‘Being a wedding videographer, it’s not a surprise that one or two of your clients would want a destination wedding. Chances are, one of them would want a wedding at Napa Valley. If you’re a wedding videographer, you should be prepared to become a Napa Valley Wedding Videographer.
You need to arm yourself with the knowledge of this picturesque place. Gladly, through experience, I have gathered a thing or two, and here’s a Napa Valley Wedding Videographer’s Guide just for you.
Why Napa Valley?
The wine country of Napa Valley in northern California offer some of the most romantic wedding destinations. These beautiful wine country estates feature stunning views from lush gardens, dramatic mountains, luxury resorts, and century-old stone cellars. In Napa Valley, there’s so much to offer especially for wedding ceremonies and parties.
Napa Valley Wedding Videographer’s Must Know: Best Venues
As a wedding videographer, you’ll surely be asked questions by your clients. This is why a knowledge of Napa Valley’s wedding venues can be handy. As a Napa Valley wedding videographer, it’s your responsibility to show them the best spots. If your clients are looking for the best wedding venues in Napa Valley, then the following are 20 picture-perfect wedding venues to choose from:
1. Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford
One of Napa Valley’s iconic luxury resorts, Auberge is tucked away in a mountainside olive grove and can accommodate weddings of up to 120 people. If you’re a Napa Valley wedding videographer, you’ll see that it’s perch offers some of the area’s most spectacular views, and on-site venues include an outdoor terrace. Other draws include the posh accommodations and Michelin-starred dining, which contribute to making Auberge one of the Valley’s upscale visitor magnets. Cool bonus: The resort’s wedding planner will arrange a special late night venue for your after-party, based on a slate of choices. (Bourbon and Scotch Bar, anyone?)
2. V. Sattui Winery, St. Helena
A Napa Valley winery with impressive rustic Italianate architecture, lush surroundings, and hidden gardens,. As a Napa Valley wedding videographer, you’ll see that the V. Sattui understandably does a thriving wedding trade. Between April and October, Michelin-starred chef Stefano Masanti—between seasons at his own restaurant in the Italian Alps—presides over the cuisine, including a complimentary Chef’s Table tasting for the bride and groom to assist in selecting their menu. The rest of the year Sattui’s staff works with local caterers.
3. Beringer Vineyards, St. Helena
Founded in 1876, this is Napa Valley’s oldest continuously operating winery, and its ornate, turreted Rhine House is one of the valley’s most notable sights. The manicured grounds and complex of buildings offer multiple venues for weddings and special events, including the Fermentation Room in the old winery, The Grove, with its century-old redwood trees, and, for something more intimate, the high-ceilinged old wine caves that run under Spring Mountain.
4. Sbragia Family Vineyards, Geyserville
Sbragia is a family-owned, ultra-premium winery with breathtaking views over the northern Dry Creek Valley. Its weddings and events are handled by the Milestone Events Group, which provides comprehensive planning-to-post-wedding services. Milestone works with several notable wineries, but Sbragia stands out for its handsome, contemporary architecture, superlative wine, and those terrace views.
5. The Napa Valley Wine Train, Napa
For something completely different: A ceremony where the landscape outside keeps changing. The Wine Train runs on a 36-mile round trip between the town of Napa and St. Helena along the main wine road of Highway 29 (which was built later, alongside the 1864 railway). The operators’ idea is to evoke the posh age of rail travel, with restored vintage cars fitted out with etched glass partitions, brass and mahogany accents and velveteen upholstery. The Wine Train’s event planners can help you choose the right car or combination of cars (for the ceremony and reception, say). There is, for example, the Champagne Vista Dome, an elevated observation car, and various dining and lounge cars.
6. Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma
With a colorful history dating back to 1857, Buena Vista is California’s oldest winery, and its 150-year old stonework and manicured grounds have been lovingly restored under its well-heeled owner, French wine magnate Jean-Charles Boisset. Weddings for up to 200 guests take place in the evenings on the outdoor Fountain Courtyard in front of the recently renovated 19th -century Champagne Cellars.
7. Calistoga Ranch, Calistoga
Auberge du Soleil’s bucolic sister property gets high marks for its wedding and events offerings, partly because of the breathtaking beauty of its hidden canyon location, partly due to the smooth professionalism of the people who work there, and partly because of its range of on-site venue options. You could, for example, hold the ceremony by the water in the Lakeside Restaurant, have cocktails in the resort’s own vineyard, and then retire to the wine cave for dinner and dancing. If elopement is more your thing than big parties, ask about their custom small weddings.
8. Merryvale Vineyards, St. Helena
One of a handful of Napa wineries grandfathered-in for wedding events, family-owned Merryvale offers a genuine wine-country experience you’d be hard-pressed to duplicate outside of a grand European wine estate. Its historic Cask Room is a soaring, stone-walled space, lit by candles and lined with two-story-high stacks of 2,000-gallon oak casks. No small bonus: Merryvale’s typically delicious and reasonably priced wine.
9. Chalk Hill Estates Vineyard & Winery, Healdsburg
The Foley family’s well-regarded contemporary winery occupies pride of place in this 1,300-acre estate in the Mayacamas Mountains foothills, which is also home to gardens, stables, an Olympic-sized riding arena, woods, and ponds. The soaring, glass-walled Estate Pavilion—with its 21-foot-tall limestone fireplace—is a spectacular all-weather venue (and opens to an expansive terrace). People planning weddings in the warmer months may want to explore more nature-oriented options, however, like Chalk Hill Ridge Park on the property’s highest elevation, surrounded by 500-year-old oaks and bay trees.
10. Charles Krug Winery, St. Helena
One of a handful of grandfathered-in Napa producers that are allowed to host weddings, this valley-floor winery dates back to 1861. Its wedding packages include use of the winery’s guest house as well as three handsome event venues, which can be booked separately or in combination.
The Great Lawn is the spot for a big (up to 800 people) al fresco event. The Carriage House—built in 1881 to house Mrs. Krug’s horses and carriages—is a beautifully renovated indoor space for up to 250, with soaring, redwood ceilings. The spruced-up 1872 Redwood Cellar, showcasing the winery’s Reserve Barrel Room, is offered for rehearsal dinners or other satellite events.
11. Culinary Institute of America, St. Helena & Napa
The CIA’s West coast campus now includes two impressive landmark buildings, the massive 1888 Greystone—a former monastery and winery—on the main campus, and the modern Copia food center on the Napa River. This is a case where there are so many possible venues, scaled to different-sized events and personal tastes—like candle-lit tables in the old stone cellars—that it is probably worth visiting beforehand to scout out the options, though the event staff is set up to help you with just that. And it’s the CIA—so rest assured they’ve got the food and wine end covered.
12. Chateau St. Jean, Kenwood
One of the pioneers of the Sonoma Valley wine renaissance, St. Jean is one of the Valley’s most frequented tourist destinations, thanks to its combination of praise-worthy wine, gorgeous gardens and setting, and its graceful, hacienda-style 1920s “chateau.” The winery’s emphasis on visitor hospitality shades over into its event-ready wedding offerings, which include attractive “get-ready” rooms and a range of garden venues that take advantage of the chateau’s well-tended grounds and natural setting.
Meadowood is one of America’s most cosseting luxury resorts, tucked away in a fold of Napa Valley’s eastern hills. For those who can afford it, the resort offers a comprehensive destination retreat, with everything from bride-and-groom spa programs to sports activities (don’t miss the professional-quality croquet lawn) and access to off-site event venues. The leafy grounds offer a number of lovely spots for the ceremony and reception and the dedicated staff is deft at making the most of them. The food program here is superlative—it all starts with celebrity chef Christopher Kostow, and the Michelin Three Star main restaurant.
14. Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, Boyes Hot Springs
This sprawling luxury resort and spa make a fine home base for a destination wedding, with plenty to keep guests entertained between events, from massages to tennis courts to nearby winery visits. The resort itself offers several indoor and outdoor venues for the ceremony and reception, including off-site settings in the surrounding wine country. Wedding planning is a well-versed team effort here, coordinated by the event and culinary staffs. With the top-end Platinum Package, you are assigned your own wedding concierge.
15. Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, St. Helena
The Hall family’s extensive farming and vineyard operations. The four substantial properties include a sprawling, showcase organic vineyard, olive groves and Highland cattle farm high in the Mayacamas Mountains above Napa Valley—underlie both the estate-produced food and drink here, as well as the all-local spirit of their Farmstead restaurant and event site on the valley floor. Weddings for up to 300 at the Farmstead take place either outside, with a view onto the vineyards, or inside the airy, rustic-chic restaurant. A specialty: banquet meals cooked over live fire.
16. Healdsburg Country Gardens, Healdsburg
There are many things to recommend this bucolic venue, aka Ru’s Farm, as a wedding location. So many, as it turns out, the place is already booked up for 2017. If you’re planning horizon extends beyond that, take a look at this tranquil vineyard and gardens. It’s one of the best with its 1902 barn and signature cork oak tree. There are also two well-appointed farm cottages for stay-overs. The owners are networked into wedding-oriented Sonoma chefs, caterers, and vendors.
17. Farmhouse Inn, Forestville
One of wine country’s most romantic, high-end small inns, the Farmhouse Inn specializes in “Tiny Weddings” and elopements. These services accomodate around six guests but you can consult them about larger events. If personal-scale is your aim, look into the offerings here. The family owners—fifth generation Sonomans—put a lot of care and energy into this leafy, hidden-away property, which includes a Michelin-starred restaurant, an ultra-insider’s wine program (including the resort’s own winery), and luxury accommodations.
18. Kunde Family Winery, Kenwood
Since 1904 the Kunde family has overseen this sprawling. A 1,850-acre property in Sonoma’s scenic Valley of the Moon. The name is thought to be a translation of the Miwok Indian word “sonoma”. If you’re a Napa Valley wedding videographer, you’ll see the property features a wealth of attractive wedding and reception spots. It ranges from the panoramic promontory of Boot Hill to the VIP Dining Room in the 32,000-square-foot wine caves. The hospitality staff can also help you mix and match the spots. For instance, a wedding under the 150-year-old olive trees on Olive Hill, then a reception at the intimate Hill House.
19. Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Sonoma
Six generations of the Bundschu family have made wine here at the home. Rhinefarm vineyard has been around since 1858. And the current crop of family members at “Gun Bun” has made the venerable winery a fun, laid-back destination for wine tourism. It’s also a magnet for weddings of up to 150 people. Their events team even offers “proposal packages” and engagement shoots. The Rhinefarm’s 320 rolling, Sonoma Valley acres are famously scenic. And their historic stone winery and its caves offer romantic backdrops can’t be underestimated as well.
20. Jack London State Park, Glen Ellen
One of Sonoma County’s loveliest spots is the park centered around author Jack London’s home and barns. As a Napa Valley wedding videographer, you’ll see that it’s worth a visit anytime. It’s also a very popular wedding and reception site for those who don’t mind a little roughing it (portable toilets). It’s also for people who are open to additional planning (lights must be brought in) in the service of romance. The top venue here is in the ruined foundations of an old stone winery next to London’s house, with wonderful views of Sonoma Mountain. The view is with vine rows by daylight and an air of old-world elegance when lit by night.
Travel To Napa Valley Now!
As a Napa Valley wedding videographer, remember that Napa Valley offers so much for romantic weddings. Tell your clients to try to visit some of the wedding venues mentioned above to see which one is perfect for your wedding. And as a Napa Valley wedding videographer, you’ll see the picturesque areas of Napa Valley.