Reel Talk

The Vintner Circle is an elite group of Napa Valley wineries that pairs directly with the festival’s exclusive Patron Circle. Each year, our Patron Circle members and VIP guests are invited to partake in one of the highlights of the festival: our famed Vintner Circle Dinners.


The evening consists of 20 extravagant and intimate dinner parties happening simultaneously at each of our Vintner Circle members’ wineries. These dinners combine the distinguished varietals of each Vintner Circle member with the talents of award-winning chefs to present a decadent dining experience that celebrates one or more of our competition films. Our guests will share a meal with the respective filmmakers, culminating in the quintessential immersion of film, food, and wine.


Here are this year’s Vintner Circle dinners:


Movie Mogul Dinner

The pièce de résistance of our combined film, food, and wine experience is the Movie Mogul Dinner at the Napa Valley Reserve. Our most generous and passionate supporters break bread with the year’s biggest stars. Meadowood’s team of sommeliers will pour a selection of the ultra-exclusive Napa Valley Reserve wines to pair the night’s exquisite menu prepared by James Beard Honoree and Meadowood Estate Chef Alejandro Ayala.


Acumen Wines

“Once Upon a Time in Napa” at Acumen, which was recently featured in Forbes Magazine as the new “up and coming winery” of Napa, will include the 100-point-scoring Edcora Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Other wine selections from our 90-point and above scoring Atlas Peak Mountainside and PEAK collections will pair with our Hollywood retro and modern menu by Ken Frank of LaToque including lobster popcorn, beef bernaise, and pineapple upside down cake. The current art gallery features Chris Camaratta originals of Liz Taylor, Sofia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, and other famous celebrities, bringing this dinner to life.


Arkenstone Vineyards by PRESS

PRESS Restaurant is a modern steakhouse with distinct Napa Valley flair. In addition to sourcing its USDA prime beef and other proteins from local purveyors, the numerous vegetable-based dishes prominently featured on the menu give PRESS a true sense of place. The cuisine, like wine, is rooted in its terroir, letting the ingredients speak for themselves. The award-winning all-Napa Valley wine list is the largest and most extensive restaurant collection of Napa Valley wines. Wines from Arkenstone Estate on Howell Mountain will be paired with this family-style meal.


Ashes & Diamonds

Created as a love letter to 1960s Napa Valley, Ashes & Diamonds Winery is the ultimate convergence of modern and old-school flavors. Spend the evening enjoying a delicious meal, expertly paired with wines that adhere to an ethos of light-handed winemaking and the transparency of the terroir.


Blackbird Vineyards

Join Blackbird Vineyards for an intimate evening at RiverHouse in downtown Napa. Your hosts for the evening will be Blackbird Vineyards proprietors John and Julia Hinshaw, and founder Michael Polenske. Take in the art and design of their distinguished gallery before enjoying an exquisite dinner prepared by Chef Morimoto of Morimoto Napa, expertly paired with stunning Blackbird wines.


Caldwell Vineyard

A film-worthy tale of a maverick vintner willing to do anything in the name of great wine, John Caldwell’s vineyard is home to 123 acres of “smuggled” grapevine clones. A head-spinning portfolio of estate wines made by Marc Gagnon and California’s first estate barrel cooperage, managed by Ramiro Herrera, makes Caldwell Vineyard an incredibly unique and diverse winery. Those lucky enough to enjoy dinner with John and Joy are in for a wild and wonderful ride.


Charles Krug Winery

Join members of the Mondavi family for an intimate evening, dining in the very heart of the Napa Valley’s oldest winery — the Redwood Cellar at the Charles Krug estate. Constructed in 1872 and magnificently restored by renowned architect Howard Backen, the room is clad in redwood sustainably salvaged from the original wine tanks and offers dramatic views of the winery’s expansive reserve barrel chamber. The impressive setting provides a fitting backdrop for the equally superlative cuisine of Napa Valley Chef Tony Spleen. Back by popular demand, Tony’s menu highlights fresh, sustainable ingredients from local purveyors, exquisitely paired with Charles Krug’s finest Limited Release wines.


Clos Du Val

47 years ago, Clos Du Val was founded by the Goelet family with a vision of producing Cabernet Sauvignon that would rival the world’s best. Join third-generation owner Olav Goelet for an unforgettable evening that will begin with wine, appetizers, and music, followed by a multi-course meal crafted by Executive Chefs Jordan Grosser and Ted Fleury of Stag Dining Group of San Francisco. Each course will be paired with a specially curated wine list, including some treasures from the Clos Du Val library.


Coombsville Vintners & Growers

Encompassing an ancient volcanic caldera in the southeastern corner of the Napa Valley, Coombsville is as unique as it is undiscovered. Established as an AVA in 2011, Coombsville is dominated by small family-owned and operated wineries known for producing wines guided by a unique terroir of compressed volcanic ash and the San Pablo Bay’s cool afternoon breezes. Enjoy an intimate dinner with six boutique wineries hosted by the families that grow them. These small production and highly curated wines will be expertly paired by Chef Daniel Gomez in a beautiful setting at the Ackerman Heritage House located in downtown Napa.


Cuvaison by Carneros Resort and Spa

Carneros Resort and Spa is the authentic Napa Valley escape. Nestled on 28 acres surrounded by rolling vineyards, this newly revitalized resort’s distinct charm is reflected in the guests’ experience. Indulge in seasonally-inspired dining by acclaimed Executive Chef Aaron Meneghelli, sourced from the resort’s onsite culinary garden. Dinner will be expertly paired with wines from Cuvaison’s Los Carneros estate. Originally founded in 1969, Cuvaison is an independent, family-owned winery that helped shape the Napa Valley. This winery crafts some of the regions most highly acclaimed wines from their grand cru caliber vineyard and are recognized as one of the Napa Valley’s pioneering wineries.


Grgich Hills Estate by the Napa Valley Wine Train

Join the Napa Valley Wine Train for an exclusive evening aboard a vintage luxury rail car where you’ll enjoy a delectable three-course gourmet meal, paired with some of Napa’s most celebrated wines from Grgich Hills Estate. Gleaming brass, sleek fixtures, and smooth marble creates the perfect ambiance to feel like you’re traveling through time while Executive Chef Donald Young creates culinary works of art in the onboard kitchen.



Experience the ultimate food and wine pairing at Inglenook, hosted by winemaker Chris Phelps. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the estate vineyards as you arrive, continuing through the expansive courtyard to the grand chateau, where you’ll be greeted with tray-passed wines. During the reception preceding dinner, you may enjoy a tour of the Infinity Caves, peruse the various historical areas, the extensive Rubicon gift salon, or simply enjoy the wine and hors d’oeuvres. Knowing that terroir is as important to cuisine as it is to wine, our Estate Chef Alex Lovick emphasizes fresh, local, and sustainable ingredients, allowing the bounty of the season to write his menus. You’ll be transported on an extraordinary culinary journey through four courses, interweaving our exclusive wines.


J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

Join members of the J. Lohr family and local favorite Chef Elaine Bell for a delicious Tale of Three Appellations evening, featuring wines from J. Lohr’s estate vineyards in Monterey, Paso Robles, and Napa Valley. Chef Bell’s seasonal menu will be thoughtfully crafted to complement the wine offerings, including the J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – named for founder Jerry Lohr’s late wife and grown in nearby St. Helena. J. Lohr President and COO Jeff Meier will also introduce a special new release, the J. Lohr Pure Paso Proprietary Red Wine. The dramatic Napa Private Estate of 7 Roots Ranch will be the setting for a night of sparkling conversation, cutting edge cuisine, and superb wines.


John Anthony Vineyards

The romantic and historic Church Vineyard in the rolling hills of Los Carneros will be the intimate setting for this elegant dinner with John Anthony and Michele Truchard. One of Napa’s iconic landmarks, the Church was originally built in 1886 in Happy Valley, Pennsylvania and reconstructed in Napa. Newly renovated by renowned architect Howard Backen, the original stained-glass windows, bell tower, and soaring 41-foot ceilings are surrounded by 4 acres of Sauvignon Blanc vines that produce the John Anthony Church Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. Dine with unprecedented access to limited-production and library single-vineyard and reserve wines, paired to locally-sourced, seasonal dishes by our winery chef and sommelier.


Materra | Cunat Family Vineyards

Get “down to earth” with Materra | Cunat Family Vineyards. Join owner Brian Cunat at their Oak Knoll District estate for a delicious meal prepared by European-trained Chef Richard Visconte, expertly paired with Materra’s award-winning wines. Winemakers Chelsea Barrett and Michael Trujillo have hand-picked a selection of wines that best showcase this quintessential Napa terroir.


Raymond Vineyards

Begin the evening sipping bubbles and relaxing in the velvet-clad opulence of the famous Red Room before embarking on a gastronomic journey conceived by the Raymond Vineyards culinary team. Seated in the glittering hall of the Crystal Cellar, and incorporating herbs and fresh produce from the estate’s biodynamic and organic garden, guests will savor a multi-course dinner paired with limited production Raymond Vineyards wines. The evening will take guests through an exquisite journey of texture and emotion, bringing them into the world and legacy of the Raymond family. The Dress Code is Velvet.


Revana Family Vineyard by Las Alcobas

Founded in 1997, the Revana Estate Vineyard, located in the heart of the St. Helena AVA, showcases an abundance of soil diversity and perfectly warm days with cool evenings, resulting in an optimum setting for producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon. The combination of the incredible vineyard farming practices of Jim Barbour, paired with the world-renowned winemaking of Thomas Rivers Brown, has led Revana Family Vineyard to establishing itself as one of the most iconic, estate-grown wineries in the Napa Valley. Guests will enjoy a four course, farm-to-table, seasonal menu prepared by Acacia House Executive Chef, food visionary, and Top Chef alum Chris Cosentino.


Reynolds Family Winery

Winemaker Steve Reynolds and his wife Suzie invite you to join them for an evening of culinary creations and hand-crafted wines at their winery located on the acclaimed Silverado Trail, just at the base of Stags Leap District. The evening promises great storytelling with friends, neighbors, and filmmakers, while sipping the most coveted wines (and perhaps even some Penta tequila), paired with locally-grown and farm-raised ingredients.


Shadybrook Estate Winery

Enjoy an evening under the stars and experience the hidden gem of the Napa Valley, Shadybrook Estate Winery at Rapp Ranch. Nestled in the heart of Coombsville, this 25-acre property is home to a premiere horse boarding facility, western barn offering guided vineyard horseback rides, state-of-the-art production facility, commercial kitchen, and 4,000-square-foot terrace. Spend the evening savoring their boutique, luxury wines, exquisitely paired with seasonal cuisine.


Wolf Family Vineyards by Auberge du Soleil

Inspired by the relaxed sophistication of the South of France, and infused with California soul, Auberge du Soleil provides the quintessential Napa Valley getaway. Take in spectacular valley views from the Maison d’Arbre, a private dining venue perched at the highest point of the property. Delight in canapés and a delectable three-course Michelin Star dining experience, expertly prepared by Executive Chef Robert Curry, and paired with premiere, local wines by Wolf Family Vineyards.


ZD Wines

50 years of world-class winemaking await you at ZD Wines’ Rutherford Estate. The evening will be centered on rare wines, reserve selections, and library vintages, paired with exquisite cuisine from Chef Casey Thompson, Napa local by way of Texas — with a few stops on Top Chef along the way. Begin with a behind-the-scenes look at the recently renovated property, along with a few exclusive tastes of their 50th Anniversary wines and coming vintages maturing in barrel. Enjoy dinner seated above the Rutherford vineyards to the west. Your hosts for the evening will be the deLeuze Family and the winemakers of ZD.


Vintner Circle members can also be found pouring at the Festival Gala and presenting a magnum bottle to our award-winning filmmakers. Raise a glass for the NVFF19 Vintner Circle!

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