NAPA, May 15, 2014 – The Bottlerock Napa Valley Festival, May 30 – June 1st, is just around the corner, and back for its second year in the great city of Napa. The festival is comprised of three days of live music on four stages, and some of the best wine from Napa and Sonoma accompanied by some pretty big names in food. Expectations are set high for this two-time festival, with a musical line-up that includes The Cure, Outkast, Weezer, LL Cool J, The Fray, Sublime, and jam-band favorites Tea Leaf Green.
The wine line-up is just as impressive. With so much wine to choose from, it is hard to know exactly where to start. Must taste wines include: Miner Family Winery, Flora Springs, Schug, and St. Supery.
Last year the food was touted as being totally amazing, but it fell a bit short. This year the line up appears to be as impressive as last year, so much so that foodies may come to the fest just to have access to all the great restaurants in one cool place.
Festival goers travel in from all directions for this wine-food-music lover’s paradise. According to Bottlerock, over 120,000 people attended the festival last year that featured 40 bands, 300 wines and hundreds of culinary choices.
Downtown Napa does a great job managing the massive influx of people to the area. Sure there were a few snags with shuttle busses and traffic, but overall they handled it well last year.
After experiencing the music, comedy, food and wine for a few days, here is a list of what not to miss at this year’s festival.
- Outkast: pair with Schug Sparkling Pinot Noir (Bubbles are perfect to get those feet dancing with the energy of Outkast)
- Weezer: pair with Miner Family Chardonnay (you’ll want a wine with some depth, but light enough to keep it real)
- LL Cool J with DJ Z-Trip: pair with Clos du Val (old school with old school)
- Sublime with Rome: pair with the Bandit (Wine in a box. Enough said.)
- Cracker: pair with Rombauer Chardonnay (Crackers with butter, yum.)
- De la Soul: pair with St, Supery Sauvignon Blanc (Both are light, refreshing and make you feel like dancin’)
- The Soft White Sixties: pair with Flora Springs Cabernet Sauvignon (You’ll want some soulful red wine to pair with their soulful tunes).
Ah wine, there is nothing lovelier in all of Napa Valley than their luscious wine. The passion, the history and skill really come through with every sip taken. It looks like Bottle Rock has about 15 wineries lined up to pour their passion juice for you. It will be impossible to try them all, and please don’t try. Here are a few suggestions for wine tasting. If you are lucky, they will be pouring one or more of these beauties.
- Flora Springs, St. Helena, Napa Valley: Fabulous history here, try to make time to visit; also try the Poggio Del Papa (Bordeaux blend), Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Sauvignon Blanc.
- Miner Family, Oakville, Napa Valley: a small family owned gem in the fast Napa Valley; be sure to try Gary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, Simpson Vineyard Viognier & Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay.
- Schug Carneros Estate, Los Carneros, Sonoma County: Known for their Burgundian wine, especially their Sparkling Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, Carneros Heritage Reserve Pinot Noir.
- St. Supery, Rutherford, Napa Valley: known for their Bordeaux wines, especially their Sauvignon Blanc; Dollarhide Estate Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc.
Last year, generally speaking, the food was unremarkable. The festival being held in Napa and with some of the biggest names in food attending, expectations were high. Sadly, some of the food tasted was either average or below average. There were a few stand-outs from last year though. Festival-goers raved about the oysters on the half shell from Nick’s Cove, Morimoto’s Yuzu Red Bull push-up pops, and pulled pork sandwiches and burgers from Gotts Roadside. New to the festival this year and worth checking out are Tarla Grill, Grace’s Table, Eiko’s, Angele, and newcomer Napkins. So we have high hopes that the restaurants will learn from last year and knock us out this time around.
Overall last year’s festival was good. With it being the first year, it certainly would be plausible for there to be all sorts of bumps along the road. Generally speaking the festival was successful, and everyone I spoke to really enjoyed themselves. A few tips if you plan on attending this year:
Parking: Off-site parking is pretty far away. They do have shuttle busses, but plan for an extra hour in your day to get to and from the festival. This is essential if you want to be on time to see a particular band/artist.
Water: Klean Kanteen sponsored free water stations to fill up reusable bottles. I love this environmental bonus. However, more stations are definitely needed. The lines to get water wrapped around the festival. Get there early and load up on water to avoid these lines later in the day.
Green: While we are on the topic of environmentally friendly, a cool feature at the festival was the solar powered cell phone recharging stations. You can kick back, grab a drink and recharge your phone and yourself at the same time. Well done! Also well done were the recycling and composting bins throughout the festival.
Bathrooms: Ladies, if you don’t mind a port-a-potty then the lines won’t be too bad. However, the festival crowd is not what I would call clean, especially late in the day after lots of wine. There were a few stalls that even the guys didn’t want to use. There are regular toilets, but again, be prepared to wait.
Shoes: Reminder that this is an outdoor festival full of grass and dirt and rocks. This is no place for stilettos. Leave the big girl stripper shoes at home and opt for some sensible sandals or tennis shoes.
Essential Elements: Sunglasses, sunblock, hat, water, blankets or low lawn chairs, hand sanitizer, and layers of clothing. It will be hot during the day and cool off at night.
Pace Yourself! With so much lovely wine at an arms reach every direction you go, please remember to pace yourself. Last year there were many ugly drunken episodes. Keep it clean folks.
The city of Napa has hotels of every shape, size and budget (sort of). Here is a top 5 list of a few favorites that are walking distance to the festival. Check their websites or call them to find out any specials for the festival.
- Westin Verasa Napa: 1314 Mckinstry Street, 888.627.7169
- Inn on Randolph: 411 Randolph Street, 707.257.2886
- Inn on First: 1938 First Street, 707.253.1331
- Andaz Napa: 1450 First Street, 707.687.1234
- Meritage Resort & Spa: 875 Bordeaux Way, 707.251.1900
Get a single day, 3-day, VIP or Platinum pass. Single day tickets are $149, VIP 3-day pass $599 and Platinum 3-day $3,000. BottleRock is from Friday, May 30 through Sunday, June 1, 2014.