There are many methods to tour the Napa Valley. However for a real VIP insider expertise the one title within the recreation is Cultured Vine. Their crew of native wine consultants, journey professionals, occasion designers and concierges work collectively to create unbelievable experiences with a minimal of fuss. Whether or not it’s personal tastings at cult wineries that aren’t open to the general public, unimaginable to get tables and even chef’s dinners at iconic eating places, one of the best suites at luxurious accommodations which are already overbooked, or a personal jet to whisk you to Napa County Airport which isn’t open to industrial plane, Cultured Vine can do it with fashion and sophistication.
Angela Duerr based the corporate in 2014. “Cultured Vine was born out of my in depth trade information, excellent relationships with winemakers and wineries, a radical understanding of the luxurious wine client, experience in all elements of the wine enterprise and pure enjoyment of discovering the right wine expertise primarily based on the person at hand,” she says. “I’ve spent years constructing relationships with Napa legends and tastemakers. These genuine connections give my purchasers distinctive, elevated experiences that create reminiscences to final a lifetime.” Simply check out the Elite Packages the corporate affords and its partnerships with the likes of Quantum Jets.
As one of the vital picturesque areas within the nation with tons of of unbelievable wineries, it may be onerous to plan a correct Napa expertise, particularly for neophytes. “Making selections aside from Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay or Rosé may be overwhelming,” Duerr notes, “particularly for these searching for below the radar locales past the pages of magazines and Instagram. That’s the place I are available, to care for a consumer’s private journey wants and preferences and reveal the gems that lie nestled within the hills of Napa. From tastings in a wine proprietor’s front room to personal excursions and dinners with prime cooks at boutique, invitation solely wineries, I make it occur.”
Duerr studied viticulture and enology at Napa Valley School earlier than creating her personal wine label, True North, so her information of the trade is second to none. She has connections to greater than 50 prime Napa (and Sonoma) wineries, lots of that are invitation-only. On a latest journey to Napa, Cultured Vine secured us a personal tasting on the dwelling of the Marc Mondavi household, overlooking their vineyards, with a tasting of Aloft and Darkish Matter Wines. The beautiful small manufacturing vintages produced by the fourth-generation Mondavi sisters are extraordinarily onerous to come back by. We additionally had a VIP tasting at Promise Wine with proprietor Steve McPherson, a former prime tv exec, on his 100 acre ranch, which isn’t open to the general public.
Duerr’s key affiliate is Man Barstad, Cultured Vine’s Producer and the unofficial mayor of the Napa Valley, with 40-plus years of hospitality expertise to his credit score. He’s additionally been acknowledged as one of many 10 Most Influential Individuals by Napa Valley Life Journal. Right here’s an excerpt from a Q&A with Barstad, who has by no means heard of the phrase “unimaginable”:
How do you work together with Cultured Vine visitors?
Christopher Scott, our Director of Concierge Providers, will ship me a wine-tasting itinerary and ask the place I can get them into considered one of my favourite eating places comparatively close to to their final tasting. Then I’ll cellphone the restaurant and temporary them personally on our visitors and their CV expertise. I don’t name the hostess, I name the proprietor. The French Laundry, which might take months to order, I can ebook in a single cellphone name. I’ll normally request slightly additional gesture, like a complimentary appetizer or dessert, or will advise a few birthday or particular celebration. And our visitors are all the time blown away when the waiter already is aware of a few dietary restriction – like being gluten-free – with out them telling him.
What are a few of the most over-the-top experiences you’ve created or witnessed with CV visitors?
We will customise something, from internet hosting a shock celebration at a personal vintner property to making a day-long spa expertise to serving a dinner within the vineyards below the celebs. And I’m all the time on website to make sure that each element is attended to.
What’s your favourite facet of your function with CV?
Simply seeing the joy on individuals’s faces once they know they’re doing one thing extraordinary that isn’t obtainable to the everyday vacationer. Whether or not they’re tasting a flight with the winemaker at an invitation-only vineyard or getting right into a Michelin four-star restaurant on a second’s discover, we all know the “who” and the “how.” At CV, our best asset is the relationships we’ve garnered over our a few years within the Valley. We will open doorways that they’ll’t, and we go that one step past.
What are a few of your individual most well-liked hangouts or experiences within the Napa Valley?
I like the pool at Solage on a Sunday afternoon, with food and drinks service in one of many cabanas. I additionally love eating in a few of the lesser-known eating places in downtown Napa — an off-the-cuff, obscure place the place I can simply be one of many visitors. My pals normally make me sit with my again to the eating room, so I can’t critique something. 40 years within the restaurant enterprise will do this to you!
In your view, what units Cultured Vine aside from different tour corporations?
It’s like having a backstage move — you simply arrive and benefit from the present from one of the best vantage level. If I ship visitors to a restaurant, I can name and ask the chef to exit and say hiya or signal a cookbook. At CV, we’ve made that decision. And a few times a month I’ll name round to my most well-liked venues to ensure my individuals are nonetheless in place. I must know the brand new one who took a waiter or host’s place, to convey them a bottle of wine, and inform them about Cultured Vine. This enterprise is all about relationships, so it is advisable to bear in mind individuals. I preserve copious notes on all my skilled relationships, in addition to our visitors. How’s your canine? How’s your granddaughter? By the point our visitors turn out to be second-, third-, and fourth-time guests to the Napa Valley, they’re like good pals.
What continues to amaze you about dwelling within the Napa Valley?
With regards to quantity of vacationers, we’re typically in comparison with Disneyland, however as an alternative of amusement park rides, we have now year-round magnificence, acres of vines, and a world-renowned wine trade. All of the exclamation factors! I’ve lived right here all my life — my great-grandparents got here right here within the ‘30s — and I’ve been within the restaurant enterprise since I used to be 14. As I washed dishes, I watched the chef, and by the point I used to be 16, I used to be cooking meals at an early farm-to-table-style restaurant. I’ve waited tables, tended bar, and once I was older, I managed the entrance of the home. The one factor I’ve by no means carried out was personal one – thank goodness!