Last Saturday, after some 40 years of visiting Napa Valley wineries, for the very first time we attended the musical concert at the Robert Mondavi winery featuring the group Ozomatli. What a fantastic venue for a concert.
This series has been going on for 40 years and Margrit Biever Mondavi, who started the series, is still on hand to make the introductions. This year’s summer series of concerts will run through August 1. The proceeds from the concert series go to support various musical programs throughout the Napa Valley.
We had the dinner tickets, but there are also tickets for picnicking on the grass or seating on folding chairs. The dinner ticket included a wine reception with light appetizers paired with Fume Blanc or Merlot. The featured dinner wine of the night was the 2000 To Kalon Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon in Jeroboam bottles. They did a ceremonial opening of one of these bottles at the wine reception and decanted the wine into carafes. Coolest thing was the guy who pulled the cork. He was wearing a sport coat made of wine corks. The wine was delicious.
Dinner guests sit at tables that are set up in between the rows of the To Kalon vineyards. Just ahead is the grassy area where the seating is open. You can bring your dinner, lawn chairs and blanket and pick your spot. There were also BBQ specialties, salads, and sandwiches for sale for $20 and under. Next time we attend one of these concerts, we will opt for the open seating tickets. The people sitting on the lawn were having the most fun, and before long, most of them were up and dancing to the music. Ahead of the open lawn is theater type seating and affords the best view of the performance. The stage is set up just under the Mondavi archway.
The dinner menu included three different salads, grilled Mahi Mahi, and organic nectarines, figs, cherry plums and artisan cheeses. The wines served were a Fume Blanc, a Pinot Noir, and the To Kalon Reserve Cabernet. We were a little disappointed that we did not think any of the foods served matched well with Cabernet but it was still very enjoyable.
If you are traveling to the Napa Valley the next few weekends, you might consider spending your Saturday night at the Robert Mondavi concert. It is truly a memorable experience.