The Napa Valley town of Yountville is a foodie magnet any time of year, but this weekend (March 15–18) could be the sweet spot for appreciating all that the Wine Country burg has to offer. Yountville Live kicks off on Thursday, March 15 with a performance from singer-songwriter Foy Vance, food-and-wine pairings, and a red-carpet gala on Friday—all followed by the two-day Taste of Yountville (March 17–18). The festivities on Saturday and Sunday combine world-class chefs, 60-plus wineries, and live music, spread across three tasting pavilions in the heart of Yountville—also home to bucket-list restaurants The French Laundry and Bouchon.
High-wattage personalities at the weekend event include James Beard Award winner Stephanie Izard and Surreal Gourmet host Bob Blumer. Buy passes to the weekend's Grand Tastings—5-hour affairs of tastes, demos, and music on each day—or shorter individual events. Attend “From Junk Food to Joy Food” with nutrition host Joy Bauer or check out Izard’s “What’s Shaking Little Goat?” (a nod to her Chicago restaurant Girl & the Goat).
The music lineup is also a feast for anyone who likes singer-songwriters. The acts include soul singer and instrumentalist David Ryan Harris, R&B artist Marc Broussard, and a women-of-country-music “In the Round in Wine Country” performance, with acclaimed up-and-comers Jillian Jacqueline and the Sisterhood Band (featuring Rod Stewart’s daughter).
“The incredible wines and a critical mass of some of the world’s finest chefs make the Napa Valley an ideal destination for all that appreciate food, wine and the arts,” says chef Ken Frank of the Michelin-star La Toque. “It should be no surprise that world class musicians are always excited to come play here too. That is the essence of Yountville Live.”
The music provides a nice backdrop for a lot of good eating and wine tasting. There’s a mix of out-of-town treats (like St. Louis’s Gamlin Whiskey House) as well as several Napa area favorites, such as Basalt, Celadon, and the tapas-oriented Zuzu. “Yountville Live has the perfect combination of food, wine, and music to quench anyone's palate,” says chef Anita Cartagena, owner of Yountville’s Caribbean-flavored Protea, another festival participant. “It is the best way to enjoy all of the local flavors and beyond.”