Welcomes Chef Gretchen Stoops Luongo
written BY FRAN MILLER | PHOTOS BY MEG SMITH COURTESY OF ST SUPÉRY ESTATE
Located in Napa’s renowned Rutherford region, St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery combines French tradition with Napa Valley terroir, a classic combo that makes for an amazing wine tasting experience. Just as the French emphasize fine cuisine, so too does St. Supéry, and when paired with the winery’s prized, 100% estate grown, certified Napa Green wines, a visit to the grand manse off of Highway 29 becomes more than simply a day within the vineyards; a visit to St. Supéry creates a lifetime memory, grounded in the pleasure of incomparable tastes.
Attribution naturally goes to the St. Supéry winemaking team who create delectable Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and red Bordeaux varietals. And it is Chef Gretchen Stoops Luongo who makes those wines sing with her carefully curated, small bite pairings made with produce from the winery’s on-site culinary garden and Dollarhide Estate Ranch. The 90-minute Taste of the Estate experience, which changes monthly and is offered Tuesday through Saturday, highlights Luongo’s skills as both an Ecole des Arts Culinaires et de l’Hotellerie and Culinary Institute of America graduate. Prior to joining St. Supéry in 2022, she ran a private chef services company in the Bay Area, was the pastry chef at The Resort at Paws Up, and worked as a private chef for a film executive in Los Angeles. She found herself drawn to St. Supéry’s dedication to sustainable farming, winemaking, and business practices, and she is pleased with the freedom afforded her to tailor tastings to guests’ dietary preferences, including vegan and gluten free offerings.
Gretchen echoes the winery’s eco-consciousness with her approach in the kitchen, utilizing the culinary garden and sourcing the best local products for the smallest-possible carbon footprint. She also strives to reduce food waste by using every ingredient to its full extent—including the parts others might throw away—to build complex flavors in her dishes. She believes strongly in the power of food to both nourish and heal, and she brings this sensibility to her “healthy international” style of cooking. Her April Taste of the Estate menu, for instance, will feature modern Scandinavia flavors highlighting sustainably harvested seafood and locally foraged wild garlic, ramps, wild mushrooms, and fiddleheads.
Gretchen, St. Supéry’s Estate Chef feels fortunate to source ingredients directly from the St. Supéry Rutherford property and 1,535-acre high-elevation Dollarhide Ranch. In addition to its 550 acres of grapevines, the properties feature more than 1,200 heirloom fruit trees comprised of 190 varieties including 87 peach, 34 nectarine, 20 apple, 12 plum and 16 pluot. The orchards add to the biodiversity of the property which already features a collection of flora and fauna including ducks, geese, cranes, egrets, jackrabbits, owls, bees, foxes, osprey, otters, bobcats and thousands of largemouth bass. For those looking to bring a little of the St. Supéry magic into their own home with Gretchen’s curated recipes, they are available on the St. Supéry’s website. Accompanying wines are recommended to pair with the recipes.