Napa Valley Handmade
Napa Valley is an undisputed wine growing powerhouse, but its natural gifts have inspired plenty of creativity beyond the barrel. From the purest 100% local olive oils to handcrafted pottery to a clever line of sumptuous soaps, these makers are a testament to the region’s ‘art of the craft’. Here are some of our favorite ways to bring Wine Country’s vine-free favorites home.
NAPA VALLEY EXTRA VIRGIN
Purity is the name of the game for this Calistoga purveyor of extra virgin olive oils, beauty products and infused vinegars. “Drizzle our infused vinegars over any vegetables you don’t want to eat!” was owner Jamie Anzalone’s sage advice, which we can safely say worked like a charm. The olive oil body lotions are particularly addictive – with only five sulfate-free ingredients, they smell like a dream and moisturize in seconds.
Husband and wife potters Sally and Jeff Manfredi have turned out original, high-quality works of tabletop art for over 35 years, and their enthusiasm for their trade is infectious. Eschewing widespread commercialism for smaller custom work, their pieces are the kind that become instant family heirlooms. Visiting the Manfredis in their Calistoga workshop is a delight, and working with them via phone and email is the next best thing.
Growing up in the award-winning Gargiulo Vineyards family has taught Napa Valley progeny April Gargiulo a thing or two about quality. Disappointed by the lack of truly all-natural luxury beauty products on the market, Gargiulo went to work developing a product that could actually live up to an ‘active botanicals’ designation. The result? An essential oil-packed serum that disappears into skin, leaving you noticeably more radiant. It doesn’t hurt that the sleek, violet glass packaging ups the ante on your bathroom display.
NAPA SOAP COMPANY
“Cabernet Soapignon” – “Clean O Noir” – “Teano Grigio” – the Napa Soap Company knows its way around a good pun. And as if that weren’t enough, their line of beautiful soaps, lotions and body products are seriously worth their (bath) salt. One of our husbands is particularly partial to the Serious Chef’s Soap which exfoliates, moisturizes and deoderizes (bye, onion hands), and the pretty paper wrapping makes these a shoo-in for easy, thoughtful gifts.
ROUND POND ESTATE
As Napa Valley activities go, a visit to Round Pond Estate is up there with the best of them. Their outstanding line of richly varied olive oils and unique red wine vinegars are the best possible way to remember a fond experience, and are bonafide kitchen and salad dressing staples in our homes.
St. Helena’s spotless cocoa salon is a family-owned affair that creates truly exquisite chocolate delicacies. We swear by the Helenas – a caramel and almond crisp sandwich covered in chocolate and a dusting of sea salt. Best of luck deciding which toffees, s’mores or morsels to order – you can’t go wrong and it’s not an easy task!
We raved about this no-fuss coffee shop for good reason: the coffee is flat-out great! Bring home their beans and see for yourself: their single-origin roasts make for one rich cup of java. As an added bonus, they’ll customize the label on any of their offerings free of charge. (Not a gift we’d mind receiving, in case you were wondering).
We get hungry just thinking about this St. Helena bakery’s best-ever English muffins, so it’s lucky they can be delivered directly to your door. We can hardly imagine a way to make Christmas, New Year’s (or Saturday) morning more special.