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volante: usa

Green Party

Meadowood brings old-school Napa food and wine culture together with a touch of the Hamptons, write Elyse Glickman and Sandi Margolis
photographed by the authors

From issue 20 of Lucire



WHEN YOU THINK of Napa, what comes to mind? Winery tours and great food, naturally, and, perhaps, golf (take it from a former golf widow!). However, if you want your visit to one of America’s most famous “victory gardens” to be more diverse in activities and culture, Meadowood is a wonderful spot to call home for a few days.

While other resorts have the northern California “craftsman-style” thing, Meadowood and its neighbour­ing community, St Hélèna, instantly strike you as a younger, more free-spirited west coast cousin to the Hamptons, thanks to the property’s homespun wooden cottages and club houses, St Hélèna’s Main Street (which is a Main Street USA in every sense) and locals and residents opting for Lacoste and Banana Republic-hewn style. There is a touch of a European sensibility, but since this is a Relais & Château property, that should come as no surprise.

That being said, Meadowood and St Hélèna are anything but stuffy, thanks to the resort’s young, energetic and highly attentive staff and an on-premises spa and health club that is as relaxed and friendly as your neighbourhood yoga place back home (with a boutique choc-a-block with cute yoga clothes and cosmetics to boot!). Also, even with some visual trap­pings that scream ‘old east coast money’, there are plenty of things to do and see that deliver a food and wine lover a quint­essentially Napa kind of experience worth crossing the country or the world for.

On Main Street, clothing boutiques are dispersed among specialty stores for artisan breads, olive oils, wine and Woodhouse Chocolate.

When it comes to winery visits, the possibilities are endless, and resident sommelier Michael Scherzberg can even help you pick the ones just right for you. However, Signorello Vineyards (1 707 255-5990, offers something a bit more special, thanks to winery chef Laura Douglas-Lee.

In her capable hands, you can organize a customized cooking class for a moderate price that not only teaches you and your travel-mates cooking basics and user friendly recipes (we learned about how to throw together a great summer corn and shrimp salad, ratatouille with seared ahi tuna and herb gnocchi from scratch with seasonal mushroom sauce and seared duck—exquis­ite!), but also how adapt the foods you are preparing to suit Signorello’s excellent wines during the cooking and seasoning process. Better still, Lee’s recipes are so easy to follow that substitutions for any allergy or dietary restriction is as much a no-brainer as picking the right wine, because it’s been thought out ahead of time.

Thanks to Scherzberg and his staff, meanwhile, on-premises restaurants (including the Grill and the newly opened and exceedingly romantic Restaurant at Meadowood) boast one of the largest wine lists in the country—47 pp. covering nearly 1,000 selections. The menus, fashioned by executive chef Vincent Nattress and restaurant chef-de-cuisine Joseph Humphrey, are close to perfect, and go as far to offer the one-of-a-kind experience of separate red, white and either food menus to take some of the guesswork out of food pairing.

Moreover, the 42-year-old resort is retreat gone luxe (but without pretension), thanks in part to the meandering green hills (including a croquet lawn, tennis courts, and a nine-hole golf course), the enormous rooms, insanely soft Italian bedclothes, splurge-worthy spa treatments (like the gentle-but-effective Cabernet Crush and signature Cascading Stone Massage), Molton Brown amenities, colourful English china in your mini-bar, impeccably appointed pool areas and tennis courts, wine-tasting happy hours with Scherzberg often pouring the wines and telling you stories behind them, croquet lessons from Jerry Stark (America’s current top-ranked player) and golf-carts to squire you here and there. •


Meadowood Napa Valley, 900 Meadowood Lane, St Hélèna, CA 94574, USA. Telephone 1 800 458-8080.


Vintage St Hélèna shopping

Woodhouse Chocolate
1367 Main
1 800 966-3468
Handmade, expensive and so worth it. Come for the store's old world Europe flavour and stay long enough to spend a couple of bucks on flavours you have never tried before or since.


Marlow & Company Jewelers
1204 Main Street
1 707 963-9656
Cool original pieces in gold, silver and platinum, creatively displayed.


1422 Main Street
1 707 -967-9594
Friendly place where you can find Lacoste goodies, trainers (shoes) and great workout clothes, just in case you left yours at home or you went a little too dressy in your packing choices for the wine country.


Pearl Wonderful Clothing
1428 Main Street
1 707 963-3236
The parent store of Jaunt offers some of the trendiest names in fashion (Diane Von Furstenberg, AG Denim, Wyeth, Missoni, Calypso, Kooba) merchandised in a refreshing “real-world” kind of way.


Goodman & Co.
1331 Main
1 707 -963-1750
Menswear from trendy to traditional, with some interesting and eclectic choices for girls.


Napa Valley Roasting Company
1400 Oak Avenue
1 707 963-4491
This is the place to go if you need a cure for last night's gastronomic venture Napa or a string of winery visits. The coffee is excellent and blended mochas are even better.


Amelia Claire
1230 Main Street
1 707 963-8502
A gorgeous selection of wearable higher-end shoes, bags, jackets and other desirable leather goods from moderate (Aerosoles) to ultra-high-end wearable (Calleen Cordero and Donald J. Pliner)—really and truly something for everybody.


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