Delightful Del Dotto

Having been a life-long resident in Napa Valley, I have been spoiled by all my experiences in wine-country. There are countless wineries that have sprouted up and down the Silverado Trail and along Highway 29. I tend not to visit new wineries until they have been established several years, as I’ve learned that it takes them a while to “Get their groove on”.

Del Dotto Vineyards is no “new kid on the block”. They’ve been in Napa for almost 30 years, and now in 2 locations. Back in late November I got a special invitation to experience their new Wine Paired tasting at their oldest winery, inside the caves. They did not disappoint!

My hosts were so gracious. The food was prepared by Del Dotto Executive Chef Joshua Schwartz and every course was more stupendous than the last. This is a new tasting experience that isn’t offered daily, but by appointment only.

They started me off with their very own Brut Bubbles from Sonoma Coast paired with smoked sturgeon, Delicious!!! Next up was, a seafood favorite, Maine Lobster on a toasted brioche, was perfect with their Chardonnay. I was tentative on course number three as Foise Gras has always been hit or miss for me, but the black truffle jus and yams balanced everything, including the fabulous Pinot!! The final savory dish was out of this world, Wagyu beef slider pimped with some fine Cabernet from the Villa Del Lago vineyard.

Well no trip to Del Dotto Vineyards is complete without trying their Dolores Red dessert wine. Chef paired this with his bacon butternut chocolate pumpkin seed cake that was to die for. After this experience I needed a serious nap to recover from my food and wine comatose. Seriously, this is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, and I’ve taken in so many.

The cost was only $95 for this five-course wine paired experience.  If you are foodie, you need to book this next time you are in the valley. Be sure to call me and I will get you hooked up for transportation so you can relax and enjoy your whole day.

That’s all for now, Crystal Rose, Concierge of The Valley signing off.

 

Advertisements

52 Ways to use a Concierge

52 Ways to use a Concierge

By Katharine C. Giovanni, CCS

 

One of the questions I get asked by the media is what does a concierge do?  The quick answer is that a concierge will do anything as long as it’s legal, moral and ethical.

Everyone single one of us tries to squeeze 36 hours into a 24 hour day, and when you do that you inevitably don’t do it very well. You get stressed …

Which leads to tired …

Which leads to not eating healthy because you’re craving “comfort” food …

Which leads to sickness.

Not good!

A concierge is here to do the things that you have to, leaving you the time to do the things that you want to like spending more time with family and friends, putting more time in at the office, or relaxing with a good book!

That being said, below is a list of 52 ways you can use a concierge. Since the real list of what a concierge can do for you is endless, the list below is merely here to get you started.

  1. Obtaining tickets to concerts, special events and sporting events
  2. Transportation Services – train, plane or automobiles … concierge can get it!
  3. Travel and Vacation Planning
  4. Business Referral Service – need a landscaper or a plumber?
  5. Restaurant Recommendations and/or Reservations
  6. Pet services
  7. Internet Research – need research done and you don’t have the time to do it?
  8. Personalized shopping and delivery
  9. Running to the post office
  10. Dry cleaning pick-up and/or delivery
  11. Grocery shopping
  12. Running to the hardware store
  13. Senior care
  14. Modified house sitting – need someone to wait for the service technician while you’re at work?
  15. Picking up or returning a gift
  16. Meal Delivery
  17. Home Inventory – video the contents of your home and keep it in your safe deposit box
  18. Bill paying
  19. Auto Maintenance
  20. Home Organization
  21. Notary Services – many concierge area a traveling notary and can actually come to you.
  22. House Cleaning Services
  23. Courier/Delivery Services
  24. Delivering lunch to nurses and doctors at the hospital
  25. Delivering a Meal – breakfast, lunch or dinner
  26. Prescription Pick-up and delivery
  27. Repair and Service Calls
  28. Returning a library book or a video
  29. Sick Care – sick in bed? Call a concierge and they’ll do your errands, arrange for dinner to be delivered and can be on hand to help your family out
  30. New Mommy Services
  31. Meeting and Event Planning; private parties
  32. Personal Chef Services
  33. Single Parent Helper
  34. Employee Relocation Services
  35. Gift baskets and Flower Delivery
  36. Landscaping Services
  37. Special Day Reminder Service
  38. Charter a Private Jet, Yachts or Helicopter
  39. Hire a concierge to assist you at your event, wedding or conference – also called “event concierge” and “wedding concierge”
  40. Need Security?  They’ll hire a security company to assist you.
  41. Day Spa Services
  42. Fashion and/or Stylist Consultant
  43. Nanny Services
  44. Estate Planning
  45. Arrange for your Tee Time at the golf club
  46. Book your appointments for you
  47. Hire a Butler
  48. New to the area?  A concierge will give you a tour of the town
  49. Catering Services
  50. Get Away Weekends
  51. Office help
  52. Moving assistance – let your concierge unpack those boxes and put it all away!!  All you’ll need to unpack is your toothbrush.

 

iStock_000023096297XSmall-300x198

 

http://www.triangleconcierge.com/2010/09/52-ways-to-use-a-concierge/

 

 

Glen Ellen Getaway!

Glen Ellen has always been a mysterious area. Somewhere between Kenwood and Sonoma lies this treasure trove of vineyards and private estates.
I have the pleasure of managing an enchanted estate in this special place. Off the beaten path and unknown to visitors and locals alike, this is an escape. You won’t find this advertised on TripAdvisor or any other travel magazine. You have to be in the know.
This last weekend we had a couple celebrating their 40th birthday. Special friends and family got to take in the entire “Glen Ellen” Experience.

Here are some  highlights:

I’m sure you will love the Scenery… 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So you you like food?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Don’t forget the wine…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Curious how you can enjoy this estate? Give me a call, I’d love to fill you in on all the details. You can reach me at:

707.738.5205

Do checkout my website for a full list of services I offer at Concierge of The Valley

Hit me with your BottleRock!

Unless you have been asleep in a cave you have heard of the impending music festival coming to Napa next week. As many as 50,000 youthful fans will descend on the valley with abandon. Many wineries have embraced and even sponsored the coming throngs. 60 bands, 42 wineries and 36 restaurants will be serving it up. A-List comedians and other entertainers will also be in attendance. I’m wondering what all the Mother’s Day visitors will think? Cindy Pawlcyn will have food at the Napa Valley Fairgrounds where the bulk of the action will be held. I would love to see Jim Gaffigan, currently my favorite comic.

The Black Keys headline BottleRock
The Black Keys headline BottleRock, Napa

If you are a music lover you can get your fill for $329, a 3-day pass to heaven. Too rich for your Napa Style, try the 1-day pass for only $139. The festival starts on Wednesday, May 8th and goes till Sunday. Downtown Napa should be bustling with extra tourists in town. It might be the perfect time to get up valley and do some wine tasting for locals. I’m curious what the locals near the fairgrounds think? I’ve heard that most of Alta Heights got free tickets to compensate for traffic and noise. Napa hotels are booked solid and many homes are being rented via Air BnB. If you want to get out of town, you might think about renting your place out for the weekend. I can certainly help facilitate those needs.

The event is destined to be epic and bring a more youthful element to the Napa Valley. It has the makings of an annual event like Outside Lands in San Francisco. I’m really looking forward to it!

What are your thoughts? Love to hear your comments.

Checkout the BottleRock website for all the details…

Arts in April Napa Valley

Planning a Napa Valley getaway during the month of April will definitely not disappoint.  Arts in April is a celebration of the beautiful connection between wine and the arts , this program spans the entire month which will guarantee to satisfy any craving you might have for the various art exhibits and tastings planned that will allow you to experience a truly authentic dose of Napa Valley culture.

Now the diverse schedule of events is so wide ranging that you can’t possibly experience it all but I will share my top 5 with you.

bash_headlineApril 13, 2013

Taste a variety of wines from St. Helena Appellation wineries, sample food and wine pairings created by St. Helena restaurants, caterers and food purveyors as well as by student chef teams from the Culinary Institute of America, and vote on the best food and wine pairing.  Wineries and chefs collaborate to offer sips and savory bites from a variety of St. Helena restaurants, caterers as well as “rising star” students selected by the teaching staff of the Culinary Institute of America. Greystone Campus,   This will be a delightful treat for the palate and one where you will more than likely require a driver or taxi following the event and I can certainly help you there.

st-helena3~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Domaine Chandon featuring photographer Vi Bottaro
and partnering with Napa Valley Film Festival  ~ April 1-30

During the month of April, Domaine Chandon will host a variety of events including art receptions, art tours, specialty cocktail and artist lectures.  And for an extra special treat, from April 19-21, The Napa Valley Film Festival will provide visitors of Domaine Chandon the best of food, wine and films,  offering five favorite short film viewings including Table for One and Stakeout.  What better way to enjoy Napa at its best than to stop by one of the best places for bubbly and get a small glimpse into one of the newest events to Napa Valley that will be in November so feel free to plan to come back and enjoy the full film festival from Nov. 13-17, 2013.

Old vine from To Kalon vineyard
Old vine vineyard from To Kalon #2 by photographer Vi Bottaro

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Cornerstone Cellars in Yountville will be featuring Artist Janet Ekholm

One of my favorite places in Yountville has to be Cornerstone Cellars and I guarantee you will find at least one wine you love there, if not the entire lineup.  During the month of April, there will also be amazing pieces of Janet Ekholm’s on display.  However, if you are visiting between April 18th through the 20th, the artist will be on hand to personally provide tours of her onsite gallery while guests enjoy complimentary tastings and live music.  Janet’s focus is on the human figure, especially the female body and how special it is to find someone who purposely highlights the inner strength and grace of women.  You will enjoy the stunning wines Cornerstone produces  and take advantage of the sale prices offered on the wines that feature her art on the labels, perhaps even have the artist sign the bottle while you are there. I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed when stopping by Cornerstone Cellars.  Say hi to Jeff, Craig or Michael.  Cheers!

Inside Cornerstone Tasting Room
Inside Cornerstone Tasting Room

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Yountville Art, Sip & Savor April 20th

Now, while in Yountville to visit Cornerstone and Domaine Chandon, why not combine your visit with the Yountville Art Sip & Savor. This will feature an array of tasting stations adjacent to some of the most popular public art installations.  Each tasting station will feature a Yountville Appellation Winery paired with a sweet or savory treat from the local restaurants in town.  Now the route is very walk able while in town but there will be a trolley running from Domaine Chandon through town and to the Yountville Park.  The best part is this event is practically free, donations may be requested of merely $10.00. So what better opportunity to try out local food and wine while enjoying the quaint town of Yountville!  Hope you can visit soon!

Arts, Sip & Savor
Arts, Sip & Savor

Live Taping of “Wine Booty” with Judd and The Pirate
Judd’s Hill Winery ~ April 26

Judd's Hill Pirates

Judd’s Hill Winery founder Art Finkelstein isn’t just a talented winemaker, he is also a talented painter.  So on exhibit between April 22-28, a collection of his paintings will display and all purchases of Judd’s Hill Founder’s Art Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon will be sold at a 15% discount.  To add excitement to this month of artistic displays, the winery will present a live taping of the winery’s popular web based video series “Wine Booty” from 5:30-8 p.m. at the winery.  Show up in black tie or nautical attired and walk the red carpet, enjoying an evening as part of the live audience, meet the creative cast and spend time with the Napa Valleys finest winemakers and artists.  An interesting menu of Hollywood Legendary Pink’s hot dogs will be flown in for enjoyment paired with the lovely wines produced by Judd’s Hill.  The ticket price to attend is only $25/each and proceeds benefit the Arts Council Napa Valley non-profit.

Cause for the Paws

PAWSPORT ticket
PAWSPORT ticket

Was great to experience the second annual PAWSPORT 2013 this last weekend. I love how the Napa Valley steps up to support worthy cause. Surprised to find how many wineries are dog-friendly. Twenty were participating from Friday March 22- Monday March 25. I thought about bringing my dog, but she’s a puppy and not quite ready for adventure. Of course if you need someone to watch your do while you visit the valley I can certainly arrange that.

Many wineries had special Dog treats for PAWSPORT pass holders with the proceeds from tickets sales going to the Napa Humane Society.

Clos du Val Vineyards
Clos du Val Vineyards
Clos Du Val 2010 Ariadne Sem/SB blend
2010 Ariadne Sem/SB blend

Our first stop was at Clos Du Val Estate winery. I have driven by many times but never visited. Nestled in the Stags Leap District on Silverado Trail, they have deep valley roots. A beautiful property with outside picnic tables to take in vineyard views with friends and furry one’s. Started in 1972 they have deep heritage with vineyards in the Languedoc region of France. A sparkling winery in South East Australia.

My Favorite wine was the Ariadne 2010 Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend, graced by the 3 Graces (Mischievous daughters of Zeus). Highly recommend you pickup a bottle of this rare Napa Valley blend. They also had great reds including the 2010 Primitivo.

Bubbles & Menu

We needed to pace ourselves and we decided our next stop was going to be Mumm Napa.
Nothing like enjoying Bubbles on a sunny patio, pooch at your side, although our pubby was home.

Every visit to the valley should include a sparkling wine stop. Everyday here is a celebration and they pair with almost any food.

Mumm 2005 Devaux Ranch Sparkling
2005 Devaux Ranch Sparkling

We had so many great choices on their menu.  I was blown away by the 2005 Devaux Ranch. (a vintage rarity that isn’t available anywhere else) A blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunneir and Pinot Gris. You won’t find in stores so you have to visit. Highly recommend you invest in good Bubbles for your next event or party in Napa Valley.

I can help you plan that and take care of all the sparkling details.

We decided to head back to Yountville and not try and hit more up-valley wineries.

It doesn’t take much to go over your limit at 2 wineries. If you find yourself wanting to hit more than two  in a day I highly recommend you get a limo or driver service. I have some of the best drivers that will take good care of you and provide the best tours.

Cornerstone Cellars always provides first rate experience. Well educated staff and amazing cheese plates are a treat. Our favorite was the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc.

Hill Family Estate & Cornerstone Cellars
Hill Family Estate & Cornerstone Cellars in Yountville

Although across the street Hill Family Estate provides a very casual experience. We sat on a leather couch and enjoyed potato chips and wine. It used to be an antique store until a few years ago. A reverence for music with guitars and memorabilia were elegantly presented for guests to enjoy. I have always enjoyed their Merlot and the 2010 didn’t disappoint. The staff was gracious enough to give us a special doggy bag even though puppy was home. Awesome experience that rounded out a wonderful day, SuPAWorting a Furry Cause.

Call the Concierge: 707.738.5205

Even My Frugal Friends Use a Concierge

Call the Concierge: 707.738.5205
Friends have been calling me for help and advice since forever: 707.738.5205.

Recently, on a fully booked flight in which I was sandwiched between a girl and her mini-poodle at the window, and a six-foot-tall exec on the aisle (well, at least it was the Exit Row), I was asked by the executive about being an independent concierge. The exec said he was familiar with hotel concierges but was still curious, and asked, “So you get tickets to shows and book tours? But how do people know to call you? Doesn’t it get expensive?”

The answer is simple: my first clients were my friends, who called me because I always know what’s going on, what’s open, what’s not; who’s the best at what they do, and who’s right for the job. I’ve always known how to “make it happen,” so my work in hospitality naturally morphed into affordable personal concierge services. In a short time, I had a huge local client base I was hooking up with wide range of trade contacts.

About 70% of my clients are local, and call me for a wide range of services: designated drivers for parties or events, help with finding nannies and sitters, running errands for full-time working moms, booking pet sitters and house sitters, making travel arrangements for vacations, event planning and management, arranging housekeeping and landscaping services, and yes… finding tickets to some of Napa and Sonoma’s best events. I don’t charge exorbitant fees just because I know what’s going on; I simply make it worthwhile to call me to put it all together for you. With client satisfaction comes repeat bookings and my concierge services are diverse and flourishing.

The exec, based out of Houston, is now calling me to help book his Wine Country vacation home, a few Napa and one Sonoma wine tour, personal chef services so they don’t have to cook every meal, and even in-home spa services. He tells me the entire booking is about the same as a hotel, but is providing much more privacy and peace-and-quiet (the reason for the vacation!), and leaving the details to me also provides him with assurance that it’ll be all set on arrival.

I look forward to making a booking for you, whether a one-time event or repeat/subscription services. Just leave the details to me!

Peace,
The Concierge

Entertaining and Wine Pairings

Choosing Wine for Holiday Events

Entertaining and Wine Pairings

Holiday Entertaining Is Easy with
the Right Inspiration

People often ask me how I find the right wine to order or serve for the various celebrations I arrange for clients all over Wine Country. Well… that’s what being a concierge is all about. I’m savvy to the latest popular flavor profiles, and I’m knowledgeable about vintages and terroirs thanks to my endless (and hardly grueling) research around Napa and Sonoma. And for wine recommendations and pairings, I rely on my expert Sommelier friends and insider wine media buzz (see links below, although some of this buzz is overheard at my favorite dining and drinking establishments). Then clients and I taste together, and matches are made, and cases of wine are purchased and delivered.

For Wine Country’s locals and vacationers, one of my favorite tasks is setting up a private wine tasting. We do this frequently for party hosts, guests staying at vacation homes and for corporate retreats. As the sommelier sets up, I make my mental notes, and after the event, I get the best feedback from my sommelier. It’s constant research!

I also stay on top of vintages, labels, favorites and pairings by surfing the blogs. There are some that tweet on Twitter, but they almost always link back to their wine blogs, so I just have my favorites bookmarked and check seasonally for updates. Plus, dining and entertaining articles provide me with a compass for setting up a client’s event or dinner party: I go back to some of these wine and food lists again and again, maybe updating the menu with a few recipes or wines I’ve found to enhance the experience.

I’ll let you in on my favorites:

  • For inspiring home decorating and party ideas: Elle Décor
  • For wine lists and lists and lists: K&L Wines Blog (see the SEARCH function — so great!)
  • More wine, The Terroirist: The Daily Wine Blog is also searchable, and getting tweets from the Terriorist also light me on to other wine enthusiasts’ commentary on what’s hot now.
  • For Event Shopping, Wine Accessories and Shipping Wine: Wine Enthusiast
  • For more ad hoc West (LEFT) Coast wine and travel advice: Off the Vine

    Holiday Table
    Inspiration for Holiday Entertaining can come from anywhere. This is a celebration table for a Diwali festival event.

Do share your favorite inspirational places, websites, people, bloggers… One can NEVER get enough wine advice. Happy Holidays, and Happy Entertaining!

Cheers from The Concierge

PAWS: The Concierge for Your Pet

Pet Care includes off-leash dog walking for working families.
A full menu of pet services is available, including off-leash dog walking for residents and visitors of Napa and Sonoma alike

Pet Care Made Easy in Wine Country

Have you ever been to the pet store and realized, oh shoot, they’ve got the adoption fair on, and I’m going to have to go check out the cuddly kittens?! So the other day, I began a conversation with a woman who was smitten with a darling puppy dog, and the puppy also seemed to be smitten with her and her kids. She was telling them it was too bad, they couldn’t take the dog home because the holidays were coming and they wouldn’t be able to leave the puppy while they vacationed in Tahoe.

“Kennels don’t take puppies until they’ve had certain shots,” she said and the kids about had a fit. “We can’t take him with us!”

Now, there may have been other reasons to say no to the adorable Chihuahua mix, but I said to her, “You know, I could easily book you a petsitter.”  We talked, and she did book us for dogsitting and now mommy’s happy, kids are happy, and “Buddy Scout” (they couldn’t decide) has a happy home.

PAWS is Concierge of the Valley’s extensive pet care service that has been successfully helping our furry (or scaly?!) residents in both Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. We provide in-home pet care for visitors hoping for a day or two of coverage for a pooch, for families working long hours, providing live-in vacation pet care, which also takes care of housesitting, periodic pet-sitting check-ins and pet playdates.

Dog walking can be the simplest of tasks, on-leash, or if a larger dog requires an off-leash run, we’re on the job. Cat sitting can be a stop-by affair, or include play time. Medication needs will be competently handled, leaving no worries for owners. If you and pooch are staying at one of Wine Country’s pet-friendly hotels, we’re familiar with your needs and are at your service.

Our pet sitters are reliable and trustworthy, and are guaranteed by Concierge of the Valley. Whenever in doubt, call Concierge of the Valley to discuss a variety of petsitting options.  The sooner you call, the sooner it’s covered!