Fork at the CIA

Fork Gordon Huether

    Fork at CIA – Restaurant at CIA Gordon Huether’s Fork is a striking sculpture that sits in front of the new branch of  Culinary Institute of America. It is where Copia had operated until it closed in 2008. The building has been hardly used since the closure, but in 2016 the CIA decided … Read more

CIA Moves into Copia

CIA moves into Copia building The Culinary Institute of America is branching out in the Napa Valley. For many years the historic Greystone in St. Helena has been the West Coast branch of the CIA. The long-vacant Copia building now houses many CIA events and glasses. There is also an innovative restaurant on the premises, … Read more

Bits and Pieces of Napa Valley News

The 2016 Harvest The harvest of the king of grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon, is well underway in the Napa Valley, with most of the wineries expecting a fantastic harvest. In the Napa Valley Register we find this information. Andy Beckstoffer of Beckstoffer Vineyards, who is one of the largest wine growers in the valley, said this … Read more

Copia is “Out of Business”

Last Thursday, I posted some ideas for saving Copia. Apparently, I was way off the mark, not knowing the demise of Copia was only a day a way. The Napa Valley Register reported that Copia had abruptly closed its doors on Friday. Ticket holders for events were out in the cold. The sign on the … Read more

Ideas for Saving Copia

The latest rumor on Copia is that it is in deep financial trouble and there are signs that they intend to sell or lease the building and property it occupies on First Street in Napa. I am not a businessperson, but I would like to suggest a few ideas that might make Copia a leading venue for wine tourists. Maybe these ideas have already been tossed around, or maybe it is just too late and Copia is set to go under. Anyway, here goes.

To begin with, Copia should seek out sponsors in the wine industry like Gallo, Constellation, Jackson Wines and other major wine companies. Copia started out this way with a huge Robert Mondavi donation. Arenas and stadiums all across the country have corporate sponsors and it is great PR for the companies. Remodel the Copia building into different rooms called centers, each with a different theme and corporate sponsor. For example, in the Robert Mondavi (Constellation) Center, the tourists would find exhibits on the history of winemaking in California. Bring in important memorabilia going back to the Franciscan Fathers and Gaston Haraszthy, who founded Buena Vista Winery. Depict California’s wine story from the beginning to its present day. Bring in old grape presses and wooden fermenting tanks. Display a timeline of wine pioneers and winemakers through photographs and essays.

Read more

Napa — Unsettling Problems

With redevelopment projects along the Napa River and the buzz created by the Oxbow Market, you would think that all is joy among Napa businesses, restaurants, and lodging establishments. Not so. The last few weeks have not brought good news to the city of Napa.

One of Copia's exhibits,
interesting or humdrum?
One of Copia's exhibits,
interesting or humdrum?

Copia continues to have its share of financial problems. Copia recently announced layoffs and surprisingly their winter hours leave Copia open only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Copia store and Julie’s Kitchen restaurant remain open on a daily basis. We stated in a blog post a year ago that on our last visit to Copia we felt that the exhibits were sparse and not very compelling. The most interesting area to us was the vegetable garden and now we hear that the garden plot might be up for sale to shore up Copia’s financing. You would think that with the addition of the Oxbow Market next door, Copia would see an increase in visitors. Apparently, that has not happened.

Read more