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Craig Smith

Craig Smith is the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association.

The response to Napa Live: Inside and Out was overwhelmingly positive.

Dozens of emails were received from people saying how much they enjoyed themselves, and imploring the Downtown Napa Association to make this a regular event.

That doesn’t include all the people who chimed in that day to say how much fun they were having.

Thanks for the feedback!

Hosting an admission-free event is challenging, and something that can’t happen without the full support of the downtown merchants, who paid for the entertainment inside their businesses.

It wasn’t necessarily a big sales day, but that wasn’t the goal as much as was welcoming people to downtown.

Thanks also to our sponsors, Blue Moon Beer, Bank of Napa, Team Superstores, the city of Napa, and the Napa PBID. It’s a safe bet to say that Napa Live will be back.

One of a kind …

Asked to discuss Studio M Fine Wines, located at 1465 First St., VP of Operations Lisa Hurt succinctly describes the Studio M experience.

“We specialize in small-case, highly allocated cult wines which we have the privilege of sharing with our guests in a fun and elegant atmosphere.”

Studio M is also the exclusive area distributor for several lines of luxury items, including William Henry, Todd Reed and Code 38. Additionally they offer a curated selection of rare cigars and fine accessories featuring S.T. Dupont.

That’s only part of the well-delivered vision of the proprietors, Texans Paula and Bret Morrison, who have authentically re-created a slice of the Lone Star State right here in Napa.

Studio M also serves as a concierge service for their Wine Club members.

Carrying what they call the “Big Dog Fridge Wines,” ranging from Bryant Family, Screaming Eagle and Scarecrow, sets Studio M apart from traditional tasting rooms.

But being able to get Wine Club members access to Napa Valley’s hidden gems is a touch that few, if any, can offer. “Damian (Uriarte, wine educator) and I have a combined 40 years experience in the wine industry, so we are able to share a lot of excellent connections,” says Hurt.

Clients at Studio M pay the same price for these wines as they would online or at the vineyards.

“We offer the opportunity for guests to discover exciting and prestigious small production wines while enjoying the fascinating and intimate stories behind them firsthand,” says Hurt.

Studio M is not stuffy, pretentious, or out of reach to folks who might only do the Big Dog Fridge wines on special occasions.

“We offer whites and reds from $60 to $12,000.”

Customized tasting flights start at $50. Studio M is a beautifully designed and completely relaxing space.

Hurt and Uriarte are fun, laid-back wine enthusiasts who enjoy sharing their extensive knowledge of the valley and their mutual love and appreciation of amazing Napa wines. Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 8-ish. 732-9668, Appointments are encouraged.

See you downtown!

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Craig Smith is the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association. Reach him at 257-0322 or