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Wednesday, 29 March 2017 11:47

What’s Trending in Napa Valley

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Taking a Culinary Institute of America wine tasting class is a visitor option at the reborn Copia Taking a Culinary Institute of America wine tasting class is a visitor option at the reborn Copia

TASTE News Service, March 29, 2017 - On the heels of the opening of Yabu Pushelberg-designed, Las Alcobas hotel, and the unveiling of French Laundry’s $10 million expansion, the spotlight continues to shine on Napa Valley, thanks to a crop of new hotels, restaurants, art installations, and a booming brewery scene.

Downtown Napa’s Resurgence: Downtown Napa, previously a drive-through town, continues to transform with more than 65 restaurants and 27 tasting cellars. (Two decades ago there was only one tasting room and half the number of restaurants.) The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Copia, the brainchild of Julia Child as well as Robert and Margrit Mondavi, re-opened last fall after an eight-year closure. The food and wine center now offers daily cooking classes, tastings from local wineries, and will become home to the first culinary arts museum featuring the 2,000-piece personal cookware collection of Williams-Sonoma’s founder, Chuck Williams this spring. The opening of Kenzo introduced the town’s first Michelin three-star chef, and the new Miminashi serves ice cream so popular, there’s a dedicated take-out window. The Archer hotel will open later this year, and will be the anchor of the new First Street Napa center, with more than 40 boutiques and restaurants. Napa also offers a growing nightlife scene, with highlights including Blue Note, downtown Napa’s first Jazz Club, and JaM Cellars, a tasting room that moonlights as a recording studio.

Street Art Comes to Napa Valley: Street art is thriving in cities across the globe, and this year Napa Valley will unveil its first outdoor murals. Inspired by Wynwood’s colorful district in Miami, the newly-formed Rail Arts District is bringing art and culture to the industrial section of Napa. The organization will commission local artists to create a series of works, including mosaics using pieces of rubble from the 2014 earthquake, living walls with vertically grown plants, and graffiti. The first mural was completed in February 2017, with 30 more planned over the next five-seven years.

The New Napa Valley Beer Trail: The Napa beer scene is not to be overlooked, with five breweries dotting a 29-mile strip, and more on the horizon. Fieldwork Brewing Company recently opened at Oxbow Public Market and serves a rotating selection of craft beers produced at their Berkley, California location; and Tannery Bend Beerworks, the tiniest brewery in Napa with an eight-seat tasting room, is slated to open this month. The 10th largest craft brewer in the United States by volume, Stone Brewing, will open in spring 2017.

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