If you are looking for a great way to spend the first week in November next year, I really can’t recommend anything better than the Napa Valley Film Festival. I was fortunate enough to attend the festival this year and couldn’t believe how many fun, tasty, and entertaining events there are packed into 5 days.
Napa was just breathtaking this time of year. Typically the most sought after times to go wine tasting are in the spring during barrel tasting, or in the early fall during harvest. However, if you are looking for beauty, early November has both of those times beat. The grass was emerald green from the early fall rains, but the leaves were still on the vines in red, orange and yellow. It truly gave the east coast fall foliage a run for it’s money.
Where I Stayed
I stayed for a few nights in a Travel+Leisure home on the Italics vineyard, even though I live only an hour away. Italics is a brand new winery in Napa county, which is quite a rare occurrence in an area with limited land and grandfathered-in wineries. On this property they gut renovated a giant home for events such as this, and are in the process of finishing their caves and tasting room for the public. For the Napa Valley Film Festival, they opened their vineyard-in-process to a few of us, giving us an exclusive tour of the property and tasting within their gorgeous in-cave dining space. To commemorate their construction and launch, they filmed the entire process of developing Italics over the past few years, in a documentary called Decanted.
What Tickets to Buy
When you attend the Napa Valley Film Festival, you can choose to buy tickets for a single film, for one day, or a weeklong pass. If you choose the single day or a weeklong pass, you are welcome to enjoy any of the films and Q&A’s that are shown that day, as well as enjoy the wine tasting and food demonstrations that are held throughout the Napa Valley. My friend Alyssa and I went to a culinary demo sponsored by Kenmore and Stella Artois in downtown Napa. The demo paired the Belgian beer with an INCREDIBLE yuzu fried chicken slider on a buttermilk biscuit, a treat prepared for us by Chicago chef Kari Karch. You can find the recipe on Cookmore.com!
By far my favorite event was the dinner I attended at Caldwell winery. The party was to celebrate the documentary film Magicians: Life in the Impossible. I thought I was just getting exclusive wine tastings and a 4 course meal specially prepared for us from the executive chef of FARM restaurant. However, after dessert we got a private show from the lead Magician in the film, who wowed us with incredible card tricks and sleight of hand (I think?). I had no idea the Napa Valley Film Festival had so many various events! I think I successfully convinced my parents and husband that we have to all go together again next year.
Additionally, I attended an awards presentation for some of the film honorees. We listened to Zoey Deutch, Dev Patel, Kurt Russell, Lee Daniels and Chloe Grace Moritz speak about their analysis of the film world and helped us to understand the inspiration behind some of their new films. I never thought that attending a film festival would be appealing to me, as I never would have considered myself a film buff. However now I have a greater connection to many actors, filmmakers and producers for their craft. In the end, I don’t see how many of these other festivals can beat the Napa Valley Film Festival! There is no better way to enjoy a film than by following it up with world class wine and cuisine, am I right?