Happy Holidays From The Leonardinis

Longtime traditions and family time make the winter season a favorite for the Leonardini family. Their holiday spirit can be found across Napa Valley and the Bay Area. As 2015 closes, we find ourselves looking forward to another year of happiness and fruitful grape vines.

Napa becomes a cozy destination during the holidays. Because the harvest has passed, as has the high tourism season, we’re able to slow down and enjoy the things that matter. Chef Larry has time to experiment in the kitchen, and we get to taste some of his new winter recipes. He also bakes holiday cookies and cakes that we share with our friends and neighbors who have supported us throughout the year.

To celebrate together, we close early one day in December and the entire Whitehall Lane team heads to one of our favorite restaurants in the Valley to share a meal paired with library wines from Whitehall Lane’s cellar. This year, we will head to one of our long time favorites, Bistro Don Giovanni. They have a cozy private room with a fireplace for large groups. Sharing their Italian dishes paired with Whitehall Lane wines with those we have worked with during the year is always something we look forward to.

The Leonardini family is always excited when snow comes before Christmas. This year it even arrived before Thanksgiving! If that’s the case, we pack up the SUV and head to Lake Tahoe to enjoy all the Sierras have to offer in the winter – skiing, movies, fireplaces, more skiing, chocolate s’mores, ice skating, and home-cooked meals.

Most of our family lives in the Bay Area. When everyone is home we are blessed to share many holiday dinners together. Everyone in the family enjoys cooking, so delicious dinners are rotated throughout all our homes during the holidays. Tom and Karen Leonardini, our matriarch and patriarch, also have birthdays during this time of the year. These special days lend to another great excuse to get together and celebrate with more family dinners. Grasshopper pie is a favorite dessert for four generations of Leonardinis, so it inevitably closes out the evening during many of our celebrations.

When are need a break from all the cooking and shopping for the holidays, we will inevitably dine at Harvest Table, located at Charlie Palmer’s Harvest Inn in Saint Helena. They offer a welcoming atmosphere for both hotel guests and locals to mingle and enjoy locally sourced seasonal dishes.

One favorite tradition for the women in our family is getting together with friends for one evening to don pajamas and slippers and share potluck dishes and Napa Valley wines in front of a fire while watching the film “Love, Actually.” This tradition is ten years old and still going strong.

Whether you’re spending the holidays in dewy San Francisco, or snowy Boulder, Colorado, take some well-deserved time off to spend with your family and friends. Stay safe and joyful as we enter a new year. From our family to yours, we wish you the happiest of holidays.