With a number of picturesque wineries sprinkled throughout Napa Valley, cultivating a taste for all that wine country has to offer seems easy, right? But why visit a public winery and savor a typical–albeit still spirited–experience, when you could have a carefully curated vino-approved journey that will bring you truly unique experiences? The kind of unique we’re talking about begins with a professionally cooked meal served in a cave. Yes, we said cave.
Curated Journeys takes Napa Valley visitors to exclusive wineries, private estates, vineyards, barrel rooms, terraces and caves, and offers personal interactions with chefs, winemakers, vintners, and culinary luminaries. Wine connoisseurs are typically attracted to wine because of the culture that comes along with it, from tastings to exploring a wine’s heritage and vineyard’s surroundings.
Co-founders Karen Rowley and Chef Barbara Alexander are the masterminds behind this business model that takes large scale experience-based moments to new heights while simultaneously transforming the experiences into intimate settings. According to these founders, the competitive differentiation between scattered but well-known wineries and off-the-beaten-path small production vineyards lies within the intimacy of experiences fostered by people who take much pride in their work. Forget the large-name wineries; small production vineyards are the future of wine appellations.
Keep reading to hear more benefits of choosing Curated Journeys for your next Napa Valley adventure from Co-founder Karen Rowley.
How are private wine tastings different from a typical wine tasting?
It can be a lot of fun driving up and down highway 29 or Silverado Trail tasting wine at a number of wineries. You check in with the host, take a seat or hit that bar area, and start drinking wine. Sometimes you get a short description of the wine from the “educator” but mostly they are running from group to group pouring lots of wine. There will be a few different options for tastings that include only white, red or a combination. The rooms can be large or small, but can get quite crowded and not to mention loud. That’s a typical tasting at an open winery.
Private tastings offer an elevated experience that requires a reservation and usually gated access to a stunning tasting location. Many times, your group is the only one there or the groups are spread out in different tasting rooms. Often, the winemaker or the owner pours the wines and talks about the vineyards, history, process and conducts tours of the property. If it’s a wine educator, they are handpicked to know just as much about the wine, vineyards, process and history.
How do you go about curating these special experiences?
Putting together elevated experiences for Curated Journey is truly a labor of love, and a huge amount of work. I have been creating incredible culinary and wine tours all over the world with my company Many More Travels. I am used to working with numerous suppliers in different areas putting together complete packages, but Napa presented a big challenge since no road map existed for the kind of authentic culinary and wine adventures that I wanted to create. I was having amazing elevated culinary and wine experiences here in Napa Valley at private locations throughout the Valley so I started reaching out to the people I knew to see if they wanted to host my small groups in their homes, kitchens, caves, and wineries. The response was overwhelming from the amazingly hospitable friends here in the Valley who wanted to partner with me. We have worked nonstop for 6 months creating relationships, imagining the experiences, negotiating with venues, transportation companies, and putting it all together so guests will have a truly memorable experience. I had the fortune of meeting my business partner, Chef Barbara Alexander, through a mutual friend and she directs all the culinary aspects for the company.
What sets you apart from other Napa Valley tours?
We give our guests access to gastronomic and wine experiences found only in cloistered kitchens, private vineyards, chefs’ homes, winery estates, and caves. It’s a complete immersion into the secrets of Napa Valley’s celebrated food and wine at very private locations with acclaimed chefs and rare wines. We treat our guests like they are family visiting from out of town and we are showing them an authentic side of Napa Valley that we know.