Regardless of your resolutions, I challenge you to make it a personal initiative to get out and enjoy the Napa Valley in this New Year. Every day there is something amazing available locally to taste, see, enjoy or support, often for a very low price, as a donation or even for FREE.
Consider the flavors and tastes scattered about destinations such as Oxbow Public Market and Main Street in St. Helena; the selection of places to explore on foot such as the Vine Trail or our many parks and trails; even local libraries and community centers from American Canyon to Calistoga offer activities, talks, books, CDs, movies and other resources and activities. There are also plenty of “Local’s Nights” at musical venues such as Blue Note, as well as musicians and artists that play in nightlife spots and winery tasting rooms across the valley.
It is naturally a breeze to be a supporter, participant, spectator or volunteer. Here are my top “only in Napa Valley” opportunities for January. Get out there, explore and make 2018 a very Happy New Year!
Resolution Run – A Benefit for the Napa Valley Vine Trail
Monday, January 1
The first day of the year may as well begin with some movement and exercise! Kick off the New Year by participating in the Resolution Run on New Year’s Day at 10 a.m. From the starting line to the finish line at the Yountville Community Center in “downtown” Yountville, either the 5K or 10K course will lead to the beginning of a happy and health-bound New Year. This can be a family affair, strollers are welcome, but canine family members must be left at home. NapaValleyResolutionRun.com
Napa Truffle Festival
Friday, January 12 – Monday, January 15
The Napa Truffle Festival returns, set to feature America’s top truffle chefs based upon the European truffle tradition of gathering: the best truffle chefs in the world, and experts and scientists recognized for their expertise on truffle cultivation. The host chef is Chef Ken Frank of La Toque, and this annual weekend celebration will feature an exciting lineup of special guests from the worlds of food and wine, including truffle cultivation experts, dog trainers and internationally-renowned master chefs. Ancillary events such as truffle lunches, cooking demos, wild mushroom forays, truffle orchard tours, dog training demos and one big Marketplace at Oxbow Public Market are scheduled as well. Truffles will be studied, discussed, prepared and paired with wines. NapaTruffleFestival.com
Napa Craft Beer & Spirits Festival
Saturday, January 20
The Napa Valley is known for wine. One day per year, however, the craft beverage scene literally steals (and takes) center stage at Blue Note Napa and the JaM Cellars Ballroom at the Napa Valley Opera House. Napa Craft Beer & Spirits Festival attendees can check out curated craft beers, ciders and spirits on site, which may likely evolve into a unique, mind-blowing mixology experience. At this event attendees are able to taste a number of craft beverage selections, in one place, at one time. More than 35 breweries, in excess of 70 craft beers, ciders and spirits, along with fun people, some entertaining games and live music, make this a one-day festival unlike others. Imbibe responsibly. NapaCraftBeerFestival.com
Napa High’s A Cappella Extravaganza
Presented by Napa High School’s Vocal Music Workshop
Saturday, January 20
Napa High’s Vocal Music Workshop has hosted the A Cappella Extravaganza for thirteen years. This annual event has become the signature performance and fundraising event, for this self-sustained vocal music program. What began as a small a cappella event, is now a complete evening concert experience that includes a lineup of local high school (Vintage High School and American Canyon High School also participate), collegiate and professional groups. This live, dynamic, incredible event (literally one of my very favorite evenings of the entire year- I’ll be there!) is set to take place again at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater in Yountville. For tickets visit LincolnTheater.org.
VOENA Carnegie Hall Benefit Concert
Sunday, January 21
Our own local VOENA Children’s Choir has been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall! To raise funds for this once-in-a-lifetime trip, the young vocal musicians are staging a benefit concert (including wine and culinary tastes) in the JaM Cellars Ballroom at the Napa Valley Opera House. Along with the VOENA Choir, featured artists will include these talented local musicians: Jeff Campitelli (former drummer for Joe Satriani), Peppino D’Agostino (international acoustic guitarist) and Carlos Reyes (world-renowned Paraguayan harpist and violinist). For tickets, to sponsor or donate: Voena.org.
Prolific Night with the Crew
Sunday, January 21
The premier collegiate and pro-level basketball training program, one of Napa Valley’s lesser-known treasures, is Prolific Prep. All of these players are young men from throughout the world that are committed to the sport of basketball, reaching goals and moving… on up! The Second Annual Prolific Night with the Basketball Crew will honor the student athletes with an evening of hoops, wine, food, a silent auction, music and friends. Set for the Native Sons of the Golden West Building in Napa, this fundraiser will benefit the Prolific Prep Academic Tuition Fund. Mark Ibanez (KTVU Channel 2) will emcee with David Griffin (former General Manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers) and Marc Spears (ESPN Undefeated) as guest speakers. ProlificPrep.org/fundraisers
Napa Valley Restaurant Week
Sunday, January 21 – Sunday, January 28
Napa Valley Restaurant Week allows locals and visitors to sample, test, dine and delight throughout the entire valley and while experiencing the legendary food and wine culture of our region for one week from January 21-28, 2018. Through multi-course prix-fixe menus for lunch ($20) and dinner ($36 or $46), guests can try out the latest culinary hot-spots or revisit old favorites all week long. Farm-to-table practices and Michelin-Star rated restaurants make the Napa Valley an epicurean’s destination. As locals, gee… how lucky can we get? There’s no better time to enjoy it all than during Restaurant Week. VisitNapaValley.com.