The owners of Harvest Wine Tours have visited more than 150 wineries and chosen their favorites to introduce to visitors and locals alike. To make vineyard-hopping a seamless process, they design flexible self-guided tours, each of which outline the grand, lesser-known, and small boutique wineries of Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Each guide includes a map and detailed explanation for each winery’s selection that covers quality, ambiance, and special services, as well as a suggested order for visits.
In addition to the standard tour, Harvest Wine Tours also offers a VIP experience, during which two of the chosen wineries welcome visitors with perks that can include double tastings, reserve or library wine tastings, or a special tasting in the barrel room. The staff also designs custom tours from a questionnaire, where customers can describe their preferred grape varietals and the importance of a good, strong jawline on a winemaker.
Since 1986, the filmmakers and video experts at CAV Media Studios have blended creative instinct with technological aptitude, producing films and preserving footage via digitization and duplication services. Transferring still photographs or movies onto modern DVDs reduces the effects of static on an aging VHS, the fading of a 35mm slide, and the unnerving creepiness of a silent, scratchy 16mm film. Duplication and digitization packages convert old memories onto shiny, new Blu-ray and HD formats, all wrapped in professional labels and packaging worthy of display. Far more than mere archivists, the technicians at CAV Media Studios create masterpieces of their own, whether they’re filming underwater adventures with former Navy SEALs or helping construction companies keep their workers safe by producing informative training videos.
With more than 15 years in business, FastFrame’s Napa Valley location helps enhance fond memories with a variety of framing and photo-related services. Bring in prints or negatives from your backpacking trip through high school and have the photos conveniently imprisoned on CD ($10) or DVD ($15) or reproduce reminiscences sized from 4"x6" to 18"x24" ($5–$44) with photo-printing services. Restoration services ($10–$98) will reverse the age of old photos, repair damage to records, and add bright hues to images that predate the invention of color. Napa Valley FastFrame’s fine custom and ready-made framery (prices vary widely) is available to encase an abundance of items, including pictures, instruments, and 13-foot anaconda skins. Owner and certified picture framer Fred Cooper and his expert framers are happy to guide clients through copious selections of inspired custom framing that follows decorative and classical designs.
Ceramics-painting sessions at The Clayhouse help to transmute imaginations into one-of-a-kind pieces of keepsake pottery enhanced by vibrant strokes and delicate dabs. Guests with today's deal can partner up with a friend, a family member, or a polite stranger to apply pleasant hues to tabula-rasa coffee mugs. Each painter can choose from a rainbow of more than 50 color glazes to bedazzle his or her ceramic sipper in patterns dreamed up on the spot or attributed to unearthly coffee-bean muses. Sessions include all required materials and guidance, with guests supplying their own enthusiasm and fingers.
More than 20 years of photography experience grants PhotoArts Marin's Glen Graves more than just an eye for an ideal snapshot. His skill with traditional film cameras, lighting, and composition elements imbues his photos with a quality that has drawn the attention of such clients as Ford, US Air, and Architectural Digest. When not capturing boudoir portraits or smiling families during photo shoots, Glen can be found in the classroom teaching aspiring photographers the tricks of the trade, from using dynamic angles to frame a subject to how saying “cheese” banishes spirits intent on photobombing.
Napa Valley is California's epicenter of wine, and there's a definite local pride in all things grape. Signs posted along roads urge drivers to stop, taste, and experience private-label wines. The culinary scene has also risen to prominence, with chefs like Thomas Keller spearheading a haute-cuisine movement. Though hundreds of thousands of people visit each year, Napa still cultivates a small-town feel. There are a handful of big-name restaurants in downtown Napa that might have limos parked out front, but there are still plenty of eclectic, hole-in-the wall eateries serving vegan fare or barbecue.
With the number of wine shops and tasting rooms in the historic Sonoma Plaza, it's easy to become overwhelmed. That's where Sonoma on the Spot comes in. After determining your wine and tour preferences, the company will design a personalized roster of tastings and tour stops that highlight Sonoma County's best wines while veering toward the varietals you like best. Tours are led by wine educators from the Carneros Wine Alliance who maintain personal relationships with many of the Plaza's wine rooms, a perk that helps their customers snag special tastings and other extras that might not usually be extended to the public. Of course, no tasting would be complete without a bite to eat—each experience includes a complementary chocolate or cheese pairing.