SONOMA, Calif., May 27, 2015 – The Bottlerock Napa Valley Festival is back for its third year and kicking off Friday in the great town of Napa. The festival features three days of live music on four stages, some of the best wine from Napa and Sonoma and some pretty big names in food.
Expectations are set high for this festival, with a stunning musical line-up that includes Snoop Dogg, No Doubt (with Gwen Stefani), Imagine Dragons, Foster the People, Cage the Elephant, Young the Giant and ageless rocker Robert Plant.
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, Schramsberg, Twomey Cellars, Etude, Goosecross Cellars and JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset.
The food in the last two years has fallen a bit short of expectations, but there was a marked improvement in year two versus year one. In both prior years, the right names were there, but the executions didn’t seem to work for a big festival. As a result, there were extremely long lines and long waits.
This year the line-up shows great promise, so much, in fact, that foodies may come to the fest just to have access to all the great restaurants in one beat-ridden, funky place. Recommended food includes tasty bites from La Toque, Oenotri, Goose & Gander, Tarla Grill, Eiko’s, Redd and a bit of Sweetie Pies and the Vintage Sweet Shoppe for dessert.
Festival-goers travel in from all directions around the Bay Area for this wine-brew-food-music lover’s paradise. Recently deemed one of the world’s best festivals by Fest300, BottleRock Napa Valley is a three-day-full sensory experience that features 40 bands/artists and hundreds of wines and culinary choices from top vintners and chefs throughout northern California.
Downtown Napa does a great job managing the massive influx of people to the area.
Here is a list of what not to miss at this year’s BottleRock Napa Valley festival.
- Robert Plant: pair with Robert Mondavi; this ageless rocker deserves a wine with as much longevity and persistence as he has. Established in the mid-to-late 1960s, both of these icons have staying power. If you’re hot and the tunes are upbeat, drink the Fumé Blanc. If you’re listening to RP belt out a soulful rendition of one of his classics, go for a reserve RM Cabernet Sauvignon.
- No Doubt: pair with a Miner Family Chardonnay or pinot noir; you’ll want a wine to sip that has some depth, but light enough to keep it real and your fingers snapping to the No Doubt tunes. This pairing is “Hella Good.”
- Snoop Dogg: pair with Schramsberg; the funky-fresh old school rhymes of Snoop-a-loop and the even older school crispy sparkling are a beautiful match made in heaven. Just don’t fill your glass too high so you have splash room at the top for getting your “California roll” on.
- Big Talk with The Killers’ drummer Ronnie Vannucci: pair with Goosecross Cellars; these upbeat and fan-friendly tunes deserve to be paired with a winery that is as friendly and approachable as they are.
- Imagine Dragons: pair with Etude; the smooth and creamy vocals of front man Dan Reynolds will pair well with the creamy texture and lingering finish of the Etude pinot noirs.
- JJ Grey & MOFRO: pair with Silver Oak Cellars; the gritty and soulful sound of this band demands a deep, dark and incredibly smooth red wine to sip on while you sway back and forth soaking in the sun, melodies and wine. With any luck they’ll play “The Sun Is Shining Down” and you’ll swear you are in heaven.
- Gipsy Kings: pair with JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset; French-born Gipsy Kings will pair perfectly with the whimsical style of Frenchman JCB. Take a sip of JCB bubbles, feel your hips start swaying and repeat. Sip, sway, sip, sway and shake.
- The Mowglis: pair with Gia by Gia Coppola; both the band and Gia have a light airiness about them; both are very approachable and light on their feet.
There is nothing more fabulous in all of Napa Valley than the luscious wine. The passion, the history and skill come singing through with every sip taken. The BottleRock 2015 line-up includes 28 wineries ready to pour their intoxicating 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.
- Robert Mondavi Winery, Oakville, Napa Valley: Fabulous history here, try to make time to visit. Hopefully they will have their super delicious and incredibly refreshing Fumé Blanc, Robert Mondavi’s favorite summer sippin’ wine.
- Miner Family Winery, Oakville, Napa Valley: a small family-owned gem in the vast Napa Valley; be sure to try Gary’s Vineyard pinot noir, Simpson Vineyard Viognier & Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay.
- Schramsberg Vineyards, Calistoga: Known for their bubbles, they are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year; perfect for a warm spring day, especially their Brut Rosé sparkling wines.
- JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset, Sonoma: this Frenchie has a lot of flare and fabulous wines. With any luck they’ll bring a few of their flamboyant sparkling wines or intense and intimate pinot noirs.
- Etude, Carneros: known for their pinot noir wines, their hands-off approach to winemaking is what sets them apart. With any luck they will have more than one of their pinot noir wines to taste and compare the difference in terroir.
- Round Pond Estate, Rutherford, Napa Valley: located right in the heart of Napa Valley, this family-owned estate is best known for their Bordeaux wines, especially their Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Parking: Off-site parking is pretty far away. They do have shuttle busses, but plan for up to 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. Buy parking passes in advance.
- Water: CamelBak sponsors free water stations to fill up reusable bottles. I love this environmental bonus; however, more stations are definitely needed. The lines to get water were long at times. 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 is 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 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 or even wedges. Leave the big girl stripper shoes at home and opt for some sensible sandals or tennis shoes.
- Essential Elements: Sunglasses, sunblock, hat, water bottle, blankets, 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 within an arm’s reach every direction you go, please remember to pace yourself. Last year there were many ugly drunken episodes. Keep it clean, folks.
- Do Not Bring: chairs, professional cameras, selfie sticks or aerosols of any kind (including sunblock), food or beverages, umbrellas, pets, coolers, alcohol, flags, sporting equipment such as soccer balls, frisbees, etc., or large back packs (larger than 20x15x13).
The city of Napa has hotels of every shape, size and budget (sort of). Here is a top five 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 St., 888.627.7169
- Inn on Randolph: 411 Randolph St., 707.257.2886
- Inn on First: 1938 First St., 707.253.1331
- Andaz Napa: 1450 First St., 707.687.1234
- Meritage Resort & Spa: 875 Bordeaux Way, 707.251.1900
- White House Inn: 443 Brown St., 707.254.9301
Get a single-day, VIP or platinum pass. Single-day tickets are $149, VIP single-day pass is $240. Regular three-day passes are sold out. There is some availability for three-day premium passes at $975 and three-day platinum at $3,000.
About Sherrie Perkovich