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The Inside Scoop on Napa Valley and its Wines

Long associated to American wines, 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 draws all types of drinkers from beginners to collectors. This is a brief overview of this wine region with a long history and its best varietals which are best enjoyed with a glass of no less then Napa Valley wine.

Napa wine history

George Yount first planted grapes in 1839. He was later followed by other new settlers, who brought Vitis Vinifera into the area. The year 1861 was when Charles Krug established what is believed to be to be the first commercial winery. He also was the pioneer for subsequent companies 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 and Prohibition nearly destroyed 100 years of work. Fortunately, the resilient winemakers started building Napa Valley once Prohibition was removed.

When Napa Valley was gaining recognition nationally, it was ignored by the rest of the world. The famed Judgment of Paris — in which Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ Cabernet Sauvignon and Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay defeated French Bordeaux as well as Burgundies in an unblinded tasting rapidly changed the perception in turn, Napa Valley cabernets and chardonnarys were put in the spotlight. These iconic grapes continue to dominate the landscape, however future generations of bold winemakers are trying out various varieties, and bringing new life to this renowned region.

Landscaping of the Land

Napa Valley was established as the first Californian AVA in the year 1981. Today, 16 sub AVAs each with their distinct characteristics, make up the entire area. Amazingly, Napa Valley, with its exaggerated personality, is just 30 miles in length and a couple of miles wide. It has just one-sixth of the vineyard acres as Bordeaux.

Take your way along the Silverado Trail, constructed in 1852. It links cities like Napa and Calistoga and wineries shimmer along the vineyard-lined route and you may suffer whiplash if you read the names of famous people that you encounter 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 more than 400 wineries and around 700 grape growers in Napa Valley.

Being one of the most popular wine-producing regions around the globe Numerous wineries provide multi-sensory experiences within their gorgeous tasting rooms, catering to a range of budgets and tastes. If you decide to follow a strict schedule, or simply go with your gut You’re bound to find some new and interesting things however, keep in mind that the majority of wineries require advance reservations.

What Drinks to Drink?

Cabernet Sauvignon

The saying goes that Cabernet is the king in Napa 50 percent of Napa’s vineyards are planted with the most sought-after international variety. It is typically produced in a lavish and luxurious style and has flavors of deep brooding fruits, cocoa and leather. Tannins are often prominent, however they soften and are absorbed when the wine gets older. cooler sites, like Spring Mountain, may produce more leaner versions from this Napa Valley favorite. The last ten years, with the exception of the year 2011 and its rainy harvest, have yielded incredible cabernet sauvignon vintages.


The expression “California Chardonnay” is a reference to a specific type of chardonnay. Malolactic fermentation and oak usage give the wine distinctive and well-known sweet and creamy tastes. In recent times producers have been abstaining from the malo and oak in order to let the terroir as well as the fruit be the main focus. In the present, Napa Valley chardonnay runs all over the place in style. the enjoyment is in sifting through the different wineries to discover your favourite.


This wine was hit following its slur in the film Sideways (which was set at Santa Barbara County, not Napa Valley) but it’s experiencing a revival in its the popularity. The grape is known for its rich grapes and smooth tannins, people are discovering how enjoyable this red grape is.

Sauvignon Blanc

“other” white from Napa “other” white (“other” that is, 6percent of the total plantations as opposed to chardonnay’s 15%) This wine draws inspiration from significant sauvignon blanc regions like those in the Loire Valley and New Zealand However, the fruit is pure Napa. Very aromatic and with good minerality, wineries discover their own distinctive expressions, from lean and flinty , to large and round.

Pinot Noir

While pinot noir is more closely connected to Sonoma County, vineyards in specific microclimates of Napa Valley have success with this delicate grape. Ripeer, more dense berry flavors and a more full-bodied body give Napa pinots different from the ones you’ll discover in cooler climates however, they have a distinct personality that is their own.


The third-highest planted variety in California Zinfandel makes up just 3percent of Napa’s plantations. It’s huge, it’s not a big deal, but some of the finest examples are from Napa vineyards, and are worth looking for.

In addition to these six main varieties, a myriad of other varieties make their place in the landscape of vineyards including gewurztraminer cabernet-franc, and chenin blanc, to mention some.

With stunning views of the vineyard with top-quality wines and a profound spirit of hospitality, it’s not difficult to see how Napa Valley is top of the list of wine lovers.