Napa Valley Festival del Sole announces record setting results following the conclusion of its tenth season. Over the course of the ten-day celebration, the festival welcomed more than 10,000 attendees to 60 events at nearly 40 venues throughout the Napa Valley. In total, 150 wineries, hotels, resorts, theaters, restaurants, and vintners took part in Festival del Sole. One of the country’s premier summer events, the festival has put Napa Valley on the map as a cultural destination.
“The continued growth and success of Festival del Sole is a testament to the widespread support we have received from our community,” said Board Chairman Darioush Khaledi. “Countless individuals have embraced the idea that the Napa Valley is a place where arts and culture are celebrated as much as food and wine. This year’s milestone season is a triumph for the entire community.”
The Festival Gala at Meadowood Napa Valley, under the leadership of Maggie Oetgen and the Gala Committee, raised a record $1.6 million with proceeds supporting the festival’s free and low-cost concert opportunities for local residents as well as Napa County public school arts education programs. This year’s Fund A Need raised $430,000, doubling last year’s results, and will help establish an arts education fund in honor of longtime festival supporter and board member Margrit Mondavi.
The 450 guests at the sold-out gala were treated to a private concert by Academy Award-winner Kevin Spacey and a surprise appearance by Grammy Award-winning singer Patti Austin. Estate Events by Meadowood provided a sumptuous dinner paired with fine wines from Acacia Vineyards, Beaulieu Vineyards, Hewitt, Provenance Vineyards and Sterling.
Following dinner, auctioneer Fritz Hatton led a lively and spirited auction of a dozen lots offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences, including a red carpet event with Kevin Spacey for the premiere of Elvis & Nixon; a seven-night adventure on private estates in Argentina and Uruguay; watching the Il Palio di Siena horse race from a private apartment overlooking the piazza; a trip along Highway One with Darioush and Shahpar Khaledi in your own personal Bentley; a cameo on-stage appearance in a Broadway musical; and an historic collection of Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon including a 1978 double magnum hand painted and signed by Margrit Mondavi.
The highest grossing bid of the evening was $250,000 for the Founder’s Lot: Cuba Libre! featuring dinner with Gloria Estefan in Miami followed by a cultural exchange trip to Cuba with festival co-founder and president Rick Walker and his wife Karen.
New to the roster of Festival del Sole events were a “Town & Country Cook-Off,” the centerpiece of the annual Taste of Napa that pitted San Francisco and Napa chef teams against each other in competition; a 5K and 10K Sun Run benefitting the Napa County Alliance for Arts Education; and three nights of Free Films at 500 First Street.
A series of surprises were presented to guests, including a spectacular fireworks display at Opus One during the Founders Dinner, co-hosted by Bouchaine Vineyards; an exceptional vertical dance performance by Bandaloop on the stone wall of Quintessa; and an appearance by Franc D’Ambrosio, the longest-running star of Phantom of the Opera.
Memorable performances included the Dance Gala, which featured 12 dancers from the world’s leading ballet companies on one stage; the astonishing soprano Nadine Sierra who came in as a last-minute replacement on Opening Night; the heartfelt performance by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City that left the audience in tears of joy; and jazz legend Herb Alpert, who sang with his wife Lani Hall in the intimate courtyard at Castello di Amorosa. A complete list of performances and events is available at http://www.festivaldelsole.org.
2015 event hosts included Aloft Wines, Buena Vista Winery, Calistoga Ranch, Castello di Amorosa, Charles Krug, Cliff Lede Winery, Darioush Winery, Far Niente, HALL Wines, Harvest Table, The Hess Collection, Jarvis Conservatory, Lincoln Theater, Ma(i)sonry, Martin Estate, Meadowood Napa Valley, Meritage Resort and Spa, Merryvale Vineyards, Mont La Salle Chapel, Odette Estate, Opus One, Provenance Vineyards, Quent Cordair Gallery, Quintessa, Seven Stones Winery, Signorello Estate, Solage Calistoga, Spring Mountain Vineyard, St. Supéry Estate, Tamber Bey Vineyards, V.Sattui Winery, Vintner’s Collective, Weill Hall – Green Music Center, and 500 First Street.
Major funding for Festival del Sole 2015 was provided by Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem, Ann and Gordon Getty, Tatiana and Gerret Copeland, Athena and Timothy Blackburn. Kathleen McIntosh and Michael Covarrubias, José Luis Nazar, Claire and Steven Stull, Dede Wilsey, Prescott Ashe, Gina Gallo and Jean-Charles Boisset, Darioush and Shahpar Khaledi, and Maggie and Stephen Oetgen.
Whittier Trust, Tiffany & Co., Bouchaine Vineyards, Calistoga Ranch, Meadowood Napa Valley, Embraer Executive Jets, Union Bank, Neiman Marcus, Surf Air, Eurostampa, Pagani Automobili, and Bentley Motors, were among the Festival del Sole 2015 sponsors.
Save the date: Napa Valley Festival del Sole returns for its 11th Season July 15 – 24, 2016.