Posts by Melanie

You Can’t Just Wing it in the Covid Era

Wineries are re-opening but things are far from what they were before the pandemic. The situation is fluid and varies state by state.  In Napa and Sonoma, wineries can only host outdoors.  In Texas Hill Country, wineries must remain closed for tasting but can sell bottles curbside.  There are all kinds of rules for social distancing and every winery and restaurant is responding to them in their own way, depending on how their space configured. To accommodate the new rules, businesses will be operating at reduced capacity for the foreseeable future. They will only be able to accept so many visitors; it’s possible you could get turned away.  Forget about just walking in for a tasting at most wineries.

Wine Country Vacations - Booker and Butler ConciergesThis state of flux means each winery’s hours and offerings are subject to change, making what used to be a carefree outing harder to plan. That’s where we come in. We will help you navigate this new normal… find accommodations, book wine tastings, line up drivers and chefs, make spa and restaurant reservations. Whatever you want, we make it happen, even with all the Covid-related challenges, social distancing requirements and most importantly ensuring all places and people we book you with are following proper sanitization standards.

You might be thinking, What can a concierge do for me that I can’t do for myself? Fair question. After all, there are endless blog posts and magazine articles on the subject. A google search of What to do in Wine Country yields 1,380,000,000 results. And your social media feed is likely overflowing with winery hospitality pics. Clearly, there is no shortage of ideas. But that’s not really the point if what you need is a plan.

So, who needs a concierge? Anyone who values their time.

It’s important to note that Booker & Butler is not a tour company. We have no set itineraries, nor do we accompany you on your journey. Instead, we tailor everything to your specific needs and wants. Whether it’s a girl’s getaway, a weekend retreat, a birthday or an anniversary celebration, we put together customized itineraries so you can travel confidently on your own. With your travel arranged, your reservations made, and your itinerary mapped, you’re free to enjoy your Wine Country adventure.

Why You Should Hire a Concierge for Your Next Trip to Wine Country

There is no shortage of ideas on “What To Do in Wine Country.”  Thousands of articles have been written on the subject. Half a million instagrams have a #winecountry tag. And Facebook posts . . . there isn’t enough time in a day. What could a concierge possibly tell you about Wine Country that all these other sources might have missed?

Therein lies the rub. Because everyone who writes or posts or tweets about Wine Country does so from their own perspective. As inspiring as their personal adventures might be – as constructive as their must-sees might seem – they’re all particular to that person. No more useful to planning a trip around your needs and desires than if you simply Googled it. To wit: Google yields 19,200,000 results on the subject.

That’s where working with a concierge comes in. Not a hotel concierge – though they can certainly be of help if you’re staying at their hotel – but a private concierge who can plan an itinerary for specifically for you. Someone local who knows the lay of the land, who has connections and, most importantly, who listens to what you want. Read on…

What’s a Boutique Winery?

As a Wine Country concierge, it’s my job to match clients with the best wineries for their palate and their purse. It’s no easy task. There are literally hundreds of wineries — 390 in Napa and 450 in Sonoma — with new brands popping up all the time. Way more than you could visit in a year’s worth of weekends. While I am actively trying to see them all, I don’t foresee the day when I will have every last one crossed off my list. Read on…

The Sound of Music in Wine Country

Those who have read my BottleRock post from earlier this summer (http://bookerandbutler.com/bottlerock-2015-keep-on-rockin/) know I’m a live music lover. Options for big name acts coming to Napa and Sonoma are robust, and there is a rich history full of vintage acts.

A few weekends ago at the Robert Mondavi Winery’s annual summer concert series, we saw Trombone Shorty and his Orleans Avenue band…a fun mix of jazz, funk and hip hop hailing from New Orleans. This was my 3rd concert as part of the Mondavi music series over the last 10 years; previously we saw Dave Brubeck and Aimee Mann. So how does that show for musical diversity? This annual series at the winery just wrapped up its 46th year of hosting various musical acts. Margrit Mondavi, widow of founder Robert Mondavi, gave a heartwarming intro to the night, the eve of her 90th birthday! My favorite line was when she said, “wine is good for you. In moderation.” If I am standing in front of an audience on my 90th birthday then bring on the wine– in moderation! Read on…

BottleRock 2015–Keep on Rockin’

Hats off to Latitude 38 Entertainment, the group behind the 3rd annual BottleRock music festival that took place last weekend in Napa. I’ve attended all 3 years and I must say this year the experience was outstanding. Sure year one blew us all away with performances by the Black Keys and Kings of Leon, but we all learned about the debacle of no one being paid and the festival went bankrupt. Last year a knight in shining armor swooped in and saved the day, when David Graham and his partners took over, paid off debts and brought us the Cure and Outkast. This year they took it up a notch in all ways. 120,000 festivalgoers attended over the 3 –day event. The devastating earthquake of last summer was actually a good thing as three large buildings on the fairgrounds were so badly damaged; they were demolished, leaving more open space and room for better festival flow. Read on…

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

I love Rosé. I love everything it stands for, everything it reminds me of. I love how it tastes. I love how it pairs. I love how uncomplicated it makes things.

So it was with great anticipation that my husband and I took a Sunday drive to Healdsburg for their first annual Pink Party. (OK, the anticipation obviously wasn’t that great because I never got the hint to dress in pink. However, I was sporting some spring pastels on this unseasonably warm day.)

Read on…