The Legacy of Sally & Don Schmitt – Yountville History

The Legacy of Sally & Don Schmitt will be held Thursday, June 30 at 5:30 PM in the Yountville Community Center.  It will be an evening designed to bring the communities of family, friends, chefs, and residents together to honor the history, spirit, and culinary contributions that Sally & Don Schmitt made to Yountville and the Napa Valley. Presented by Yountville Arts, the event promises to be an entertaining and informative evening. 

 The Schmitt Family moved from Fresno to Yountville in 1967; Don took the job of re-imagining the old Grossinger Estate Winery. Their influence began when Don opened the Vintage 1870 shopping arcade, and Sally created the Vintage Café and, shortly after, the Chutney Kitchen. Sally quickly became known for her farm-to-table cooking style. In 1974 the couple left Vintage 1870 and the restaurants and moved down Washington Street to a run-down old building, historically known as The French Laundry. With the help of the entire Schmitt family, The French Laundry restaurant opened in 1978 with Sally in the kitchen and Don at the front of the house, welcoming guests and assisting with wine choices.

 Even as their business enterprises took flight, Don became more interested in the future of the Town of Yountville. By 1976 Don had served on the Town Council for thirteen years, four of which were as Mayor. He labored to preserve the Town’s rural charm while setting the stage for businesses to flourish.

 The stories and experiences of our community members spawned by knowing Sally & Don are the focus of The Legacy of Sally and Don Schmitt. Writer Lori Narlock will serve as Moderator to a prestigious panel consisting of Byron Hoffman, grandson of Sally and Don and art director of Sally’s new book Six California Kitchens; Chef and Cookbook Author Cindy Pawlcyn; Yountville business person George Rothwell; Retired Chef Janet Blicker; and Janet Trefethen Co-Founder and Proprietor of Trefethen Family Vineyards. The program will be an Open-Mic for the community to share their individual experiences of Sally and Don.

Small bites prepared from Sally’s recipes will be served with wine after the program, ensuring a great time for more shared stories about the Schmitts. Napa Bookmine will be onsite offering copies of Six California Kitchens for sale.

Pre-sale tickets for the evening are $20 per person. Any remaining tickets will be $25 at the door. With limited room capacity, the event may sell out. Purchase today at,  Doors open at 5:30 PM for seating, and the program begins promptly at 6 PM at the Yountville Community Center – Heritage Room, 6516 Washington Street.

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