Considered the top U.S. wine region, Napa Valley’s breath-taking landscape and Mediterranean climate include the towns of Calistoga, Napa, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, and Yountville. Today Napa Valley is second only to Disneyland among the top California travel destinations.
A Bit of Napa Valley History
Not surprisingly, among the Wappo Native Americans, “Napa” meant the land of plenty. The first non-native homesteader was George Calvert Yount a 1836 settler to the region now known as Yountville. Yount was the first to plant vineyards, but in 1861 Charles Krug established the valley’s first commercial winery.
The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, however, was one of the events that put California on the global wine map. The blind tasting of Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays from California and France resulted in California’s vintners topping in each category. Today, Napa Valley is home to nearly 325 wineries that contribute to its world-class reputation among the world’s vintners. Apart from this home of winery, taste of barossa wines is also outclass.
A few notable Napa Valley winery and vineyards that offer tours and tastings follow.
Flora Springs Winery & Vineyard
This 650 acre family-owned vineyard is part of the Oakville, Rutherford, and Carneros Appellations. The winery specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Soliloquy and Trilogy. In the Fall of 2008, they unveiled The Room, described as a tasting bar and caves. Private tours and tastings are available with an advance appointment.
- Sattui Winery
The Italian vintner Vittorio Sattui started making wines in San Francisco in 1885. Dario Sattui, Vittorio’s great grandson, established the Napa Valley vineyard south of St. Helena in the 1970s. Red wines include Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, and Cabernet. White wines include Chardonnay, Rieslings, and Sauvignon Blanc.
The vineyard has a gourmet delicatessen that provides visitors the option of enjoying their wine with a wide variety of cheeses, meats, salads, and desserts. Membership in the Private Cellar Club gives you access to the underground Cellar Club that includes private tours and complimentary guest tastings.
The William Hill Estate Winery
Nestled atop of the Silverado Bench, south of Stags Leap Apellation in southern Napa Valley, The William Hill Estate winery specializes in the Bordeaux grape varieties. The Estate is known for its Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. An exquisite fountain area with shaded gazebo beacons its visitors to linger, savor, and picnic. The tasting room is available by appointment only and is located off of the Silverado Trail, five minutes from Highway 29.
The history, culture and vineyards of Napa Valley’s wine country is an American treasure. All of the winery and vineyards listed here have websites that provide information about their tours and tastings. A number of fine Napa Valley wine travel tours are readily available and can be found through a cursory search on the internet.