Community, Art, Activism: How One Napa Winery Is Redefining Luxury
Cultural construct of luxury is a litmus test for the achievements and concerns of a society. It evolves with the times moving consumer behavior towards mindful craftsmanship and purpose-driven acquisition of goods and services. While the global pandemic hit the hospitality industry the hardest, its luxury segment has exhibited resiliency. It has been supporting the much-needed economic rebound efforts around the world. From Spain to Mexico, purveyors of luxury properties and experiences are proactively challenging what it means to have the means to change the world. In the United States, winemakers of Napa Valley have been pioneering luxury hospitality concepts for well over a century.
The latest shift responds to the guests’ growing desire to move beyond the top amenities, exclusive spa treatments, and gourmet cuisine towards something more meaningful. Don’t worry, the beloved spas and fine dining are here to stay. Holistic approach to programming simply expands the notion of enotourism. It centers support for the local arts scene, social and environmental justice, and focuses on making lasting interpersonal connections. The goal is to strengthen post-pandemic communities which now fully include virtual friends as well. As tourists are “finally coming back” to California, Napa Valley leads the way. Among its historic businesses, St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery serves as a fascinating case study in radical reimagining of the link between hospitality and philanthropy.
The Art of Seeing
While wine tasting remains a worthwhile reason for touring wineries, estates are finding that people respond with greater enthusiasm to artful storytelling facilitated by wine events. In other words, wine has become an integral part of the vibrant cultural landscape of California. St. Supéry caters to art lovers with a calendar of exhibitions in multiple mediums. Artists Topher Delaney and Calving Chin of the Delaney + Chin dynamic art duo have curated the beautiful sculpture walks throughout the estate gardens as well as the exclusively-commissioned Everyday Heroes exhibition featuring monochrome portraits of 24 local volunteers shot by 8 local photographers. Art is a powerful tool of maintaining community wellness.
The main onsite gallery is currently focused on art photography celebrating the wonders of Northern Californian nature. Photographer Sally Seymour presents vivid portraits of fruits harvested nearby at the Dollarhide Ranch orchards. Award-winning lensman John Comisky captures indigenous wildlife in stunning color images befitting his role as the president of Napa Wildlife!
The Edge of the Pacific gets its close-up from Keith Blodgett. This show proved so popular with the visitors, it is being expanded and prolonged. All proceeds from the sale of additional works will directly benefit Every Mother Counts.
The Art of Giving
Charitable giving has broken records in the United States in the last two years showing consistent increase both in terms of funds raised and donor retention numbers. For many guests inspired to get involved with philanthropic causes, St. Supéry takes the anxiety out of embracing that great responsibility. Much of its programming is focused on opportunities to make a difference. So much so that the annual national Giving Tuesday initiative evolved into an ongoing series of Giving Tuesdays and a dedicated podcast supporting a variety of deserving organizations such as Humanity Showers, Primo Center, Voices of Our City, and others. Current spotlight is on Oceans 2050 Foundation which advocates for comprehensive solutions to the many problems facing the seas.
A series of events includes an evening with Ocean 2050’s president, environmental filmmaker Alexandra Cousteau. Her grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau was one of the world’s most influential ocean explorers and a lifelong champion of marine life. And turned that red beanie hat into an iconic fashion statement! There are many ways to give at St. Supéry. From wine box sets to tasting events to hosting fundraisers to nominating your own Everyday Heroes, everyone can experience the joy of contributing to a common goal of making this world a better place.
The Art of Caring
From slow fashion to supply chain transparency, sustainability reigns supreme among luxury consumer trends. The agrarian and cultural microcosm of Napa Valley is at forefront of climate change concerns. The adverse impact on its unique terroir impacts local communities both in long-term planning and day to day life. Two-thirds of St. Supéry’s 1,500+ acres are a de facto preserve fostering natural biodiversity of plants and wildlife. In the last 5 years, the water usage has been reduced by 50% relying on effective water recycling and improving irrigation efficiency. They continue to source glass from only North America containing high recycled content. Remarkably, solar power offsets 90% of the winery’s energy bill. From its farm-to-table mindset to the sustainable seafood pledge, the estate’s culinary offering is another element that deserves praise for mindful innovation under the visionary leadership of Chef Tod Kawachi. You can indulge in a caviar tasting from the nation’s only eco-certified sturgeon farm and an aromatherapy workshop exploring a unique sensory rolodex; and feel good about supporting vital work on worthwhile causes.
St. Supéry has been one of state’s most proactive businesses when it comes to implementing strict sustainable practices across all its units. This is how culture and community come together to inspire changes to help Earth. Welcome to the new normal of luxury.