Words by Kimatni D Rawlins
Breathe deep, people. Smell that? It’s the aroma of life! Life in Napa Valley, to be precise. The romantic destination is ripe with activities that stimulate the senses while creating idyllic memories between you and the friends or lovers chosen on this passionate journey. Therefore, it’s time for a Napa Valley escape to free the mind, body, and spirit. And what better way to do so than with the all-new 2022 INFINITI QX60 AUTOGRAPH luxury SUV ($63,250) for escorts around town in style and with grace.
Traveling is a passion that brings out untapped euphoric energy while cultivating life everlasting moments in time. Hence, it’s been over five years since I last visited Napa Valley, one of the world’s foremost wine regions. Well-known for its esteemed Cabernet Sauvignon, visiting Wine Country is the perfect excuse to hit the road and enjoy activities that enliven. I started my journey in Washington, DC, and flew to SFO, about a 90-minute drive to the quaint but palatial Alila Napa Valley resort where we laid our heads. Yet, I would prefer to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway from LA or Santa Barbara with another couple or two since the new QX60 allows you to conquer life in style with its contemporary Japanese styling. Amenities include haptic touch navigation from the INFINITI InTouch 12.3” interactive display, Bose Performance 17-speaker audio system, massaging and zero gravity seats, a 10.8″ Head-Up Display, wireless charging, Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless Apple CarPlay, and 7 USB ports.
“The all-new 2022 INFINITI QX60 was designed with busy lives — friends, family, community — in mind,” said INFINITI Global Head of Product Strategy Eric Rigaux. “We focused on creating a serene environment inside that’s beautiful and practical, packed with new INFINITI IQ technology. In so many ways, the all-new QX60 is not just spacious, but stunning, and smart.”
Yes, the new QX60 is stunning and far exceeds the status quo of what a modern SUV should provide in terms of intuitive tech, serene comfort, and a sleek modern design. It’s human; it’s daring, and it’s forward-thinking. Similar to the attributes of the Alila, which also incorporates Japanese philosophies such as balancing wood with stone and augmenting natural environments with earthy tones. Instead of picture frames to gaze, your artsy view from the patio is an actual vineyard. Imagine each morning waking up to such purifying beauty. My first-floor wraparound terrace also featured a fire pit and two lounge benches. The rooms were reimagined to spark energy and engage. Originated by distinguished design team Yabu Pushelberg, the property was built around a grand Georgian-style guesthouse initially constructed in 1907 that now houses six of its 68 rooms and the Acacia House restaurant.
After settling in, take a stroll into the old town of St. Helena to pick up charming gifts, visit art galleries, and of course order a delightful veggie meal since you will be depleted from traveling. The Japanese were born to defy convention, from the vehicles they engineer to the towering buildings they build to the calm energy manifested from daily meditation. Interestingly enough, this formula has been amalgamated into the QX60. So on the drive into town, gaze out of the large panoramic sunroof at the mountains in the mist, relax in the quilted Semi-Aniline, diamond-stitched, leather-appointed seats including the second-row captain chairs, and revel in the energetic 295-horsepower from INFINITI’s 3.5-liter V6 and silky smooth 9-speed automatic transmission. An upgraded suspension and steering additionally entice your every driving move. INFINITI Intelligent AWD with 50/50 torque split, a 5-mode Drive Selector, and Hill Start Assist are at your disposal in casa Napa weather turns for the worst. And for those trailering motorcycles, they will be pleased with the QX60’s up to 6,000-pound towing capacity.
Everyone knows I’m a mad hatter; thus, I was ecstatic to see bespoke fedora maker Nicholson Hat Co. on deck at the launch of the 2022 INFINITI QX60. I selected a white/blue ribboned piece to flow with my Grand Blue QX60 featuring chrome underbody trimming, chrome rocker panels, 20″ aluminum-alloy wheels, and chrome surround on the QX60’s double-arched grille with wired mesh inspired by the elaborate folds of Japanese origami. However, I am not fond of the two chrome pieces near the exhaust tips in the rear. Nevertheless, stylish attire, innovation from Japan, and tranquil settings with friends equate to good living.
Afterward, return to the Alila to relax by the pool or adore your room while researching which of the 400 wineries you will experience over the next few days. Your intimate dwelling is blessed with bespoke Italian furnishings, lavish linens, spa-like bathrooms, automated controls, and high-tech amenities to provide convenience through touch commands. Or, you can hop aboard the vintage Napa Valley Wine Train to sip and dine while taking in the scenic landscape. Another idea is to book a vineyard bicycle tour to incorporate daily exercise and outdoor adventure during your Napa excursion. I took the extra step of working out at the property’s prestigious 24-hour fitness center located adjacent to the dignified Beringer Estate, where we would sit the following evening for an immaculate outside dinner. At the same time, the majestic Redwood trees graced us with their ancient presence. You could also head out for morning runs with châteaus and mountains as your backdrop.
For the next two days we settled on a few popular destinations for excitement and fulfillment. The scenic shoreline of Goat Rock Beach near the mouth of the Russian River in the Sonoma Coast State Park allowed us to live free by the sea outside of Napa Valley. It gets chilly in the morning; accordingly, we blasted the Advanced Climate Control System and took in the environmental sounds and vistas while snacking on healthy bites. This area is full of tourists, so Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW) comes in handy when following a caravan. A sudden sighting of harbor seals could be distractive and quickly cause a fender bender. PFCW sees two cars ahead and can prepare the QX60 for any unexpected road mishaps and appropriately apply brakes.
Next up was an extended drive and subsequent layover at the McEvoy Ranch in Petaluma, CA, a small, family-owned working farm known for the world’s best organic, estate-produced, Extra Virgin olive oil. We were given a guided tour on how their oils are made from scratch and of course, various tastings. Suffice to say, everyone left with more than a few bottles of organic lemon olive oil. McEvoy also curates skin products that my wife Misa fell in love with from the Lavender Collection to the Herbal Kitchen Collection. Lunch by the water summed up our busy day. For additional activities, you can also visit an array of local farmers markets to supply your room with fresh foods or participate in a cooking demo at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.
Heading back was a two-hour drive which was the perfect time to employ the QX60’s ProPilot Assist. The system incorporates Steering Assist, Speed Limit Assist, Speed Adjust by Route, and Intelligent Cruise Control to help ease the exhaustion from driving long distances. What an exciting time in Napa Valley we had. The goal now is to make this an annual travel destination. Live the life you love and love the life you live people. Enjoy the gallery!