This is the first in a new series of columns called “Glass Half Full,” in which journalist Anne Ward Ernst will explore the flavors of Napa Valley.

Live music and wine? Yes, please. It’s a combination that speaks “Napa Valley” and it has been missing and missed during the pandemic shutdown. But it’s back, and Charles Krug Winery has been hopping with live music and wine in a partnership with Blue Note Napa.

Blue Note Napa’s “road trip” to Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena features an outdoor stage and seating with full service, food from Tre Posti, and wine from Charles Krug Winery, of course. Using a scan to order QR code is fast and easy, and limits interaction with people outside your bubble, but all the servers wear face coverings anyway.

The eclectic Pink Martini performed recently with guest appearances by the likes of NPR correspondent Ari Shapiro performing with lead singer China Forbes, and singing back-up vocals on several other songs. Turns out Pink Martini pairs really well with Charles Krug’s 2018 Napa Valley Merlot and 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

As wineries move beyond the past year’s hiatus and bring back events at their properties, the Calistoga Winegrowers Association is also rekindling its annual events. The nonprofit trade group’s events were canceled in 2020, and the Calistoga Food and Wine Grand Tasting held annually at Solage Resort and Spa in the spring was postponed, and is now set for Saturday, Aug. 21. The group’s jaunt to the city, Calistoga Wine Experience in San Francisco, is typically held in February, but this year it will be held Saturday, Nov. 6.

The Calistoga Food and Wine Grand Tasting features 36 Calistoga wineries and food prepared by Solage, Johnny’s, Amaro Italian Kitchen and other local restaurants. There will be live music and a silent auction of rare wines and winery experiences.

When Calistoga takes its show on the road to the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio in November it offers an opportunity for city-dwellers to taste Calistoga wine in one location — no need to travel from one tasting room to another. Unlike at other tasting events, wines can be purchased on site.

Tickets for Calistoga’s events are not available to purchase just yet — check in with the group’s website at later – but Blue Note at Charles Krug Winery has concerts scheduled at the winery through September. Visit for the line up and to purchase tickets.

Anne Ward Ernst is a longtime journalist and former editor of The Weekly Calistogan. Contact her at