Calistoga Ranch Staycation

This seemingly never ending pandemic fever has generated a few clients craving countryside escapes; fresh air and room to roam in a secure, secluded environment. One of our favorite wine country properties is Calistoga Ranch, an Auberge Resort Collection, several ecstatic clients have stayed in the last month. One arrived for a long weekend and after checking into their upgraded spa lodge, sent photos of their extraordinary view, thanked us for the exquisite upgrade and asked if they could stay for a few extra days, wish granted!

Calistoga Ranch view from deck

One of the most private and serene locations, Calistoga Ranch is a canyon retreat, each spacious lodge is exceptionally private, many have deck Jacuzzis delivering astonishing views of the mountainside. Perched among the massive pine and oak trees, next to a stream and private lake, it’s all about outdoor living at Calistoga Ranch.

Calistoga Ranch Pool

Over a century ago, Napa Valley was known more for wilderness than for wine, its rolling hills covered in misty forests and bubbling creeks. The 50 freestanding guest lodges embrace the natural surroundings of a peaceful canyon while following the twists and turns of a rock-hewn stream on the valley floor. Rustic luxury amid birdsong and dramatic ancient oaks, the property is tucked into a private 157-acre canyon, the free-standing lodges embrace their natural surroundings, blurring the lines between inside and out.

All the lodges are freestanding wooden bungalows with outdoor fireplaces. We adore the one-bedroom lodges with deck Jacuzzis, where you can bubble away under the starlit oak canopy, sipping champers from your in-lodge bar. The lodges have floor to ceiling windows overlooking the oak studded valley below. Outdoor spa pools, surrounded by all this natural beauty, are as relaxing as they are restoring.

Calistoga Ranch Lodge Suite

Amenities: Heated outdoor pool, vineyard, gardens, spa and gym (not open yet), shops, library, free WiFi. In rooms: LCD TV, DVD/CD player, iPod dock, indoor-outdoor fireplace, alfresco shower, free minibar.

Poolside: Crisp white sun-loungers dot the heated outdoor pool, where you can soak in both the warming waters and the stunning scenery – a dramatic backdrop of the vineyard, the oak groves and the majestic Mayacama mountains. Lunch service every day by the pool..

Impeccable service, fine dining at the Lake House with options for wine tasting. The Lake House restaurant is open to resort guests and owners only, no outside visitors. Guests can dine inside or out, and take advantage of Lake Lommel and surrounding woodlands, we request the tables closest to the lake line under the inky black star-studded sky. The menu changes seasonally but includes choices like charred octopus with sunchoke and summer vegetable harvest with English pea purée, or black angus beef tenderloin with ramp, maitake, mushroom and brioche.

Calistoga Ranch The Lakehouse dining

Indulge in all day self-guided bike tours through the wine country from the resort doors, hiking, yoga, or just chill on your deck and count the soaring birds overhead! Drag your book bag and catch up with your leisure reading, bring the laptop if you must, you may never want to depart.

We have local private wine tours; these exclusive vineyards are small and not open to the public. A driver will escort you to one or two for a delightful afternoon of tasting with the owners. Personal and private.

There are a couple of two-bedroom lodges in secluded hilltop locations. Tucked amidst towering pine trees and mossy oaks, these rarified forest lodges seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor. Each of the two bedrooms opens onto its own outdoor rain shower, while an outdoor hot tub delivers instant bliss. A large fully-equipped gourmet kitchen will delight any recreational chef, indoor and outdoor dining areas set the scene for relaxed wine country gatherings. Two fireplaces-one on the terrace, the other a see-through indoor-outdoor fireplace that overlooks both living room and terrace-beckon gathering around. Warm furnishings, rich polished woods, and handpicked original artwork accent the natural surroundings. That extra something: concierge service and a private chef, upon request, means you’ll never have to leave your sanctuary.

Stay a week or more and achieve a significant discount. Ring us for our extraordinary offerings, we all need a bit of a secluded sanctuary stay!

Calistoga Ranch Lodge Suite Chef Kitchen

Another month of Covid-19 uncertainty has passed and while some parts of the world begin to open up again, I’m sadly aware that this is far from the case globally and especially domestically. From our client requests, it feels like domestic travel will be the mainstay for many, until we have a broader and more accurate sense of clarity or, better still, a vaccine. We can satisfy your Wanderlust with safe secure stand alone properties. Be well.

Drink, Eat and be Merry! Exclusive tastings.

Your friends come to town and you need an A-Game Expedition to share your love of wine with a day trip to explore unique vineyards in the Napa Valley. Wine has evolved to a lifestyle and a massive commercial business, evolving from use as a holy sacrament used in religious ceremonies. Anyone can visit the cellars lined up along the congested bumper to bumper Hwy. 29 or the Silverado Trail.  We prefer smaller boutique properties, exclusive premium wine producers who generate less than 2000 cases a year and are not open to the general public.  Clients meet privately with winemakers/vintners for tastings of their wines and lunch on property. An enchanting experience meeting the makers and understand their personal Journey, the interconnection between wine and the place where it is made—the vineyard. 

A last-minute request from a client drew us back to our exclusive Napa Valley firm who curates bespoke wine experiences. We provided a comprehensive overview with a possible overnight Valley stopover at a private Villa or hotel – we were gratified to discover suites at Calistoga Ranch for the single night and a chef table on the edge of the vineyard for an under the moonlight dinner!

Fall Crush Napa Valley

Our client had a noteworthy plus, a jet would deliver them directly to Napa, definitely a luxurious amenity! Our team took over on arrival with a deluxe eight passenger Mercedes Sprinter, comfort and style and a designated driver. Vintage cars are also available for smaller groups. We can add a few miles of bicycling as well if you are inclined. Fields of golden yellow mustard blossoms line the paths in spring, autumn is equally stunning, glorious shades of ruby reds and brilliant yellow, the verdant summer leaves transform into a fall pageant, a reminder of the portentous sleepy season.

Back to a day of unique private tastings and lunch under the trees on a hilltop estate with a small vineyard proprietor. Only you and your friends will be the guests here sipping handcrafted wines, away from the crowds. Guests need an appointment and would struggle to find the property, located off of an unmarked road with no vineyard sign. Any tasting here is by appointment only, for serious wine enthusiasts, and takes place at the owner’s home, the vineyard is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon but there are also some Bordeaux varietals and even a small amount of Sangiovese on site. This family celebrates more than 60 years of farming in the valley, but their roots were planted there more than 100 years ago. Four generations of family manage the successful sought-after vineyard.

Napa Valley Vineyards

If you can tear yourself away from the rambling hillside property and the soaring views, mosey to Vice Versa Winery and enjoy a private tasting with Vintner Samantha Breton. A few years ago, Vice Versa began selling its wines “en primeur” and allowed Paul Hobbs to complete his integral work as the team welcomed consulting winemaker Philippe Melka to the helm of the winemaking team which also includes Maayan Koschitzky and Ashley Leon. Big Cabs dominate the wine menu, the founder’s philosophy and wine style is rigid. After 22 months of aging, only the best barrels make Vice Versa. The best of the best make BBS. The best of the BBS make Magnificent Seven. This draconian approach to classification is rarely taken as it leaves tiny yields, but they find what remains is the purest expression of a vineyard’s identity and in turn, the wine’s spirit. They consider these wines a work of art.

You may have noticed we don’t include many names, the Vintners prefer we not mention their properties to prevent unscheduled tastings. We offer a select list of visits with some of Napa Valley’s most prominent vintners, a curated experience.

Fall leaves Napa Valley

Wine loves good company, you invite your friends, we will curate the wine Journey!