napa valley harvest

The Napa Valley Harvest

Napa Valley is gearing up for Harvest Time!  On a recent trip, we could feel a little bit of fall in the air as the leaves are getting ready to change colors, and the grapes are almost ready to harvest.  We visited several wineries, cycled through Yountville and its’ neighboring vineyards, and dined at some new favorite restaurants.

Here are some of our top picks and recommendations for you to reference when you plan your trip to Napa Valley.

Where to Stay?

Bardessono Hotel

#1 LEED Platinum Luxury Hotel in the World!

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Discreet.  Earthy.  Luxury Redefined.  The original owners were Italian immigrants, the Bardessono Family who acquired the land for their home in the early 1920s.  Their homestead has been reinvented into a 62-room hotel with “luxury green living with a modern aesthetic.”  Opening its doors in 2009, Jim Treadway, Vice Chairman of Benchmark Hospitality and GM of Bardessono sets the hospitable tone where the hotel staff caters to the unique needs of each guest. It’s so beautiful during the Napa Valley Harvest!

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Our concierge shared with us that this “eco-chic hotel was inspired, planned and built by the world’s best – eco-developer Phil Sherburne, who teamed with Cello-Maudru Construction (a company that recycles 93% of their waste during site preparation and building process).  The hotel was built with 100,000 sq. ft. of salvaged wood for the doors, flooring, and the walls in the contemporary guest rooms, spa, restaurant and event space.”

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The Hotel includes the restaurant Lucy with an onsite CCOF-certified culinary garden, tended by Chef Victor Scargle, provides fruits and vegetables.

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The hotel spa is located downstairs, below the 75 ft. rooftop lap pool with views of the Stags Leap Palisades to the East and the Maya camas to the West.  The Hotel also has a community event space for monthly events.  If you want to explore the area, you can borrow the hotel’s bicycles and cycle through the town, and nearby vineyards.

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Global Adventuress gives a giant nod, along with others:

2013 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Award Top Luxury Hotels – #3 in the U.S., #25 in the World

2013 Andrew Harper “Annual Grand Awards List”

2013 Travel + Leisure “T+L 500: The World’s Best Hotels”

2013 Condé Nast Johansen “Award of Excellence, Most Excellent Eco Hotel in the World”
2013 Condé Nast Travel “Gold List

How does a Hotel earn LEED Platinum Certification? 

Take a look at these Environmental Initiatives:

    • Heating and Cooling:  Each building’s flat roof is fitted with a concealed photovoltaic solar collector and reflective material.  A 200-kilowatt solar energy system provides 40 % of Bardessono’s electrical energy requirement. 82 300-ft. geothermal wells were drilled to work with a specially developed ground source heat pump system to heat and cool rooms and heat domestic water – up to 68 degrees heating and down to 68 degrees cooling. Motion sensors determine room occupancy, turning off lights and electrical devices, dropping shades, and allowing more temperature variation in the room while guests are away.
    • Lighting: LED and fluorescent lamps are used throughout the property and the motion sensors extinguish lights when rooms are unoccupied.  Exterior up-lighting is minimized to reduce nighttime light pollution.
    • Low Water Use:  Low water flow fixtures, dual flush toilets and waterless urinals are used.  Outdoors, drought-resistant landscaping prevails, serviced by an efficient drip irrigation system.  All grey and black water is treated and recycled for irrigation uses by the Town of Yountville.

Note Photo Credits – Bardessono Hotel, Spa and Restaurant Lucy

Where to Dine?

So many delicious places throughout Napa Valley, here our our favorites during Harvest time!

Lucy Restaurant  

Fresh.  Innovative.  Garden Inspired.  If you can’t find Chef Victor Scargle in the kitchen, he’s probably in the onsite organic garden, looking through a row of kale or cutting herbs and finding culinary inspiration.  He finds fresh produce that inspires his seasonal daily dishes, delivering garden-to-fork fare.

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Lucy offers indoor and outdoor dining where you can enjoy your dinner under a canopy of lights.  We were impressed by the culinary care and presentation of each dish.  We found the trio of salads to be full of flavor, and the entrées ranged from Seafood like Locale Petrale Sole, or Wild King Salmon, to Range options such as Masami Ranch Burger or the Don Watson’s milk-fed Lamb.  The wine selection is extensive from vintners that use organic, sustainable and biodynamic practices.

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Ad Hoc

Ad Hoc is Chef Thomas Keller’s casual dining restaurant venue that shares American comfort food from his childhood.  Located in Yountville, Chef de Cuisine Katie Hagan-Whelchel works with her kitchen team, and dishes up a daily changing menu of 4–courses featuring salad, entrée, cheese and dessert.  Our waiter shares with us that the name Ad Hoc, literally meaning “for this purpose,” derives from the restaurant’s original purpose: to temporarily fill a space while Chef Keller’s team developed a different restaurant concept.”  Since it opened in 2006, locals and visitors to Napa Valley wanted this “temporary” restaurant to stay longer.  Chef Keller agreed to keep Ad Hoc permanent, along with three other Yountville restaurants.  Our waiter also noted that “Katie’s roots in Kentucky, and she feels right at home serving up the famous Buttermilk Fried Chicken of Ad Hoc, pot roast and barbeque.”  Ad Hoc has received a three-star rating from The San Francisco Chronicle and was featured as one of Food and Wine magazine’s “25 Places to Try.

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What to Do during Napa Valley Harvest?

Wine Tasting

It wouldn’t be Napa Valley without a little wine, and Harvest is the best time! Click here and take a look at the 2013 “Top 10” Napa Wineries


We recommend the Spa Treatments at Bardessono Hotel, or recline by their rooftop pool.

Shopping –

Visit the Napa Valley’s towns and stroll down the boutique-lined streets in St. Helena, Yountville, and Napa Valley.

How to Get Around?

Napa Valley Tours & Transportation (NVTT) :  Napa Valley Tours & Transportation delivers the red carpet & white glove service!  For 15 years, President Michael Graham has operated a family-owned company that provides full transportation service.  His fleet of hundreds of vehicles are available to suit your needs from town cars to buses.

Fleet glove 

Photo Credits:  NVTT

Mike raises the bar for Chauffeurs –  professional, prompt, and his local knowledge and insights are invaluable.  NVTT’s concierge service helps you to plan your trip and make the most efficient use of your time.  Elaine’s thorough planning and preparation ensured a wonderful experience for us.  For reservations, call #707.251.9463 or #888.946.3859

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Thanks to NVTT – Napa Valley Tours & Transportation for hosting us during our stay.

And thanks to Bardessono Hotel, Lucy Restaurant, and Ad Hoc Restaurant for partially hosting us during our stay.

by Patricia Stone, a travel writer based in Seattle, Washington


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