Linsey Gallagher

Linsey Gallagher is the President and CEO of Visit Napa Valley, the official destination management organization for Napa County. Visit to learn more about opportunities to play tourist in your own backyard.
Bob McClenahan photo

Sustainable travel is key to Napa Valley’s greener future

One positive trend from the past year is a renewed global emphasis on sustainability in travel.

The dramatic environmental changes are seen as a result of stay-at-home orders made people everywhere more committed to continuing to be the best stewards possible for our environment and communities.

Locally, Visit Napa Valley has been working with Napa Green, an independent non-profit, to help establish a green certification for our hospitality businesses similar to that embraced by Napa’s wine industry.

We’ve adopted more eco-friendly practices such as switching to all-digital itineraries at the Napa Valley Welcome Center and highlighting green travel solutions in visitor-facing messaging. In partnership with Napa Valley Vintners, we also support Napa Valley Forward, a solution-oriented program aimed at reducing the number of people driving alone during peak traffic times.

Sustainability isn’t a new concept for Visit Napa Valley and our tourism partners.

Many Napa Valley hotels and resorts have invested in green practices by switching to energy-saving lightbulbs and low-flow showerheads, adopting green housekeeping solutions, recycling single-use guest room amenities, offering menus focused on local ingredients, and composting.

In fact, Napa Valley is home to the world’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified hotel, the Double Tree Hotel and Spa in American Canyon.

Today, Yountville’s Bardessono Hotel and Spa is one of the only Platinum LEED-certified hotels in the U.S., which reflects the highest standard for environmental design. Solage Calistoga is Napa Valley’s first hotel certified through the Bay Area Green Business Program, and Carneros Resort and Spa recently joined the Beyond Green portfolio of hotels.

“We are committed to being responsible stewards of this extraordinary place we get to call home,” says Carneros Resort and Spa Managing Director Edward Costa.

“Our sustainability efforts provide a new way to travel, connecting personal well-being and planetary well-being through nature, culture, and community.”

Innovative and forward-thinking eco-conscious solutions from tourism partners also include practices like those at Calistoga’s Indian Springs Resort and Spa. On-site thermal geysers along with a substantial deposit of pure volcanic ash allows the property to use all-natural elements for mud baths, pools, and more.

At the Napa River Inn, electric car chargers help encourage green travel and have generated an enthusiastic response from road trippers.

“Our guests love the convenience of charging and the ability to use an eco-friendlier form of travel,” says Sara Brooks, general manager.

Speaking of visitors, they also are open to and enthusiastic about doing their part to tread lightly.

Interest in alternative transportation for exploring the valley, such as biking on the Napa Valley Vine Trail or riding the Napa Valley Wine Train, has spiked in recent years. The desire to seek locally sourced experiences and willingness to reduce waste through small changes like using reusable shopping bags and water bottles are other ways visitors support Napa Valley’s vision for sustainability.

It’s uplifting to see so many people and businesses playing a part in moving the needle toward Napa Valley’s long-term sustainability as a world-class wine country destination.

Napa Valley draws visitors for its natural beauty and agrarian lifestyle, and we are committed to preserving, protecting, and enhancing everything that makes our community such a desirable destination and place to live.

Making the commitment to third party certification takes time and effort, but it is worth it to demonstrate our commitment to the community and to protect our watershed, our land and the air we breathe.​

- Susan Boswell, Chateau Boswell Winery