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Posted - 12/02/2016 01:25am
Christmas Comes To Napa Valley — Splendid "Harvest Inn" Tree Lighting

ST. HELENA, CA—Napa Valley tonight was holiday festive: Bracing forty-five degree temperatures, choral singing, hot chocolate, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Christmas tree lighting. The December holidays have arrived in Wine Country.



What a refreshing mid-week reset. It was so nice to get out of the office and share the season with an intimate group of locals and out-of-town visitors at Harvest Inn by Charlie Palmer. This was not one of Napa’s overpopulated mass-market events. It was low key, honest, and small town comfortable. Refreshing so.
Chef Charlie Palmer seems most at home among his guests.

In the high-pressure world of restaurants and resorts, Charlie Palmer, American celebrity chef, restaurateur, and hotel owner, has always been a down-to-earth kind of guy. I like him. There’s always an easygoing feel to his celebrations and events and perhaps it’s because of his faithful attention to detail. I’ve often noticed that whenever he’s in attendance the bar is set high. His staff knows it. From my point of view, they respect him and don’t want to let him down. Now that’s the way to run a successful business.


Charlie and I spoke briefly tonight. I’ve known him for only a couple of years. Then he stepped up to welcome his guests and advocate for a local charity—St. Vincent de Paul’s Ministry of the St. Helena Catholic Church who is sponsoring the “Sharing Christmas in St. Helena” program.




Moments later the tree was lit up and applause erupted.  Charcuterie, house-made cookies and decadent hot chocolate were served. Charlie encouraged us to try his “favorite” Snickerdoodle cookies. The hot chocolate was seductive, smooth, and rich—perfect and satisfying for such a cold night. There was also high-end Charles Krug wine being poured. Their wines have been excellent lately. Regrettably the Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc that I sampled were far too cold for the delicate flavors to reveal themselves. Well, the hot chocolate took center stage anyway.


Harvest Inn by Charlie Palmer was recently voted #3 in Northern California by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards for 2016.


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