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Napa Valley Wines

The name is long associated to American vino, Napa Valley is one of the United States’ premier winemaking regions in the nation. The region, which is mostly predominantly dominated by family-owned wineries is a magnet for all kinds of wine lovers, from beginners to collectors. Here’s an overview of the wine-producing region’s history and its best varietals which are best enjoyed by sipping a glass of nothing more that Napa Valley wine.


George Yount first planted grapes in 1839. He was joined by other colonists who introduced Vitis Vinifera into the area. It was in 1861 that Charles Krug established what is believed to be to be the first commercial winery. It also was the pioneer for new companies to follow that still exist today, like Beringer, Inglenook, and Schramsberg.

The wine boom quickly dissolved with a glut of grapes, the emergence of phylloxera, an insect that destroys vineyards vineyards as well as Prohibition nearly destroyed 100 years of work. Fortunately, vintners who were resilient began building Napa Valley once Prohibition was removed.

Although Napa Valley was gaining recognition in the US, it was mostly ignored by the rest of the world. The famed Judgment in Paris — in which Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ Cabernet Sauvignon and Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay overcame French Bordeaux as well as Burgundies in an unblinded tasting rapidly changed the perception as well. Napa Valley cabernets and chardonnarys were put in the spotlight. These distinctive grapes remain a dominant part of the landscape, however future generations of bold winemakers are trying out different varieties and bringing new life to this renowned region.

Napa Valley wine history – Landscaping of the Land

Napa Valley was established as the first Californian AVA in the year 1981. Today, 16 sub AVAs each with its distinctive characteristics, form the greater area. It’s surprising that Napa Valley, with its large personality, is only 30 miles in length and a couple of miles wide. It has just one-sixth of the vineyard acres as Bordeaux.

Take follow the Silverado Trail, constructed in 1852. It connects cities like Napa and Calistoga and wineries shimmer along the vineyard-lined route and you can suffer whiplash if you read the names of famous people you come across throughout the route. To the west from the Silverado Trail runs the St. Helena Highway as well as a major highway that is lined with prestigious wineries like Grgich Hills, Louis M. Martini as well as Opus One. In all, there are over 400 wineries as well as approximately 700 grape growers within Napa Valley.

Being one of the most popular tourist-friendly wine-producing regions around the globe Numerous wineries provide sensory experiences that are multi-sensory in their stunning tasting rooms that appeal to a range of budgets and tastes. No matter if you have a set plan, or take your time and you’ll surely discover something fresh and exciting Be aware that the majority of wineries require advance reservations.

What Drinks to Drink?

Cabernet Sauvignon

According to the old saying, Cabernet is the king in Napa and 50% of Napa’s vineyards are planted with this famous international variety. It is typically produced in a lavish and luxurious style that has flavors of dark brooding fruits, cocoa and leather. Tannins are often prominent, however they soften and are absorbed as the wine matures. The cooler regions, such as Spring Mountain, may produce more leaner versions from this Napa Valley favorite. The last ten years, with the exception of 2011 , with its wet harvest, have yielded incredible cabernet sauvignon vintages.


The phrase “California Chardonnay” refers to a particular type of chardonnay. Malolactic fermentation and oak usage give this wine distinctive and sought-after flavor that is creamy and buttery. In recent years producers have been abstaining from the malo and oak in order to let the terroir as well as the fruit be the main focus. Nowadays, Napa Valley chardonnay runs through the spectrum of styles; the enjoyment is in sifting through the different wineries to discover your favourite.


The grape was a victim when it was criticized in the film Sideways (which was set within Santa Barbara County, not Napa Valley) but it’s experiencing a revival in its the popularity. It is known for its ripe fruits and silky tannins people are discovering how enjoyable this red grape is.

Sauvignon Blanc

The Napa’s “other” white (“other” that is, 6percent of the total plantations as opposed to chardonnay’s 15%) The wine is influenced by the major sauvignon blanc regions like Napa’s Loire Valley and New Zealand However, the fruit is pure Napa. Very aromatic and with excellent minerality, wineries have their own distinctive expressions, from lean and flinty , to large and round.

Pinot Noir

While pinot noir is more closely linked to Sonoma County, vineyards in specific microclimates within Napa Valley have success with this delicate grape. The riper, more dense berry notes and a larger body give Napa pinots different from the ones you’ll encounter in cooler climates, however, they have a distinct personality that is their own.


The third most planted grape variety in California Zinfandel is the third most planted variety in California. It’s just the 3% of Napa’s vineyards. It’s huge, it’s not a big deal, but some of the most outstanding examples are found in Napa vineyards and are well worth looking for.

In addition to these six main varieties, a myriad of other grapes also make their entrance into the landscape of vineyards including gewurztraminer cabernet-franc, and chenin blanc, to mention just a few.

With breathtaking views of the vineyards as well as top-quality wines and a profound spirit of hospitality, it’s not difficult to see how Napa Valley is top of minds for a lot of wine drinkers.