Updated: Jun 13
I’m back from one of the most incredible experiences of my life in Napa Valley, CA. I am not normally a writer…. But this experience deserved to be written and shared. So please bear with me.
I was invited to attend the Signature Kitchen Suite, True to Food Tour. If you are not familiar with Signature Kitchen Suite (SKS), they are the luxury line of LG appliances.
Their 23,500 square foot epicurean center is in the heart of wine country was the perfect backdrop to learn about the latest crossroads between design, technology and innovation in kitchen appliances while being wined and dined with 32+ designer friends.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN NAPA VALLEY & OPENING NIGHT RECEPTION
My home away from home, the incredible Vista Collina Hotel, greeted us with a refreshing Prosecco at check in....(they speak my love language). The stately one bedroom suite had magnificent views of the sprawling vineyards, a bottle of wine waiting for me and a swag bag from SKS. After dropping off my things, I raced over to a cave that housed the spa for an incredible facial to slough off my winter skin and kick off the week relaxed. Hello sunny Napa Valley!
The opening night reception was simply incredible! We gathered for dinner and a meet and greet at the exquisite Meritage Resort Estate Cave where we laughed with old friends and connected with new ones. And yes, the energy was high and we drank way too much wine! As with each evening, we ended up around the fire pit for our late night fireside chats…..what happens at the fire pit stays around the fire pit.
DAY 2: SIGNATURE KITCHEN SUITE EXPERIENCE & DESIGN CENTER IMMERSION DAY
On day two we headed straight for coffee! Can you count how many milk alternatives we have here?!? I'm the oat milk.
We ate breakfast as a group and then we were off to the SKS Experience and Design Center with nearly 200 LG and SKS home appliances. In partnership with local wineries and produce farms, we were excited to get into the kitchen and cook with the culinary genius, SKS Chef Nick. We had class time and hands-on training time with some of the award-winning cooking technology in various kitchen vignettes. Overall, the experience was as delicious as the food! After filling our minds with lots of SKS product knowledge, we "prepared" dinner for the group. We weren’t quite done learning as we had a visit from Oscar from Sequoia Grove who gave us an education on wine tasting. Now we were ready for our winery visits for the rest of the week!
And after good food and wine....it's time for some karaoke of course!! I thought they were kidding......but no way..... and some of my fellow designhounds killed it!
DAY 3: SIGNATURE KITCHEN SUITE EXPERIENCE & DESIGN CENTER IMMERSION DAY (PART II)
As we headed back to the SKS Experience & Design Center on the morning of day 3, we were introduced to the latest and greatest LG has to offer in laundry room appliances. One of my favorites was the LG Styler that freshens cloths in minutes with a smart wi-fi enabled steam system. Using the power of steam, The Styler deodorizes and sanitizes in minutes. The best part is that no plumbing is required so it can be placed anywhere....like my closet or the mudroom.....because mine will be arriving very soon!
Photos above.....all in one W/D, ThinQ Tower with controls in the middle, small load in the bottom.
The rest of the morning was filled with inspiring presentations by three amazing women, our trip organizer and a fabulous human, the Modenus Media CEO and Designhounds founder, Veronika Miller-Eagleson. Veronika encouraged us to tap into our inner artist and gifted us with a sketch pad and pencils to get us ready for the next leg of our adventure.. Jane Dagmi from HPXD (High Point x Design) reminded us to show our story. She is a brilliant woman who loves to see designers leaning into their talents and helping them to show up....as humans and in publications. And last but not least, Linda Holt from Linda Holt Creative did a little class on how to take more creative and interesting photos with our iPhones, how to capture the moment. One of my favorite lines from the week..... "Look at what I saw. See what I created". All of this was followed by a delicious Chef Nick lunch.
After lunch we ventured to Sonoma for an inspirational walk through Cornerstone Gardens with a glass of bubbles. Next stop, Sonoma Antiques, where we perused the lovely shop for inspiration and used Veronika’s gifts during a private sketching experience while sipping champagne and eating the most amazing local, fresh strawberries.
We then headed over to Studio Roeper where we met owner Florian and his parents to learn about his luxury artisan tables found in Christian Dior stores around the world. Little did I know that HE was the creator of a console table I have been saving for just the right project!
To round out the day we had more delicious cuisine at Bottega. The food was outstanding and the company divine.
DAY 4: TRUE TO FOOD NAPA EXPERIENCE
Hard to believe how each day just kept getting better and more unique! The final morning began with a Vineyard Yoga Hike (for some.......I was sleeping in!). What a great way to re-center and process these exquisite experiences (for some.....I was sleeping, but I KNOW it was amazing). After coffee, we headed to Yountville to Kollar Chocolates for a sensory tasting tour with the founder, Chris Kollar. These hand-made artisan samples were art pieces worthy of a museum....and my belly. I brought home decadent chocolates with popcorn and pop rocks inside for the boys!! Chris pared his chocolates with incredible wines....total winner! What I did not win......well, that was the art contest ;-) But I will show you my entry anyway....front and center.....the theme was spring.
As if our visit wasn't decadent enough already, our next stop was to visit Hope and Grace for a private wine blending class, complemented by Bouchon nibbles. I must confess, I have blended wine before (surprise 40th birthday party!) but that just made me more prepared and I found a winning combo on my 2nd blend! So much so..... it was just about identical to a wine they sell to wine club members.....but because my blend was right on, they let me purchase a few to bring home! So much fun!! Topped off with a lunch from Bouchon Bistro!!
And you would think this would be enough for one day....but NO! Off we go again in our trusty bus to another gorgeous winery, Bouchaine. I will confess...i drooled so long over their kitchen that I didn't get to taste all of their wines. So, as any good wine lover would do, I went back with Seth over the weekend and we joined their wine club!
I can't say enough about our farewell dinner at Angèle. They have managed to bring the French countryside to the heart of downtown Napa. Dining on impeccable cuisine outdoors along the Napa River is a highlight for me out of the entire trip.
And you guessed it......fire pit time! #NoPictures
DAY 5: DEPARTURE DAY & SEQUOIA GROVE WINERY
We gathered in the lobby on our last morning to see our old and new friends off as we recapped the week. Luckily for me I was able to squeeze in one more wine tasting with Seth, Amala and Rachel at the Sequoia Grove Winery (New wine club members here too!!) to which we were first introduced during our wine paring lesson from Oscar on day one at SKS. We then dropped our friends off at the hotel to catch their ride to the airport as Seth and I stayed on to enjoy the weekend of just the two of us.
A great big thank you to Modenus for extending the invitation to attend the Signature Kitchen Suite True To Food Tour and to everyone at SKS who made the week so incredible. I have come back relaxed, educated and inspired to take on the next kitchen design challenge.
For my fellow foodie friends.... I would LOVE to chat to you about SKS for your own kitchen!
Bonus question for those of you who made it this far!! How many wine farms did I sign up for on this trip??