Napa Valley Uncorks New Welcome Center In Downtown Napa

NAPA VALLEY, Calif. (April 4, 2011) – America’s premier wine, food, arts and wellness capital opened its new Napa Valley Welcome Center on Saturday, April 2. Located at 600 Main Street, along the Riverfront in Downtown Napa, the 2,400-square-foot Center provides the perfect starting point for new and returning guests of the Napa Valley.

The official source for destination information, the new Welcome Center uses a mix of high-tech and traditional resources to provide guests with an introduction to the Napa Valley touring experience by artfully combining the gracious hospitality for which the area is known along with easy access to fun and interactive digital information tools.

“We want the new Napa Valley Welcome Center to be a place that accurately reflects the guest experience here, so it needs to be engaging and enjoyable.  And we want it to be a resource for the local community as well,” said Clay Gregory, president and CEO of the Napa Valley Destination Council.

“I think we’ve struck a great balance between tradition and innovation,” Gregory continued.  “Our volunteer Napa Valley Ambassador team will continue to be the foundation of the Center, connecting one-on-one with guests to share the most relevant information and recommendations to satisfy our visitors’ needs.  Guests will also have a number of other ways to access information that will enhance their time in our area, including a station equipped with iPads uploaded with our award-winning Visit Napa Valley™ Mobile Application.”

The Visit Napa Valley™ Mobile App is an information-rich tool that is GPS-enabled and allows guests to easily sort and pinpoint celebrated wineries, stellar restaurants, world-class hotels and spas, a calendar of events, and dozens of other exciting activities and attractions in this legendary destination. The App also provides access to GPS-based maps and directions, weather reports, local news, special offers from area businesses, and more. Now available for all smartphones, visitors can also easily download the free Visit Napa Valley™ Mobile App to use throughout their stay.

Three “feature” components in the Center will be educational and convey the essence of the Napa Valley:

  • Along two walls, 16-foot montages of photographs of The Valley portray its natural beauty and give a sense of the individual personalities of the towns and activities that are waiting to be experienced.   Most of the photographs are by former National Geographic photographer Charles O’Rear, who is a local resident and has authored several books celebrating the Napa Valley’s magnificence in images.
  • A large three-dimensional topographical map of The Napa Valley, scheduled for installation in early May, will provide a centerpiece and focal point as guests enter.  The map will include interesting information about the geology and climatic influences that make The Napa Valley a world-class place to grow wine grapes.
  • A large appellation map will illustrate the diversity of the wine growing regions of The Napa Valley, anchoring a prominent space above a lounge area where guests can relax and enjoy free wireless Internet.

Additional features of the new Welcome Center include:

  • A concierge desk with a specialist in The Napa Valley’s broad variety of lodging, restaurant and activity choices to help guests make bookings.
  • Two large flat screen televisions that showcase images and videos of The Napa Valley’s spectacular natural beauty as well as regional activities and attractions.
  • The Napa Valley Mercantile Shop featuring artisanal products that are grown and/or crafted locally.

Standard rack cards and brochures will also be available, but ultimately the hi-tech center plans to move toward print-on-demand pieces, and eventually “bump” information transfers and QR codes so that guests can read and capture destination information in an eco-friendly way on their mobile devices.

The Napa Valley Welcome Center was designed by Kimberly Nunn and Dan Worden of Shopworks with a keen focus on supporting the Napa Valley’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Reclaimed barn wood lines two walls and recycled wine barrels are stacked to create a back wall in a nod to the Napa Valley’s most famous pleasure. The ceiling was made entirely of a compressed organic material that resembles dried hay and offers excellent acoustic qualities that support small group conversations.

For more information about the new Napa Valley Welcome Center visit http://www.LegendaryNapaValley.com or call the Center at 707-260-0106.

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About Legendary Napa Valley

The Napa Valley is home to the founders of America’s fine wine industry – legendary entrepreneurs who showed the world that the art of winemaking had crossed continents – and is prized for its natural beauty, phenomenal culinary scene, world-class hotel accommodations, robust arts community, and one-of-a-kind wellness experiences including the region’s famed spas, mud baths and healing geo-thermal springs. The area was voted the World’s #1 Food & Wine Destination in the 2010 TripAdvisor® Travelers’ Choice® Awards, and is internationally recognized as one of only nine “Great Wine Capitals.”