Napa Valley has enjoyed decades of prominence on every wine lover’s “must do” list. Visitors to the classic destination journey up and down scenic Highway 29, tasting wines from world renown vineyards. While the region’s popularity shows no signs of waning, the market had yet to actualize an experience in the language of the highly sought after Millennial travelers. Auberge Resorts envisioned VieVage as the next era of Napa Valley luxury, a dynamic, artisanal village to welcome a new generation to the American terroir.
Millennials are travelers at heart. Their insatiable thirst for authentic experience and social connection drives them to the corners of the globe in search of exotic food, drink, and adventure. As young professionals, they don’t have the disposable income that they might have later in their careers, but when they spend, they usually prioritize travel. Capturing the attention of these young travelers can do wonders for an entire region, broadening the market and securing its future as an aspirational destination.
The traditional California wine-tasting experience tends to be more passive. Stately vineyards tucked away deep in the majestic hills wait for visitors to wander up or schedule a visit, offering little connectivity within the region. On 95 acres of historic Stanly Ranch the client envisioned a more social, energetic experience incorporating not only wine but fresh food, craft beer, and live music in a microcosm of local culture.
They knew that this new interpretation of the beloved valley needed a fresh format. Auberge is known for high-end resorts deeper into the valley, in the more dramatic landscapes of Rutherford and Calistoga. The new product, VieVage, needed to reflect their new approach to hospitality.
The southern end of Napa Valley, near the juncture of with Sonoma Valley is open, with rolling hills. What it lacks in grandeur, it makes up for in long-range visibility. Overland wanted to make the most of the vistas and the casual grace of northern California. They designed VieVage as a village, a deconstructed hotel that enables guests to move around freely, mixing public and private space.
To capture the views and outdoor sensibility of the Napa experience, Overland sited the project with view corridors to uninterrupted vistas of the hills and mountains beyond, without the visual clutter of buildings.
Working with choice partners, Overland arranged for high-end, sustainable manufactured buildings to be dropped into the site and powered by solar. The property connects to regional bike trails and sits adjacent to working vineyards, thus maintaining a strong connection to the classic and emerging activities of the region.
As the valley grows in popularity for cyclists and runners, VieVage’s spa supports the health and wellness lifestyle as well as athletic performance. More than just a relaxation space, the facility is designed with athletes in mind. The treatment rooms will include all of the amenities one might find in the training center of a professional sports team.
“This will be the destination spa in the valley,” said Principal in Charge Bob Shemwell.
Of course, the viticulture of Napa is still its primary identity, and VieVage will pay homage not only to the product but the processes involved in wine production, as well as the other local, artisanal foods and beverages.
Because of the location within a tiny, rural offshoot of the Napa municipality, the client was able to obtain a public permit, allowing them to keep regular opening hours, tastings, and events. Such permits are nearly impossible to procure in Napa and Sonoma counties, the limited supply being held by long-time producers in the region.
As the client seeks to interpret the Napa experience through food, beverage, and process, they want to reflect the values of their target market. Overland’s sustainable design, based on social and active lifestyles, speaks directly to the young professionals of today and the enduring appeal of Northern California’s premier wine region.