Valley, so you can get your hands on delicious, fresh produce from the local farms. Try the Oxbow Public Market, Napa Farmers Market or Calistoga Farmers Market. Not only are there great foods to pick from, but also cooking classes, handmade crafts, gourmet food vendors and artisan vendors. There are also special activities for kids, such as Story Time.

Visitor Friendly

August may be hot in other places, but it’s rather comfortable in Napa Valley (around the 80s and 90s). Since the heat is dry, it’s not hot, humid or sticky. The beautiful weather and start of harvest season are what draw a lot of people in, and you could look at this as an advantage or disadvantage. Sure, the crowds will be bigger and the lines longer, but there is more to do, more people to interact with and a dynamic environment.

First-Time Visitors to Napa Valley – Build Your Perfect Itinerary with Us

July 12th, 2014

Many a first-time visitor to Napa Valley gets overwhelmed by the wealth of options, restaurants, things to do, entertainment, and events that are all right here. We understand; that’s why we host so many second- and third-time visitors at the Napa Valley Hotel and Suites. One simply cannot do it all in a single visit.

Ideally, we recommend visiting annually so you can identify and re-visit your favorites and take in what’s new. We also recommend visiting at different times of the year because Napa Valley has four distinct seasons. It looks, feels, and tastes different every season.

Just a short hour and a half from the Sacramento, Oakland, and San Francisco airports, it’s only a hop, skip, and jump to Napa Valley.

Contact the Napa Valley Hotel and Suites or call 707-226-1871 to reserve your room today for your first or next visit to Napa Valley.

At the Napa Valley Hotel and Suites, we noticed our first-time and even second-time visitors had trouble fitting it all in. So, we created the Itinerary Planner to help:

Step 1: Explore all there is to do in Napa Valley

Step 2: Select what you want to do and see and add it to your itinerary

Step 3: Drag items around until you get the perfect itinerary

Even if you’ve visited Napa before, there are still things you haven’t seen or done. Take the Itinerary Planner for a test drive and see if it makes a difference in planning your visit to Napa Valley.

Check our room availability at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites. Call us at 707-226-1871 to arrange your stay and get started enjoying the Napa Valley, with the perfect itinerary in hand!