Headed Up To Napa? The Grass Has Never Been Greener



STAY: The greenest place to stay in Napa is the platinum-LEED- Certified Bardessono. This sleek, modern hotel was constructed of wood from salvaged trees and recycled concrete and uses almost no off-site energy. The rooms—all suites—feature glass-walled showers, spa tubs (which get filled with geothermally heated water) and organic bed linens. Even the products used to clean your room are organic. Each suite also has a built-in massage table, just in case you’d like to restore your personal environment with an organic Chardonnay grape seed oil massage.


EAT: Just an hour from San Francisco, the tiny Fremont Diner, on the border of Napa and Sonoma, is what would happen if a 1940s truck stop went 2010 green. Practically everything inside this casual cafe (floor, tables, countertops) is constructed from reclaimed wood. And practically everything that turns up on the plate is local and organic. This may be the only place on the planet where you can follow a blood-orange-and-rosemary muffin or fig-and-smoked-pork sandwich with Faygo grape soda and a Moon Pie. For a non-wine takeaway, swing by Rancho Gordo, where you can browse the full assortment of their Napa-grown heirloom beans and pick up your own clay bean pot. Farmstead Restaurant’s airy barn-like building, made mostly of recycled and salvaged materials, is the ultimate in bucolic hip. But the food here seriously earns its locavore street cred. Wood-roasted, grass-fed beef marrow bones. Pasture-raised chicken and dumplings. Ice cream made with organic olive oil.


TASTE: Frog’s Leap was home to the first LEED-certified building in the California wine industry and was one of the first to dry-farm organic grapes. The tasting here is extremely civilized. Sit either inside at a long dining table set with wineglasses or outside on the shady porch. When you’re finished, take a stroll through the organic garden and nearby peach orchard. The clucking you’ll hear will be coming from the Frog’s Leap chickens. Visitors to Long Meadow Ranch can sample the 2006 Sangiovese at their new Highway 29 tasting room, a clapboard Victorian renovated with salvaged wood, or opt for a tour of their 650-acre ranch, where you can check out the rammed-earth winery, heritage-breed cows and the olive mill where they press their own organic olive oil. From May to November, stop by the nearby Rutherford Gardens to pick up some of Long Meadow’s organic produce. CADE Winery, the latest Plumpjack venture, is what green would be if green was done by Philippe Starck. This very modern, very minimalist tasting room (think white leather Barcelona chairs) features a glass wall that takes advantage of the view from the winery’s Howell Mountain perch. But CADE isn’t all about style. Its buildings are built of recycled steel and have dipped roofs to collect rainwater. And the winery’s solar panels provide most of its electricity, further proving that green can have a design sense.

Bardessono, 6526 Yount St., Yountville, 707-204-6000, bardessono.com.

Farmstead Restaurant, 738 Main St., St. Helena, 707-963-9181

Fremont Diner, 2698 Fremont Dr., Sonoma, 707-938-7370

Rancho Gordo, 1924 Yahome St., Napa, 707-259-1935, ranchogordo.com

Frog’s Leap, 8815 Conn Creek Rd., Rutherford, 707-963-4704, frogsleap.com

Long Meadow Ranch 738 Main St., St. Helena, 707-963-4555, longmeadowranch.com

Rutherford Gardens, 1796 St. Helena Hwy. South, Napa, longmeadowranch.com/gardens CADE Winery, 360 Howell Mountain Rd. South, Angwin, 707-965-2746, cadewinery.com

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