[caption id="attachment_75987" align="alignnone" width="500"] Oracle Team USA enters San Francisco Bay from under the Golden Gate Bridge during recent training. (image credit: Guilain Grenier, Oracle Team USA)[/caption]
NAPA -- With 80 days of world-class sailing races set to begin July 4 on San Francisco Bay, Visit Napa Valley has planned a variety of hospitality experiences for adventurous race fans to enjoy within an hour's drive of the bay.
Napa County is designated as the "official wine region" for the 34th America's Cup. With 5,500 hotel rooms and 150 accommodation providers, Napa's destination marketing professionals see the county as a natural getaway location for racing enthusiasts looking for a change of pace.
"The America's Cup is more than just a San Francisco event," said Clay Gregory, president and CEO of Visit Napa Valley, the official tourism marketing organization for the Napa Valley. "Those coming to the Bay Area typically want to explore other nearby attractions. These races give us an opportunity to showcase our legendary region alongside a world-class sporting venue."
While the America's Cup will be held during at the height of the summer tourist season, when rooms are scarce or at a premium, space is still available -- mostly during the week -- and there are a host of other amenities to draw visitors to the Napa Valley, according to Mr. Gregory.
Napa Valley Vintners (napavintners.com), Visit Napa Valley (visitnapavalley.com) and the 34th America's Cup organizing committee (americascup.com) collaborated in the development of a special website, launched a year ago, to showcase Napa Valley's lodging, wine and cultural offerings for race fans. SailNapaValley.com also features visitor packages, ranging from hotel stays and special wine tastings to port-to-port sailing excursion for 10 from Napa Valley to San Francisco.
[caption id="attachment_76077" align="alignright" width="400"] Piers 27-29 on the San Francisco waterfront were refurbished for the America's Cup festivities. (image credit: Gilles Martin-Raget)[/caption]
In addition, this portal offers visitors chances to win an America's Cup Napa Valley Getaway VIP experience for four during the finals Sept. 7--21. The getaway package includes two nights' lodging, gift certificates for a restaurant and spa, VIP private tours and wine tastings, passes to the di Rosa or the Napa Valley Museum, four America's Cup Village bleacher seats for the Sept. 12 finals and a VIP wine service for four at the Napa Valley Wine Lounge at America's Cup Park on Pier 27--29.
Park will be admission free to the public and will feature race informational programs, large-screen TVs showing live coverage of the race, and offer visitors views of the concert stage, performing artists and the finish line.
"We have been working closely with major America's Cup sponsors and, to drive business to the Napa Valley," Mr. Gregory said. "For example, Louis Vuitton has organized several executive site visits in Napa, and another team sponsor is bringing four different groups to Napa during the summer for a variety of VIP events."
The Napa Valley Wine Lounge at the park will feature a bar made by Gordon Huether and be open 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. on race days. There's also a plan for a Napa Valleypresence in Puma Yard at the park
"It will be a great place to plan an excursion to the Napa Valley and an ideal venue where visitors can come to relax, sip a glass of the region's famous wine and enjoy a day at the races," Mr. Gregory said.