ST. HELENA, CA—A glass a day may keep the doctor away. Wine enthusiasts and researchers have long touted the health benefits of red wine, ranging from lowering mortality rates, protecting against heart disease to anti-aging of skin. As with all things, moderation is the key. At Meadowood Napa Valley, wellness seekers are learning how to have their wine and drink it, too.
Situated on 250 private acres in the heart of wine country, Meadowood’s Wellness & Wine Retreat is a healthy mix of self-care and sips on area wines. Guests of the three- and five-day retreat can learn about biodynamic and organic wines while participating in a range of on-site services—spa, fitness, nutritional coaching and cooking classes.
“Our wellness philosophy is that many things may be enjoyed in moderation,” said Michael Conte, director of spa and wellness at Meadowood Napa Valley. “There is no reason why wine cannot be a part of a healthy lifestyle, so why not incorporate something special by adding another component of biodynamic wines? There is a growing trend of people wanting a health-conscious vacation, and we wanted to make sure we were offering our guest that while staying true to the Napa Valley lifestyle. This offer is something unique that is not the same as other wellness programs.”
Meadowood’s spa has been open since 2015 and this retreat takes things a step further, showcasing the health and wellness services on-property. Passionate about wellness, Conte sought to create something that was unique and fun while still being educational. The program has a strong fitness component thanks to support from Kerry Brackett, the resort’s fitness manager. It also highlights the property and the local wineries.
“Not everyone will work out at the gym five days a week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live a healthy lifestyle. We have an excellent variety of professionals, including a certified nutritional coach, personal trainers and wellness providers that can assist guests with knowledge to help them make small changes to feel better. We believe that taking small steps will help set people up for success to live a healthy life and make smart choices,” he said. “My favorite offer that we have is our eco-fitness where a trainer will do a fitness class in the stunning outdoor surroundings. We have several hiking trails and a meditation labyrinth that we encourage our guests to take advantage of as well. We also offer a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts and croquet lawn to give our guests a wonderful array of activities.”
The average wine drinker may have heard of organic wines, but the term biodynamic takes it to the next level. It goes back to the farming of the grapes and seeing the vineyard as its own ecosystem.
“There is a great amount of detail and work that goes into making these wines from planting during lunar cycles, treating the soil, using natural resources to protect the vines,” he said. “We looked closely at the local biodynamic wineries that we wanted to partner with, and they were all very excited to share their passion with our program. Our guests that have gone through this retreat have all been very impressed with the knowledge they learn about these wineries and their processes.”
American society has been conditioned to overeat and drink, noted Conte. This retreat is about educating guests to recognize and enjoy food and wine without being excessive. The resort’s nutritional coaching plays an integral role in the education portion of the program. In addition, guests of the five-day retreat receive a bottle of Adamvs wine, a biodynamic winery producing a cabernet sauvignon on its 76-acre Howell Mountain estate in Angwin, CA.
“The wine and wellness retreat is an offer that is about learning how to feel good. We are passionate about educating our guests on how to do things that work for them… There is no cookie-cutter routine that will meet everybody’s needs,” he said. “We will help people learn what eating habits will best suit them, what exercises they will most enjoy and be more likely to stick with and, of course, learn how to enjoy the finer things in life while finding a great balance.”