Rock ‘n’ roll legend Neil Young together with Imagine Dragons and Mumford & Sons will headline this year’s BottleRock festival May 24-26 at Napa Valley Expo.
Dave Graham, CEO of Latitude 38 Entertainment, said that the Napa festival was definitely honoring rock this year.
“It’s the way that it fell. We’re always going to have more rock bands in our festival than any festival out there. We’re happy with where things landed; we’re feeling good about it,” Graham said.
That said, “There is some serious hip-hop and EDM (electronic dance music) in there,” he said.
Headliners on the festival’s second main stage are Logic, Pharrell Williams and Santana.
Other acts topping the festival lineup include Gary Clark, Jr., OneRepublic, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Juanes, Chevy Metal (Foo Fighter Taylor Hawkins’ side band), Flogging Molly, Lord Huron, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Vintage Trouble and more than 60 others.
Graham is pleased to have two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Neil Young at the top of the lineup. “All you have to say is ‘It’s Neil Young,’ right?,” he said. “He is as iconic as they come. He has not played the Bay Area since 2016, and that was the Bridge School benefit concert. And to have him performing with Promise of The Real, which is fronted by Lukas Nelson, it’s going to be pretty cool.”
This is the first year that BottleRock will host a repeat headliner, Imagine Dragons. “We had no hesitancy going back to Imagine Dragons,” Graham said. “As good as the band was and as big as the band was when they played BottleRock in 2015, they’ve become huge since then. The number of new hits that they’ve created has exploded.
“They were the largest streamed band on the planet in 2018, and they’ve really come into their own from a live performance standpoint,” he said.
Mumford & Sons sits atop a small group of the world’s elite folk rockers. BottleRock has been hoping to book them for years. “Not to discount any other bands that we’ve had at BottleRock, but we can’t think of a better fit,” the festival executive said.
“We’ve been trying to get them and get them and get them. We knew that they had a new album that was about to debut. It’s called ‘Delta,’ and it was just released, their first full album release since 2015. We’re delighted to have them.”
Graham said that they have also been wanting to book Santana for years. “We’ve been trying for him since 2014, and the stars have never aligned. He’s been doing a residency in Vegas for I think the past two years. ‘Supernatural’ is celebrating its 20th anniversary. He’s got 10 Grammys and and along with Neil, he’s a Rock Hall inductee. Talk about another quintessential Bay Area rock star.”
Pharrell Williams is a multi-talented performer and producer, an 11-time Grammy winner, a six-time Music Award winner, a six-time Billboard Music Award winner and a two-time Oscar nominee.
Logic, with multiple Grammy and iHeartRadio nominations and a win at the 2018 BMI Pop Awards, will head up a cluster of popular hip-hop artists at the festival, including Big Boy, Too Short and Cypress Hill.
Gary Clark, Jr., one of the most honored contemporary blues musicians in America, will be making his Napa debut. “The way that he comports himself on stage,” Graham said, “he’s gone and transitioned over to a superstar and he has the crowds to prove it. It is unreal.”
The BottleRock CEO was not ready to talk about the details of the festival’s plans for design changes at Expo for 2019, but he said they would not be standing pat. “I can promise you that this is not going to be rinse and repeat. We always raise the bar, and the bar will be raised in a variety of ways.”
First, it was coffee with wine. Now, Rick Molinari is taking things a drink further.
Early last year, hoping to find somewhere to make a cold brew coffee, Molinari went to Bend, Oregon to see if Jimmy Seifrit, brewmaster at 10 Barrel Brewing, could help him out. He came away with something else entirely.
“It ended up turning out to be we’re going to be doing a stout with my wine coffee,” Molinari said recently.
Introduced by a mutual friend, Molinari and Seifrit have since ironed out a recipe to effectively close a new wine- to-coffee-to-beer circle.
Their in-the-works wine-coffee-beer, the first boozy trifecta of its kind, will have its release through 10 Barrel late this year, helping to add a new dimension to Molinari’s popular caffeinated concoction, the Molinari Private Reserve.
The alcohol-free wine-coffee is made by rehydrating coffee beans in a red Napa wine for a rich taste churning with dark fruit flavors. So far, the coffee has earned shout-outs from the likes of Time and Food & Wine magazines, as well as a recent TV spot in France.
The wine-infused coffee is available at various Napa wineries and in Molinari’s downtown Napa coffee shop, Molinari Caffe on Brown Street. With plans to move to Oregon next year and the Private Reserve gaining momentum, Molinari says he’s shifting focus from his Napa coffee hub to the coffee itself.
“It’s gotten even bigger, and I just need to put more time and effort into it,” he said.
Amid all the growth, another layer of libation has been a welcome, if surprise, addition to Molinari’s plans, while on the brewery side, the appeal to Seifrit of blending mediums is equal parts creative outlet and customer outreach.
“The idea of being able to get a wine barrel-aged coffee-flavored stout just by infusing his wine-coffee — which I think is actually a more distinct wine flavor than I would get out of a wine barrel — was super intriguing to us,” Seifrit said.
“For me, I love the idea of having a customer being excited, like, ‘How’d you make this wine-aged beer so fast?’”
From there, a discourse on the beer’s coffee side would naturally spin off into a spot for Molinari’s business.
“Jimmy and I are kind of on the same page. We like doing new things,” Molinari said, pointing to some of Seifrit’s offbeat, yet widely popular, brews. “I don’t know if anybody would have thought of doing an apricot sour or a cucumber sour.”
That inventiveness, on top of earning 10 Barrel a wide following, a 2014 buyout by Anheuser-Busch InBev and a steadily growing number of locations across the West, should also keep the coffee-wine-beer quaffable rather than becoming a drink too far.
The brewing begins with cold-steeping the wine-infused beans for 24 hours. This helps cut out the oil in the coffee, Seifrit says, which can kill the foamy head of a beer. Once cold-steeped and oil-free, the liquid coffee is combined with an already prepared oatmeal stout.
The coffee and stout are married in the brewery’s finished beer tank, its last stop before packaging.
But how does a beer made with coffee made with wine taste?
“It’s hard to explain,” Molinari says of the elusive flavor profile. “We’re still developing. But the taste is going to change per batch.”
Much will depend on how much of the wine flavor gets soaked into his coffee at the start.
“We’re probably going to use the decaf, because my decaf wine coffee actually has more of the flavor of the wine in it and the fruitfulness of it,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to explain because it’s not anything like a coffee stout. It is, but it isn’t. It’s just going to have a little bit more of a fruitier taste to it, but it’s still going to be clean.”
Tannins will come into play from both the coffee and the wine, Seifrit said. “And what we do with that then is pair it up with an oatmeal stout that’s got a really big creamy underlying tone to it.”
“So you kind of have basically this little bit of smoothness plays off that tannic and together they work to have this wonderfully, kind of like dexterous beer, but it has a great snap from that wine bite at the end of it.”
Brewing will begin with small batches. Working with three-and-a-half-barrel and 10-barrel systems, Seifrit was able to run through the beer on the smallest scale first and is now ramping up to the 10-barrel system to move the beer into the “brewpub series” — a set of beers made at 20 to 80 barrels and sold to accounts that do well for the brewery.
“At least beer industry-wise, the customer that’s out there wants everything that’s new and that nobody else can get,” he said. “So these beers really drive people toward these accounts, but also toward 10 Barrel.”
For now, a release date around fall or winter of this year is most likely. “I can’t put out a coffee stout in the middle of the summer,” Seifrit said, a time when “people just aren’t drinking those styles of beers.”
A name is still forthcoming, but after 25 years as a brewmaster, Seifrit says he’s leaving the naming up to the marketing department. “One is, pretty much every great name is taken at this point. And two is, it actually just hurts my head trying to do it anymore.”
Test markets might include areas like Seattle and Portland with pulsing beer and coffee scenes. Add to that Napa, as Molinari says he’ll also offer the beer at his coffee shop.
“Napa’s turning into that,” Molinari said. “Napa’s turning into a beer place … If it goes well, I might want to work with other people down here, if they want to.”
Talk, music and sports will continue issuing forth from Napa’s twin radio stations – but, starting this spring, from a new hub.
A new studio at the South Napa Century Center at 135 Gasser Drive will become home to KVON-AM and KVYN-FM, which are preparing to leave behind their longtime home at 1124 Foster Road. The move is expected to take place in April, after which the current studio will be removed to make room for a planned cluster of 14 townhouses, station co-owner Wilfred Marcencia said Thursday afternoon.
Wine Down Media, the holding company for both stations, moved a step closer to relocating when the city Planning Commission approved an 8-foot-tall rooftop antenna for the Gasser Drive studio later Thursday. The antenna will link the studio, which will be based inside a Century Center building that also houses Naked Wines, to KVON’s 5,000-watt AM transmitter at Kennedy Park to the south as well as KVYN’s 6,000-watt FM transmitter in St. Helena.
Station staff is expected to benefit from modernized technology at the new headquarters, according to Marcencia. Among other changes, the stations will gain the ability to automatically upload podcasts and other programming by computer, and air them without direct human intervention.
Meanwhile, Wine Down Media’s exit from Foster Road clears the way for a residential project being pitched by the Napa stations’ previous owner, Roger Walther, who sold them to Wilfred and Julissa Marcencia in 2017.
A June application by Walther, an investor and bank founder, calls for removing the current studio building, which dates to the 1960s. Replacing it would be a mix of three-story duplex and four-plex buildings, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms in each unit.
Pending city approval, construction of the townhomes would run about 18 months into 2020, a spokesperson for Walther’s Tusker Corp. said in July.
KVON, a news and sports outlet, has been on the Napa airwaves since 1947. KVYN debuted in 1975 and now carries an adult contemporary music format under the “Sauvignon Rock” slogan.
American Canyon in 2019 should see its basketball courts, tennis courts and skate park in better shape.
The City Council voted last month to transfer $275,000 from its general fund to its capital project fund. That will allow the city to move forward with the renovations when the rainy season winds down.
Targeted for repair are the tennis courts and basketball courts at Elliott Park and the basketball court at Northampton Park. They’ve worn over time.
“The playing surface has cracks and is old and uneven,” City Manager Jason Holley said in a phone interview.
Old surfaces will be ground away and replaced with new surfaces, he said. Work will likely begin between April and June, given it must be done during the dry season.
Plus, the city will add pickleball lines to the renovated tennis courts. Pickleball is a game that is a cross between tennis and other paddle sports, with the back line 22 feet from the net.
The skate park, with its various metal ramps, opened about 15 years ago. City officials last summer debated what to do with the aging facility, given the school district might someday want to purchase the land.
The City Council authorized Holley to execute a contract with American Ramp Co. for $100,000. Holley said existing structures will be revamped and elements will be added.
Already under a separate contract are several planned improvements at the skate park, such as repairing a grind box and replacing ground anchor bolts on some of the ramps, Parks and Recreation Director Creighton Wright said during the Dec. 18 City Council meeting.
There is more city park renovation work to be done. In October, the Parks and Community Services Commission came up with a long list of deferred maintenance projects, including repairing the Wetlands Edge Trail and replacing a concrete path at Community Park 1, which has yet to be named.
Vice Mayor Kenneth Leary said he keeps up his car with regular oil changes. The Golden Gate Bridge is constantly being painted. But city parks don’t see this type of preventive care.
“We need a (parks) maintenance plan,” Leary said. “And we need to be able to fund that so we don’t get here again. Deferred maintenance always costs more.”
Several residents during public comments praised the council’s move to repair the courts and skate park, though one said it disturbingly took a public outcry. A resident stepped to the speaker’s lectern with a sign that said “Save our Parks.”