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Travel: What’s new in Napa

Always growing and evolving, Napa Valley never gets stale. Discover the best new spots for wine tasting, dining and luxury accommodation in Napa Valley.

What’s new in Napa


The Prisoner Wine Company
The new Prisoner winery is a wine-country outlaw. Instead of building the customary cosy, rustic-chic tasting room, The Prisoner has created one with dark, industrial and refurbished materials, exuding gothic and medieval vibes. But dissenting from the norm is what The Prisoner Wine Company does best. As a case in point: its cult blends produced with untraditional varietals (there’s no Cabernet Sauvignon here) and provocative labels sold to Constellation Brands for a whopping $285 million in 2016. Why not book The Makery Experience ($125) for a tour and five-course food and wine lunch hosted in the exclusive Makery space, where you can also shop for handcrafted souvenirs from local artisans.

The Village
You could spend an entire day sipping through The Village, Napa’s new wine district consisting of eight boutique tasting rooms, plus the Napa Smith Brewery. While you’re there, sign up for a cooking class at the Food & Wine Center or curate your own picnic basket to enjoy on The Village lawn, which often hosts festivals, concerts, artisan markets and more.

Clos Du Val
One of Napa Valley’s most historic properties has been transported into the 21st century, albeit fashionably late, with a stunning new visitor centre. Clos Du Val, one of the California wineries included in the 1976 Judgement of Paris, designed its new, on-trend digs like a living room, complete with a floor-to-ceiling glass wall that opens out to its estate vineyards. But Clos Du Val’s past is still very much present: repurposed staves from the winery’s original fermentation tanks act as wallpaper and guests can taste library vintages that date back to the 1970s.

Davies Vineyards
More and more Napa Valley wineries are rolling out competitive food and wine experiences, but the Davies Vineyards Bubbles & Caviar Brunch tasting ($130) is the only way to start your day. Davies, a label of Schramsberg Vineyards, pairs six full glasses of Schramsberg’s primo sparkling wine with an entire ounce of caviar – enjoyed several ways with crème fraîche, potato chips and egg yolks, as well as brunch bites such as mushroom and gruyere quiche, and smoked salmon.

See also: Top ten Napa Valley wineries to visit


La Calenda
Chef Thomas Keller advances his takeover of Yountville with a new restaurant, but it’s not what you might expect. La Calenda is located a  few doors down from The French Laundry, Bouchon Bistro, Bouchon Bakery, and Ad Hoc. An elevated mexican concept serving up authentic Oaxacan cuisine, it’s quite the departure from Keller’s other French and comfort-food focused eateries. From heirloom corn used to make fresh tortillas in-house to dried chile peppers, many of the ingredients are sourced directly from Mexico. As for libations, La Calenda has loaded up with more than 30 different mezcals and tequilas to sip straight or in cocktails.


The Francis House
No word yet on whether this place is haunted, for the stone-walled luxury inn does inhabit the former Calistoga Hospital. After sitting vacant for 50 years, the 1886 building built in the French Second Empire style was set to be bulldozed, but was saved just in time. Following a meticulous, three-year, Cinderella makeover, the interior of The Francis House bears little resemblance to its past life. Each of the five, uniquely designed rooms have stone walls, plenty of natural light, stunning marble bathrooms and antique furnishings. Guests also have access to a private pool, garden and kitchen.

The Estate Yountville
A tale of two hotels, The Estate in Yountville boasts a pair of luxury properties with opposite personalities. Choose between the sophisticated and elegant Vintage House or Hotel Villagio, which is decidedly more rock n’ roll. The Villagio lobby, for instance, encourages after-hours imbibing with a full bar, billiards and board games. Both properties have a pool with cabanas, access to a new, full-service spa and are mere steps away from Yountville’s fine dining establishments, wine tasting rooms and boutique shops.

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