Partnerships and Pairings

By Holly Woolard

There’s competition, make no mistake about that. But Napa and Sonoma counties and the players in their flourishing wine, hospitality and travel industries also fervently believe in teamwork. There are partnerships at every turn throughout northern California’s wine country, from luxurious hotels teaming up with vintners for private tastings to Michelin-starred restaurants relying on local farms to help them create the freshest seasonal dishes possible.

Photo Credit: Smartmeeting

According to Allison Simpson, senior vice president of marketing forVisit Napa Valley, there has been a spirit of collaboration for more than 50 years fueled by theNapa Valley Vintnerstrade association, which boasts 450 members. Besides providing support among winemakers and growers, the vintners association has raised more than $100 million for local organizations through its annual auction. The vintners and Visit Napa Valley also used their collective influence to become the official wine region for the 2013 America’s Cup in San Francisco.

“The Napa Valley Vintners have done a remarkable job sharing the Napa Valley wine story in harmony with one another,” Simpson says. “For us to have them as a partner is huge.”

“The Napa Valley Vintners have done a remarkable job sharing the Napa Valley wine story in harmony with one another,” Simpson says. “For us to have them as a partner is huge.”

Hospitality de los Carnerosunites wineries located in the famous Carneros appellation, which traverses Napa and Sonoma counties. The association was established in 2000 to educate the public about the Carneros region and has grown to 34 wineries. Annual events fund endowments at Napa Valley College and Santa Rosa Junior College for students pursuing wine-related careers.

It would be understandable if Napa and Sonoma counties were at war for their fair share of tourism and the meetings and events market. But northern California’s renowned wine-producing regions seemingly understand and embrace the value of partnerships.

“I love it that we are so close to Napa,” says Wendy Petersen, executive director of theSonoma Valley Visitors Bureau. “We complement each other so well.”

Photo Credit: Smartmeeting

River Terrace Inn, Napa

Napa Valley is a brand, and local business leaders will go to the ends of the earth to protect that name. Napa Valley Vintners has worked with countries such as New Zealand, China, Brazil and India to prevent bottles from being illegally labeled as Napa Valley wine and ensure consumer confidence that when a bottle of wine says Napa Valley, the wine reflects the quality of the region.

The vintners’ mentality has seemingly spilled over to chefs, hotels, resorts and spas. As evidence, consider that Napa Valley boasts more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than any region in the country. This amazing culinary esteem is highlighted by two three-star restaurants: The French Laundry in Yountville and The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena. There were also six one-star and five Bib Gourmand designations, denoting good cuisine at a reasonable price.

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