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Napa Valley

Listed under Wine Regions in US West Coast, United States.

  • Photo of Napa Valley
  • Photo of Napa Valley
  • Photo of Napa Valley
Photo of Napa Valley
Photo by flickr user jimg944
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A short drive from San Francisco, the Napa Valley has become the obvious choice for wine lovers visiting the US. There are more than 300 wineries in the region, drawn to the Mediterranean climate, huge variety of soil and now the regions reputation. But a lot of the soil isn’t well enough irrigated to produce really great wines and because the region encompasses such a large area, it is difficult for many visitors to make great discoveries here. Some of the top wine makers are pushing to sub divide the region further, but generally speaking a lot of the good wines now come from the more elevated vineyards edging up the foothill of the mountains and around the mouth of the river. It’s also becoming very touristy, so tastings at some of the well known producers can feel a bit like a production line. Many of the smaller or boutique wineries give tours and tastings only by appointment, so if you book ahead you can avoid the crowds and have a more unique Napa Valley experience. Many wineries here will also charge a tasting fee (between approx. $5 and $10 American.).

Historically prohibition was a bit of an issue for American wineries, but the Napa Valley was ready and waiting when interest began to grow in American wines. The first successful wines off the block were the red varieties, but Napa is now best known for it’s whites. When the vines were replanted post-prohibition better care was taken to match the soil and conditions to the variety of grapes, the result being that Cabernet Sauvignon grapes prevail all over, Pinot Noir and Chardonnays for both still and sparking wines are grown in the south and Zinfandel in the north.

Some of the wineries here date from the late 1800’s and are built in graceful homestead styles: some of the best architecturally are Turnbull, Hess Collection and Sterling, while some of the newer wineries are all science and function, poking silvery out of the landscape.

Luxury spas, hotel, boutiques and restaurants have sprung up to supply the growth in popularity of the Napa as a tourist destination and the increasing wealth of the region. There are many different ways to experience the Napa Valley, from horseback, hot air balloon, bicycle, limousine or even glass roofed train.

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Written by  Kat Mackintosh.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

wine tasting

hi,

iam going tis year 3 weeks to the west coast

any nice suggestion for a ( medium budget) place to stay and enjoy a wine tasting?

thank you

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