Get your tickets to the valley’s best events.
Live in the Vineyard: Music's stars take the stage.
Photos by Bill Van Ess
As nature’s perfect amphitheater, with its architecturally captivating wineries and some of the best wine and food in the world, Napa Valley hosts great events every month. From rock concerts and film festivals, to foodie happenings and famous fundraisers, we highlight some golden tickets.
Launching its first four-day music series, BottleRock’s lineup of artists rivaled South by Southwest, Coachella, and any world-class music festival. Musicians including The Black Keys, Zac Brown Band, Kings of Leon, Jane’s Addiction, Ben Harper, The Flaming Lips, Train, The Black Crowes, and Blues Traveler took the stage in front of thousands in downtown Napa. But it wasn’t just rock and roll: Three comedy shows each day featured headliners such as Jim Gaffigan and Kristen Schaal. Proceeds benefited children with autism and other charitable causes. bottlerocknapavalley.com.
Gabe Meyers, cofounder
Auction Napa Valley
—May 30–June 2
Hosted for 33 years and continually ranked as one of the highest-grossing wine auctions in the country, this annual fundraiser attracts a world-class crowd with deep pockets. Wine enthusiasts purchase highly coveted ticket packages to gain access to private dinners at esteemed wineries, an energy-packed barrel auction, and the grand live auction. Bidders raise paddles to win lots ranging from verticals of Harlan Estate to private jet trip bundles. (Gulfstream V to Paris with a private tour of Coco Chanel’s apartment, anyone?) To date, it’s raked in $110 million for local youth and health-related nonprofits. auctionnapavalley.org.
Garen Staglin, 2013 honorary chair
Mondavi Summer Concert Series
—June 29–July 20
As the destination event trailblazer dating back to 1969, the Robert Mondavi Winery hosts one of the longest-running events in the valley, with its beloved summer concerts. In-the-know attendees arrive early for these picnic-style soirees and stake out their claim on the lawn, with beach chairs and blankets. Tickets to see artists from Huey Lewis and the News to KC and the Sunshine Band sell out months in advance. Pay a little extra for reserved seating and family-style dinner served in the vineyard rows, and you’ll quickly realize why this is a crowd favorite. robertmondavi.com.
Margrit Mondavi, founder
Mondavi Summer Concert Series: Top musical acts at a scenic winery
Festival del Sole
Have you ever heard opera icon Renée Fleming
serenade an audience from a castle beneath the stars? Or watched world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell play alongside the Russian National Orchestra on the lawn at Far Niente? Indescribably magical performances like these make the 10-day Festival del Sole unlike any other arts event in the world. In its seventh year, the festival weaves together a tapestry of lunches, dinners, and musical and theatrical talent in the valley’s most spectacular settings. This year’s roster includes Grammy-winning vocalist Audra McDonald, conductor George Daugherty, violinist Sarah Chang, and cellist Nina Kotova. Don’t miss the 24 Hour Plays featuring A-list actors in comedy vignettes. festivaldelsole.org.
Rick Walker, festival director and cofounder
Festival del Sole: Music, theater, and food in a magical setting
Napa Valley Film Festival
Claimed by many who attended last year’s second annual to have “the best parties of the year,” this film festival envelops Wine Country from downtown Napa up to Calistoga. With lavish gala parties, star-studded events, intimate screenings at wineries, and an expansive collection of films, Napa has thrown its hat into the Sundance arena. Rub elbows with celebs promoting their latest indie film, and discover emerging talent behind critically acclaimed documentaries like Somm, a highlight of last year’s festival, which traces the journey of four young sommeliers as they try to pass the prestigious master sommelier exam. napavalleyfilmfest.org.
Alan Cumming, actor
Napa Film Fest: Star-studded events, galas, movies, and more
Flavor! Napa Valley
Call this the consummate culinary event of the year, with seminars, dinners, grand tastings, interactive meals, culinary demonstrations, and wine education headlined by the biggest names in the industry. From celebrity chefs Thomas Keller, Michael Chiarello, Masaharu Morimoto, Jeffrey Jake, and Cindy Pawlcyn, to wine celebrities Karen MacNeil, Alder Yarrow, Rajat Parr, Jon Bonné, and Hailey Trefethen, Flavor! is a true foodie marathon. Thanks to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, positioned as ground zero for many of the events, the stage—and table—are set. flavornapavalley.com.
John Evans, Flavor! Napa Valley founding sponsor and general manager of Silverado Resort and Spa
Flavor! Napa: Wine Country's culinary event of the year