Using a map of Napa Valley vineyards is a fine way to plot a course through one of the world’s most renowned wine growing regions – and certainly the most influential in the United States.
The Californian region is spread over 45,000+ acres of beautiful, sun kissed countryside carpeted with rolling hills and endless vineyards with a reputation for producing world class Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay to rival its more illustrious European counterparts.There are currently 16 designated AVAs (American Viticulture Areas), which determine wines grown from a specific geographical location or ‘appellation’, that may only contribute 4% to the state’s entire production but more than 50% of bottles costing over $15 are from Napa – testament to quality over quantity.
A typical Napa vineyards map will show the sub-regions and locations of the 450 wineries that are scattered across the county, ranging from large scale producers to small, boutique estates specialising in premium hand-crafted wines.The region is relatively small and can be explored over a few days, although it would take many more to visit all of the wineries in the area. Since the town of Napa is easily accessible from San Francisco, where most international visitors arrive, it is often a starting point for wine tourists.
Wine tourism has transformed the once sleepy town into a prime destination, especially since it has been rejuvenated following the 2014 earthquake – luring visitors with luxury accommodation, fine dining experiences, wine tasting bars and a picturesque riverside. Food enthusiasts should head to Yountville, which is considered the gastronomic centre of the Napa Valley vineyard map – with no less than five restaurants owned by Chef Thomas Keller. Napa has more than 24 restaurants carrying at least one Michelin star, with two restaurants boasting three stars.
The quaint town of St Helena is another opportunity not to be missed if you want to combine premier wine tasting with delicious local cuisine. Its central location makes St Helena an ideal place to explore the surrounding vineyards from, while its 19th century charm will stay in your memories.
At the northern end of the Napa vineyards map, Calistoga carries a similar friendly, small town ambience coupled with sophisticated dining and shopping – while the underground thermal features give rise to natural spring spas that are an idyllic way to unwind after a long day’s wine tastingCalifornia’s Highway 29 runs the length of the map of Napa Valley vineyards, passing through many of the small towns that have established themselves as premier wine growers – while the Silverado Trail on the east side of the Valley offers a scenic, winding drives through vineyards between Napa and Calistoga.
Among the most respected vineyard areas on the Napa Valley vineyard map are: Stag’s Leap, which is associated with the infamous 1976 ‘Judgement of Paris’ that brought Napa to the attention of international audiences; Oakville, another established appellation that is home to high-end producers including Mondavi, Groth and Screaming Eagle; and, Rutherford – where the earthy expressions of outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon are known as ‘Rutherford Dust’. Although most Napa wineries are open all year-round, there are seasonal differences that may influence what time of year you plan to arrive. Summer is undoubtedly the busiest time of year, vineyards are blanketed in beautiful green during Spring, Autumn is harvest season when colours transform to burnt oranges and Winter is when the acclaimed Napa Film Festival takes place (November).
If you are interested in travelling through the Napa vineyards map, contact Wine Paths for more information and inspirational ideas before planning a bespoke trip with our local expert.
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