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Eduardo Dingler

It is indeed a fantastic time of the year, the event Napa eagerly awaits all year. Whether you are a concert-goer looking to indulge in the festival bounties, a business owner gearing up for the madness or a local that enjoys the buzz around town, this days are fully packed with excitement.

The Napa Valley Expo came alive with an estimated more than 100,000 attendees, and anyway you look at it, the jolt of energy is palpable.

Aside from the actual BottleRock music shows, chefs performances and culinary attractions the city put the best party during Memorial Day Weekend.

Restaurants throw after-parties and feature specials to satisfy the massive influx in the downtown area.

In case you haven’t noticed, downtown Napa counts with a healthy number of tasting rooms that take away the driving Upvalley factor and dress up during this time.

One of them that tried something new with great success was the recently opened Alpha Omega Tasting room on First Street. They partnered with talented Chef Brent Pennington of Pennington Provisions to provide a brunch fare to the festival attendees who pleasantly washed it down with their favorite wine.

So what were some of the highlights? Well, Ca’Momi restaurant had a great lineup of light music to go with their classic Italian fare and quite tasty with a bottle of Archineri Pietradolce Etna Bianco from Sicily. NapaSport Steakhouse hosted a lively after-party on Friday where guests got to mingle with some of the BottleRock performers with a frozen Daiquiri in hand.

The wine bar scene was certainly a meeting point. Whether it was the lively Cadet Wine Bar tucked in the alleyway where nearly 1,000 thirsty attendees devoured their lively wine list, including a deep and interesting Champagne selection.

The secret and unwinding spot was provided by Compline Wine Bar where they featured a handful of soul-warming dishes like Chicken Mole that hit the spot accompanied by a glass of a crisp and refreshing Favorita from Piemonte before recharging for the next day.

It was quite a scene to observe dozens of “Mexican Style” (bacon-wrapped hot dogs served with jalapeños and onions) vendors feeding the hungry masses at the end of each night. I have to admit I couldn’t resist trying one, and it was finger-licking good. It was properly cleansed with a high ball from Basalt Restaurant with Buddha’s Hand Citrus Vodka and Topo Chico Sparkling water.

Billco’s Pool Hall also saw a share of happy imbibers sharing their BottleRock stories in a daily basis with their multiple beers on tap. A Guinness Stout after a long and fun day simply hits the spot!

Overall, an epic party of a weekend with something for everyone who’s up for a great time.

Cheers to you!

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Eduardo can be reached at eduardo@sakedrinker.com.