by Kia McInerny
– the Greening of Napa
he tiny wine hamlet of Yountville at the southern entrance to
Napa Valley is less than six hours drive from Montecito.
In springtime, when a carpet of green lines Highway 101
from Gaviota to King City, and our state’s celebrated vines are wraithlike
survivors of February rains, we traveled north on a whim to explore the
area’s new dining and lodging establishments.
In 1838, George Calvert Yount established the Napa Valley’s first
vineyard at Rancho Caymus, named after a tribe of local Indians. Had
it not been for Yount, our state might have missed becoming one of the
world’s top wine regions – or attracting chefs and food savants from
around the globe.
The incorporated hamlet named after Yount boasts three Michelin
starred restaurants, with top chefs arriving each year. It is also adjacent to
the Stags Leap wine district which, we all know, helped to put Napa Valley
on the European wine-map in 1976.
In short, it’s a perfect base to explore the Valley. Of interest to
architecture buffs, Bardessono is a state-of-the-art “green luxury” hotel
that adds to the hamlet’s upscale reputation. The LEED Platinum resort
combines the ultimate in green design with a sleek contemporary vibe.
Materials include reclaimed wood, salvaged trees and recycled concrete.
Geothermal wells pump 70-degree water for resort use, and solar panels
provide over half its electricity.
The kitchen for Lucy, the hotel’s innovative dining room, was
Day Trip to Yountville