The Carneros Inn, Napa Valley

A vacation to Napa Valley is high on my “must do” list.

My husband and I really enjoy wine.  We may not be top notch connoisseurs, but we know what we like.  Relaxing with a glass of wine over a nice dinner or at the end of a long day is how we unwind and connect with each other.  It probably isn’t surprising, then, that a vacation to Napa Valley is high on my “must do” list.  A trip to California wine country would be an ideal venture for us.

One place in Napa Valley I’d love to visit is the Carneros Inn.  It look so inviting, with a causal chic air.  The inn is actually a resort featuring three restaurants, two swimming pools, an award-winning spa, and a luxury boutique.  There’s also an upscale general store, fitness center, and outdoor recreation area.  I can easily see myself in this relaxing environment!

Carneros Inn 5Carneros Inn 1Carneros Inn 2Carneros Inn 3cade winery 2

Even though the Carneros Inn is designed to make sure you are surrounded by everything you could want or need, I would love the opportunity to visit area wineries while staying in Napa Valley.  At the top of my winery list is CADE Winery on Howell Mountain.  Architect Juan Carlos Fernandez designed the state of the art vineyard with a simple, but striking, appearance.  It’s amazing how the architecture here includes 98% recycled materials and yet looks so modern even while appearing harmonious with the rugged surroundings.  Between the design and the highly rated wines, I definitely wouldn’t miss a tour of CADE.

CADEcade winerycade winery 3We haven’t made it to Napa Valley yet, but I am looking forward to one day taking this dream trip!  Where are you planning to someday travel?

Wine Cellars

A wine cellar doesn’t have to be obvious, with grape vines on the walls or wine barrel tables.

One of my clients is in the process of adding a wine cellar to their home.  While they are working with a wine cellar professional on this project, they have consulted with me on architectural elements like flooring, paint, and lighting.  With a 10,000 bottle capacity, this wine cellar is no small undertaking!  I find their plans for the wine cellar really interesting and inspiring.

As I watched their excitement over the design of the wine cellar, I thought of my ideal vision for such a space.  I like the idea of incorporating traditional wine cellar materials like wood and stone, while adapting these things for a more modern look.  A wine cellar doesn’t have to be obvious, with grape vines on the walls or wine barrel tables.

Traditional, but unconventional.
I love the catwalk above this wine cellar.
A large, sleek space that is spare and functional.

I also like the idea of making the wine cellar more than just a storage space.  Rather than keeping the wine out of sight in a place where the host or hostess retrieves it alone, why not incorporate some seating to turn the area into a gathering place?  Being able to sit with a a friend or two (or several!) surrounded by great wine sounds like such a relaxing way to socialize.

Wine Station wine cellar, by MAP Architects.
A more modern space.

If you like the idea of making the wine cellar a place to spend time with friends and family, it’s not much of a stretch to take the entire place out of the cellar.  With modern technology making climate control possible in any part of the home, there’s no reason to confine a beautiful wine cellar to the basement.  You can capture the wine cellar look and feel in a not-so-obvious spot, such as a room divider or a nook you aren’t really using.  It’s an appealing and practical approach to create a usable wine area in a more accessible part of the home.

This would be such a cool place to spend time!
Accessible, functional, and beautiful.
Amazing kitchen with open wine “cellar.”
Warm and lofty.
Even a small area can be a sophisticated spot to display and enjoy wine.

What would your ideal wine cellar (or room!) look like?