The Napa County Planning Commission has unanimously approved plans for construction of a Coquerel Family Wine Estates winery on its Calistoga vineyard. Approval paves the way for an 11,000-square-foot winemaking and tasting facilities.

The winery will be built on a 19-acre site near Highway 128 and Tubbs Lane. Construction will be in two phases and will include the demolition of an existing 7,000-square-foot barn at the rear of the property. Architect Naomi Miroglio of Architectural Resources Group Inc. is designing the winery, which will feature an outdoor tasting space with a view of Mount St. Helena. Construction is expected to conclude in 2014.

Learn more about Coquerel wines at

BV Tapestry wins ‘Best of the Best’ award

The 2009 Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve, a red Bordeaux blend, was named the “Best of the Best” and the “Best of Napa County” by scoring 98 points in the recently concluded North Coast Wine Challenge. The wine also was awarded a gold medal for being the best red wine submitted.

Of the 930 submitted wines, 132 wines were given awards. The challenge was hosted by the Vineyard & Winery Management magazine and The Press Democrat. It included wines just produced in North Coast AVAs only. A public tasting of medal-winning wines will be held Sunday, July 14, at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm near Forestville.

Pine Ridge plans vineyard dinners

Pine Ridge Winery will host two intimate three-course dinners prepared by winery chef Janet Sheehan, in two of its prized vineyards in August and September.

Both dinners begin at 5 p.m. with receptions at the winery in the Stags Leap District, after which guests will be taken to the vineyards. The first dinner is Saturday, Aug. 3, at Rutherford Ridge Vineyard in Rutherford, and the second is Saturday, Sept. 21, at Los Posadas Vineyard on Howell Mountain. Each dinner is $275 per person for the general public and $235 for club members. For reservations call 257-4717 or email

Master sommelier named director of sales at Chappellet

Chappellet Vineyard has named master sommelier Jay James as director of sales and marketing, overseeing both wholesale and retail sales for the three brands in the Chappellet wines portfolio, which includes Chappellet Vineyard, Sonoma-Loeb and Cervantes.

Most recently James served as vice president of fine wine for Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada, where he managed a team of 14 people and oversaw Southern’s premium portfolio for Las Vegas hotel, restaurant and retail clients. Prior to his time at Southern, he was director of wine for the Bellagio Resort.

James begins his new role at Chappellet on Aug. 1, joining new master sommelier Emily Pickral-Papach on the Chappellet team.  Pickral-Papach, the winery’s national sales analyst and wine educator, passed the master sommelier exam in May. She was the 19th woman in North America to earn the title of master sommelier.

Lail Vineyards plans Sunday party

Lail Vineyards will hold its first party at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 30, at Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley in Yountville. Wines will be paired with hors d’oeuvres and other treats in the Ma(i)sonry gardens. Admission is $45.

For details and reservations, contact Chantal Leruitte at or 968-9900.

Win an instant wine cellar in Calistoga

The Sharpsteen Museum’s 25th annual Instant Wine Cellar fundraiser will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 12, in the museum’s parking lot. Each of the three grand prizes in the main raffle includes 36 bottles of premium Napa Valley wine plus a private wine tasting. Tickets for the grand prizes are $5 each or five for $20.

The event includes poured wine and appetizers while guests review the array of other packages, including spa treatments, local dining, hot air balloon rides and massages. Raffle tickets are $1.  

The Sharpsteen Museum is at 1311 Washington St. in Calistoga. For details call 942-5911.

A new ‘crop-up’ restaurant at the CIA

The Culinary Institute of America has launched a new program allowing students to study farm-to-table cuisine with chef Larry Forgione at the CIA at Greystone.

Visitors will reap the rewards as they dine on the students’ creations at the Conservatory. This student-led “crop-up” restaurant will be open to the public Friday and Saturday nights beginning Aug. 2 in the Williams Center for Flavor Discovery on campus. The multi-course tasting menu will focus on seasonal ingredients grown and harvested by the students. The cost per person is $65, and reservations can be made by calling  967-2300, or by visiting the Conservatory at Greystone’s page on

NVV begins summer promotion contest

With the official start of summer, the Napa Valley Vintners has started a new promotion, “An Unexpected Summer Story in Every Bottle,” showcasing stories that illustrate unexpected facts about Napa Valley and its wines, a photo contest with the chance to win a Napa Valley/34th America’s Cup getaway and sustainable seafood recipes highlighting summer wine-friendly cuisine from coast to coast.

The NVV is asking people from across the country to tell their stories, via a photo and caption contest. The photo that best conveys the spirit of Napa Valley and its quality wines will receive a Napa Valley/34th America’s Cup getaway package. Four runner-up photographers will receive Instax Mini 8 cameras. The contest runs through July 15.

Visit to learn more about unexpected Napa Valley and its summer wines, or to enter the #unexpectednapa photo contest or  gather sustainable seafood recipes from Cape Cod to California, and from Lake Michigan to the Louisiana bayou.

Grgich documentary wins award

 “Like the Old Vine (Kao Stara Loza),” a documentary about the life of Vintners Hall of Fame inductee Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, earlier this month won the Grand Jury’s Special Award at the 20th annual Oenovideo International Grape & Wine Film Festival in Carcassonne-Minervois, France.

From May 30 to June 2, judges and festival goers viewed 26 films from 14 countries.

Grgich and the documentary’s director, Milka Barisic, will join other winners Sept. 27 to be presented the Cep d’Or Trophy in the French Senate at the Palais du Luxembourg in Paris.

The movie has been shown on national TV in Croatia and premiered in the United States on Nov. 7 at the 2012 Napa Valley Film Festival.

A DVD of “Like the Old Vine,” although not for sale, is available at the winery to customers who purchase six bottles or more there or online at


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