Wedding Planning Tips to Tying the Knot in Wine Country
Weddings in Napa Valley’s wine country has become a vast industry over the last 20 years and growing by leaps and bounds every day. Napa Valley exudes romance with its Tuscan painted hills, miles and miles of rolling lush vineyards, charming boutique hotels, and 5-star restaurants. Who wouldn’t want to get married here? What a truly magical place to tie the knot. Lovebirds flock here in droves to find the perfect venue to celebrate their nuptials and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Photo by TJ Salsman
Ten reasons to tie the Knot in Napa Valley!!!!
- The Napa Valley is Gorgeous during every season!
- The Cuisine and Wine are internationally renowned!
- Your family and friends have never been here!
- You met your fiancé in Napa Valley!
- Napa Valley was your first trip together!
- Your favorite wine is from Napa Valley!
- Bottle Rock is your favorite Music Event!
- “Bottle Shock” is your favorite movie!
- Because your honeymoon is not in Fiji!
- And why KNOT!!!!
Photo by TJ Salsman
Over 90% of the wedding ceremonies performed in the Napa Valley are brides and grooms from all over the map. No wonder it is such big business! Weddings in the Napa Valley range from small elopement style weddings to large celebrity style galas; from a La Carte to all-inclusive; from small pocket-book to money is no object. Big or intimate, your perfect dream wedding awaits in the Napa Valley.
It’s twelve months before your big wedding day, and you really want that dream Napa Valley Wedding however you live far away and haven’t a clue on where to start or who to call. The thought is overwhelming at the prospect of doing this on your own; however, the world is virtually at your fingertips; a Napa Valley Wedding is just a Google away. But then you realize with all of the choices popping up on your iPad, who do you call first? This is, after all, going to be your perfect magical day, the wedding of your dreams! Your nerves are already fluttering at the excitement of your recent engagement and its only one short year to the “Big Day” when you will be Mr. and Mrs! Where to start?
Photo by TJ Salsman
The plethora of wine country wedding information is in abundance, yet rest assured with the assistance of your carefully selected wedding planner, your big day will come off without a glitch. Even if you decided not to use a wedding planner and choose to coordinate the details on your own, there is plenty of information to get you on your way. No matter who you speak with, they will all have plenty of great referrals and references to suit all of your wedding needs.
Photo by TJ Salsman
It used to be 20 years ago that weddings in the Napa Valley consisted of hosting weddings at hotels, resorts, and a few wineries or area restaurants. It has since opened up to a wide variety of venues comprised of high-class resorts, country clubs, restaurants, vineyard settings and a small selection of permitted wineries and private estates to name a few ideas. Keep in mind that due to county regulations, 99% of the Napa Valley wineries do not allow actual weddings at the wineries. For those that do have limited access through personal relationships, it is one of the most exclusive, elite, luxury destinations in California if not the world to commit your vows to the person you love.
And for those who do not have access to the coveted winery venues due to restrictive laws established to protect the beauty and bounty of our agricultural preserve, they offer such world-class resorts such as Meadowood, Auberge, Calistoga Ranch, Solage, The Meritage, Silverado Resort, Carneros Resort & Spa, The Estate in Yountville, and Los Alcobas Resort.
Photo by Art & Clarity
David Aten of David Aten Events, a well-known Napa Valley event planner commented, “There is an abundance of talent in the wedding, event, hospitality industry in the Napa Valley. You have some of the best planners, photographers, chefs, florists, and hospitality professionals to offer you the world-class wedding of your dreams!”
Establishing your venue is usually your first task and most important, as it will depend on the availability of your desired setting for the ceremony and reception and then, of course, locking in the dates of your perfect chosen venue. Once that is set in stone, then determining the wedding details are the next task at hand. Now that the biggest hurdle is done, the rest will all soon fall in to place. Let’s not forget \working within your budget.
Photo by TJ Salsman
Here are a few things to think about in your planning process: Wedding party accommodations, Officiant, rehearsal dinner location, reception food and beverages, event venue design and decor, music, florists, photographers/videographers and rental companies. Your selected event planner will help guide you through this process with recommendations and referrals for you to proceed with, or based on your style, tastes and budget they can handle every single detail every step of the way. Most wedding planners suggest Pinterest as an excellent place to gather ideas, though, even better just check out all of the information and photos you find on the internet for Napa Valley weddings.
Photo by Art & Clarity
Here are a few Napa Valley websites to get you started:
VisitNapaValley.com: They have a wedding planning guide that can help you discover the perfect vineyard, luscious garden, posh country club or luxurious resort.
NapaValleyWeddings.com: Wedding Packages, Elopement Packages, Officiants and Wedding Venues.
NapaValleyCustomEvents.com: Over 20 Years in Wedding Planning offering Custom events to suit every wedding need.
Axevent.com: Puttin’On the Glitz, David Aten knows how to put on a “Show Stopping” Event
Photo by TJ Salsman
Photographers (We all know photography is a personal choice. Here are a few favorites)
Art and Clarity
A few of the Big wedding sites can also be of help with your wedding coordination which includes such tools as a pocket wedding planner, budgeter, registry and creating your own wedding website.
Photo by TJ Salsman
As seen in Napa Valley Life Magazine
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This is the Place to “Be” – An Innovative Wine and Food Pairing Experience
B Cellars Wine Portfolio
B Cellars truly stands out in the sea of majestic wineries that blanket legendary Napa Valley. What makes them soar and pillar above the crowd is their unique presentation of wine tastings along with inspired food pairings created by their on-premise chef de cuisine, Derick Kuntz. This stunning winery is actually the only winery in Napa Valley that houses a full-service open demonstration kitchen, which is featured center stage within their stunning state-of-the-art tasting hospitality building.
B Cellars Chef Derick
B Cellar’s full-time culinary team is spearheaded by the direction and creation of Chef Kuntz. On your visit to the winery expect to be wined and dined small plate style during your two-hour tasting and multi-course pairing with your culinary extravaganza experience. As you can imagine with the detailed prep of the daily cuisine presented to guests, don’t expect to just pop in at the winery, as all tastings are by appointment only. So be sure to call in advance, as the seating is limited.
Amuse Bouche – Cast Iron Shrimp
Chef spends a great deal of time tasting the wines to create specific dishes that go best with each wine offered at the winery during your tasting. Chef has the run of the kitchen and gets to do what he wants with the small bites he creates and plates for the guests. All of these “B Bites” are designed around the available meats and produce from locally sourced purveyors and he only utilizes the freshest ingredients as well as the seasonal bounty grown in the abundant and lush B Cellars gardens.
Pairing Plate B Cellars
B Cellars offers a variety of tasting and food pairings and they will even customize your experience with advance notice for larger groups. The tastings range from a lighter paring “The Sojourn,” which starts around $45 for sixty minutes with a selection of wines from their Flagship Portfolio paired with locally sourced cheeses and chocolates.
Cheese Pairing Platter B Cellars
They also offer a variety of other options such as the “Oakville Trek” where you will be presented with an introductory food bite and wine pairing before taking an informative tour of the grounds, the cave, and the winery. Then you will head back into the Hospitality House for a culinary pairing of “B-Bites” and their Flagship and Limited Production wines, which will last about 90 minutes in total.
Another option is a private tasting created for the discerning wine collector in mind. The “Heritage Excursion” is hosted in the Beckstoffer room in their impressive wine cave. On warm sunny days, you may want to indulge in the “Chef’s Garden Pairing”, a 2-hour culinary journey at their outdoor garden table. And as a member of their B Society, you will receive a select number of complimentary tasting invitations as well as winery events and release tastings.
B Cellars Wine and Food Pairings
Here is a delicious sample of the “B Bites” and B Cellars Wines that we had the opportunity explore. Just to get your taste buds going:
- 2014 Blend 23 Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc/Viognier – Cast Iron Shrimp, Pear Salsa, and Espellette Butter
- 2014 Maldonado Chardonnay – Winter Flatbread with smoked bacon, Grilled Apple, Parmesan Cream
- 2014 Blend 24 Sangiovese/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon – Portabella Slider with Tomato Jam, Parmesan Cheese on a Brioche Bun
- 2014 Kick Ranch Syrah – Smoked Duck Agnolotto with Pickled Beet Puree and Fava Leaf Pesto
- 2014 Ehrlich Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – Beef Meatball with Cipollini Onion, Candied Garlic and Crispy Kale
Beef Meatball with Crispy Kale B Cellars
B Cellars opened their doors to their Oakville winery location in 2014, envisioning their dream of creating a food-centric winery. Partners, Jim Borsack and Duffy Keys were no strangers in wine production in the Napa Valley; they actually launched their B Cellars brand in 2003, operating originally out of their business office in Orange County. Duffy and Jim actually met at a July 4th Barbecue many years ago and realized they both had a similar passion and dream to make wine out of the Napa Valley. It was two years after their happenstance meeting on that warm July afternoon when B Cellars came in to fruition and they haven’t stopped since.
Sculptures Around B Cellars Grounds
Duffy and Jim are like-minded individuals who share a mutual vision and have successfully succeeded as a dynamic duo with a very hands-on approach in the development of their brand. Since their inception, they have spent extensive amounts of time doing their due diligence with numerous trips from their original Orange County headquarters to the Napa Valley in an effort to engage with select growers that have the perfect fruit they seek for their spectacular award-winning varietals.
Shortly after creating B Cellars, they added a third component to the team, adding Kirk Venge as their winemaker who has been a part of the synergy of their success since the inception. Kirk, son of well-known winemaker Nils Venge, who has also been involved in the development of B Cellars, followed in his father’s footsteps in the Napa Valley. Kirk was named “one of the 20 Top New Winemakers in the World” by Food and Wine Magazine in 2005.
The winery and hospitality building located in Oakville is spread throughout their gorgeous grounds on a knoll overlooking the valley. The majority of the vineyards used in creating their amazing blends are sourced from over 18 different vineyards around the Napa Valley keeping with their mission to utilize only grapes from the best of the best with the highest quality possible fruit available. “Quality is of the utmost importance in our wines and we are not going to blend anything that doesn’t meet our strict standards.”
Adding to the artistic and wine ambiance surrounding B Cellars, you will find nestled throughout the spectacular landscape of the grounds and magnificent buildings a variety of life-sized human sculptures depicting everyday life. Greeting you at the cave entrance will be the working Gardner on his knees planting flowers or the man relaxing on the grass as just as you enter the hospitality building. You will find these charming animated sculptures created by artist Seward Johnson, welcoming you throughout your walk around the impressive grounds. Another perfect addition to your amazing experience.
Your visit to B Cellars will surely be an impressive and memorable journey and delicious too!!! Visit B Cellars at www.bcellars.com
Kenzo and Natsuko Tsujimoto
Kenzo Tsujimoto and his wife, Natsuko, founders of the Kenzo Estate Winery in the hills off Monticello Road and owners of Michelin-Starred Japanese restaurant in downtown Napa, have been impressively expanding their iconic presence of the Kenzo name in the Napa Valley. Kenzo has been a well-known and highly respected icon and entrepreneur for decades in his home country of Japan, and over the last ten years, they have rapidly been increasing their notoriety and presence in the Napa Valley with their award-winning wines and signature restaurant, Kenzo.
Kenzo was the founder of Capcom, the world’s most successful video game company in Osaka, Japan in 1983, and shortly thereafter, in 1985, he expanded his presence with his first US subsidiary in California’s Silicon Valley. He rapidly fell in love with the Northern California lifestyle and particularly the wine country, where he had a vision to create a retreat in the hills above Napa Valley. Ironically at that time, he had not even considered creating a premier winery. Inspired by the “Judgement of Paris” he realized the potential of the wines coming out of Napa and began his quest to make exemplary Napa Valley wines to import into his businesses in Japan while at the same time creating a signature presence in the United States.
In 1990, he purchased a 3,800-acre parcel, formerly an Olympic equestrian center, on the East side of Napa’s Mt. St George. The acquisition set the wheels in motion for Kenzo to create one of Napa’s most magnificent premier vineyard estate properties.
Only about 4% (145 acres) of Kenzo Estate is planted to Bordeaux varietals and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The rest of the acreage is much like a nature preserve, and the existing equestrian center is still active. The massive property is five times the size of New York’s Central Park and sits perched at an elevation of 1,550 feet, providing cool temperatures which are optimal for growing the varietals planted to the estate.
Kenzo sought out the best talent in winemaking and viticulture to implement his plans. With the collaboration of consulting winemaker pioneer, Heidi Barrett (Screaming Eagle, Grace Family and Dalla Valle) and rock star viticulturist, David Abreu, he was off to a winning start. After 20 years of preparation and a $100 million investment, the majestic winery and tasting room launched its grand opening in 2010.
Winemaker Heidi Barrett frequently flies her helicopter to the winery site to consult with the team, including associate winemaker, Marc Nanes, who has been on board since 2009.
Marc is an ever-present figure at the winery and is hands on in the day to day process of producing award-winning Kenzo wines. You can sometimes see Marc riding around the property on a pink bicycle cruiser which was gifted to him when a group of social media influencers from L’Oréal Paris Cosmetics came to do a photo shoot.
The devastating “Napa Fires of 2017” unfortunately impacted some areas of the property including the loss of a large guest house and a few other perimeter buildings. Luckily, thanks to the commitment of their vineyard manager who stayed on site during the course of the firestorms, the winery building, the vineyards and Kenzo’s home remained perfectly intact.
Kenzo Estate Winery Napa Valley
Kenzo Estate Winery, designed by prominent winery architect Howard Backen, features a modern barn style building surrounded by 150-year old olive trees, impressive caves and fermentation buildings.
Kenzo Estate Tasting Room
THE KENZO WINES
Upon the launch of the winery, there were four wines grown on the Estate, “rindo” (meaning “Purple Bell”), a predominately proprietary Cabernet Blend; “ai” (meaning “Indigo”) – also a Cabernet Bordeaux Style wine; “murasaki” (meaning “Purple”) – a Merlot Blend; and “asatsuyu” (meaning “Morning Dew”) – Sauvignon Blanc.
Several years after the launch of the four estate Kenzo wines, almost by accident, they developed a Rose’ wine using the saignee’ method, which involves bleeding the juice from the grapes after having limited contact with the skins and fermenting them separately. Kenzo loved the results so much that they created their 5th Estate Kenzo wine, “yui” – (meaning “Unity”), a delicious rose made from Merlot, Cab Franc, and Malbec.
Although it may seem a bit off the beaten path, a visit to Kenzo it is a must do on your wine touring agenda. For those interested in a legacy Napa Valley culinary experience, guests may request a wine paired lunch with choices from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon restaurant.
To make a reservation to visit or to get more information on their wines and Kenzo Estate Winery visit www.kenzoestate.com or call the winery direct at 707-254-7572