Article by: Fran Miller // Photos Courtesy of Stellareese Collection
Like many successful products and brands, Stellareese Collection originated out of sheer necessity.
As a vintner who regularly transports her wares to events and sales calls, Stellareese founder and Napa Valley native Rachel Stellareese Davies sought a tote that could stand up to the weight and fragility of her also eponymously named wines. Not finding anything ideal, she designed her own bag, and when she proudly posted a photo of her creation on Instagram, she immediately received inquiries. More than 20 of her wine industry colleagues asked where they could purchase their own.
This was in 2017, and since then, the Stellareese line of bags and totes has grown to include luxury and adventure travel bags, classic handbags, and gift sets and accessories. Stellareese Collection is sold online and at a handful of Napa boutiques, such as the spa gift shop at Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley and Oakville Grocery. In addition, she often partners with corporations in creating bespoke bags for events.
Davies also welcomes private shopping appointments in her studio, where customers can survey the entire line. But buyer beware: once smitten, fans often become addicted. She designs every bag, sourcing the highest quality leathers and canvas, and she oversees a close-knit team on construction. Her highly functional styles (lots of pockets and storage options) reflect her adventurous spirit, love of travel, and wine-centric life.
“Stellareese Collection was an accident,” said Davies, proprietor with husband Geoff of Stellareese Wines, a boutique producer of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. (You can find their wine at Napa Valley restaurants such as The French Laundry, Sol Bar, and Meadowood). “It all happened very quickly and very organically in order to fill a need. I simply couldn’t find a functional and beautiful wine tote for my purposes. And during the pandemic, I had the time to dream up the travel line. It’s been incredibly rewarding to channel my favorite things – wine, travel, and fashion – into this one very authentic wine country brand.”
Stellareese Collection wine totes continue to be their best sellers and have become indispensable for those in the wine industry who regularly transport bottles here and there. Designed with a signature bottle pocket interior, fans are finding that these totes have many ideal uses. “My cousin uses hers as a diaper bag,” said Kelly Coudert, partner and buyer at Papa Lou’s Wine & Spirits in Calistoga, where a number of Stellareese styles are stocked. “It’s just a great all-around tote.”
Lisa Johnston is a former Calistoga boutique owner who stocked Stellareese Collection totes and bags. She advised customers to make sure they liked their chosen color and style because of the bags’ durability. “The quality is amazing,” said Johnston, who gives the bags as gifts to friends and family. “And bonus, every time you buy a Stellareese Collection bag, you are supporting a really nice person.”
“Women know that the perfect bag is essential,” said Davies. “My goal is to create that perfect bag.”
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