Napa Valley, with its dry Mediterranean climate and some of the diverse soils on earth, has been home to waves of pioneers establishing wineries in Napa Valley. Immigrant Germans and Frenchmen were followed by Italian immigrants in putting down roots and founding wineries in Napa
Today’s winemakers are no longer immigrants, rather celebrities, retired industrialists and other people seeking a second career more in tune with nature.The Valley, as it is known, is endowed with incomparable natural beauty and a climate that helps to ensure vintage-to-vintage consistency, so wineries in Napa Valley, California profit from some of the most favourable conditions in the US.
Boasting over 500 wineries, Napa is the most celebrated wine region in the US. With the Valley’s unique blend of geology, climate, weather and topography, Napa wineries are able to craft some of the world’s most distinctive wines, taking advantage of more than 100 soil variations. Its flagship Cabernet Sauvignon and red blends command increasingly high prices.
Napa Valley stretches in an arc from San Francisco Bay to Mount St Helena, the highest point in Napa county, meaning for anyone choosing here for the location their winery, Napa offers a range of different terroirs with varying influence from the ocean and elevation. Any Napa winery located in the southernmost part of the Valley, close to San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay benefits from cooling breezes from the Pacific Ocean and the fog which rolls in along the river, also helping to mitigate the warm Californian climate. Any winery in Napa situated further up the valley may profit from hillside vineyards and the increased diurnal range in temperature due to increased altitude. Nearly every winery in Napa Valley is therefore able to produce high-quality grapes which maintain their acidity and fresh fruit character, thus producing world-class wines and ensuring the global reputation of Napa Valley wineries.
With its numerous wineries, Napa offers plenty of opportunity for tours. Napa Valley Wineries are generally open to the public, offering tastings and tours of both historic and modern properties. Some organise events and stage art exhibitions among other things. Whatever kind of experience you are seeking, Napa wineries are sure to provide it. Whether quirky, exuberant, imposing, historic, innovative, majestic or prestigious, no Napa Valley winery is the same.
Napa is rightly famous for its bold red Napa Cab in all its incarnation from the cooler regions close to the Pacific Ocean to the warmer regions further up the valley towards Mount St Helena. However, no exploration of the Napa wineries would be complete without tasting some buttery Chardonnay, fruity Merlot or California’s flagship variety Zinfandel, also known in the USA as Zin. With around three dozen varieties planted in the Valley, there is plenty of scope to explore beyond Cabernet Sauvignon.
There are plenty of wineries near Napa itself, but make sure you don’t miss visiting some of the Valley’s key sub-AVAs, such as Yountville, Calistoga, St Helena, Oakville and Rutherford, as well as the delightful towns at their centre, which are also home to numerous wineries. Napa Valley’s charm can also be discovered through its diversity of natural landscapes from the mountainous north, through the fertile river valley and the wetlands preserve close to American Canyon, the gate to the south of the Napa Valley.
Our local wine experts at Wine Paths can help you design your perfect visit to Napa wineries and enable you to discover the best Napa Valley winery for you.
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