Posts Tagged ‘Napa Valley’

First LEED Platinum Hotel in California

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

olive oil press sculptureWhile most people venture to Napa valley looking for the ultimate Zin or even the latest trendy eatery, others (like those who arrive in Teslas) like to plug in at the region’s Greenest spots. Although dubbed by many as the in new in, chic, trendy inn, the sustainably designed Bardessono (named for environmentally conscious Italian family who still own the land) might be better described as a way for travelers to get their eco-solace on.

The first and currently only LEED-Platinum hotel in California, the Bardessono will give overnight guests the opportunity to truly appreciate the reuse and repurposing of almost every substance rather than just the Green classification acronym. That reuse extends not only to creative use of building and structural materials but also the creative aesthetic touches like the reused Corona bottle glass that outlines the bathroom mirrors.

Although Green and minimalist, the Bardessono offers nods to its Italian roots and well as Zen like touches. Thoughtfully placed within view of several rooms, the olive oil press sculpture offers meditation inducing water (reused) flow to represent olive oil. Not only does the piece offer a pleasing sight and sounds but the fact that the entire piece comes via salvaged items like the stone that used to be part of an 100 year old olive oil press makes it even more attractive.

The fact that Bardessono considers water such an important aspect not only with the various Zen like pieces but the fact that they value the H2O as a precious resource. In addition to the ubiquitous low flow water fixtures and toilets for the indoors, the outdoors contains landscaping designed with native and drought tolerant plants as well as a drip irrigation system. Even the grey and black water gets a second life as irrigation by the town of Yountville.

For us super Greenies who felt somewhat guilty about relaxing in the indoor whirlpool bath or the rooftop based outdoor hot tub and pool, we felt somewhat better knowing that the both solar and geothermal wells go toward heating both the hot tubs and pool. Even the room tubs contain a self-sanitizing feature so chemicals don’t have to be used to clean to fight mildew.

Although many hipsters consider this boutique hotel a new, hip, minimalist trendy overnight option, many guests don’t realize how much sustainable creativity went towards the design. Although some eco-travelers do make a special trip to the Bardessono (like the many electric car owners who know that they can recharge their car or we who arrived in a Prius) many don’t fully appreciate the full environmental thought and how hotels like this one will raise not only the Green building bar but also everyone’s consciousness.

Those Green values and education will help anyone get good night sleep.

Cheers to Biodynamic Wine

Friday, January 25th, 2008

quivira3.jpgLast week as we overnighted in the LEED Gold Gaia Hotel in American Valley, we thought that we should take advantage of what everyone else in the region does – wine tasting. But we figured to be a little different. We hit a few wineries of varying organic, green, sustainable qualities and found a few surprises. First, get it out your head to tie “sustainability” to traditional wine making. As Winemaker Steven Canter at Quivira mentions, “There’s nothing sustainable about bottling wine in a glass bottle, corking the bottle, then shipping it all over the country.”

We scooted into the Madonna Winery tasting room during a quite Sunday afternoon. Located in the Carneros Region of Napa Valley, this family produced wine believes in organic farming, without the use of synthetic chemicals and is a proud member of CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers). But when we asked the two servers if they served organic wine it was as if we asked for a tasting of Miller Lite. One gave this look of confusion and the other got a little condescending. Apparently, they do not make organic wine. According to the servers, that whole organic wine issue deals with the adding of sulfites and they think that serious winemakers have to use sulfites. Everyone gets to do their own due diligence as far as organic this or that but don’t make us feel like idiots for bringing up the question. (more…)