16 Spectacular Reasons to Visit the Napa Valley

English: Vineyards in Napa Valley

English: Vineyards in Napa Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Robert Mondavi Winery, Napa Valley, California

Robert Mondavi Winery, Napa Valley, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

California wine producer Robert Mondavi Winery...

California wine producer Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Napa Valley

Napa Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Robert Mondavi Winery, Napa

English: Robert Mondavi Winery, Napa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rutherford Hill Winery, Napa Valley, California

Rutherford Hill Winery, Napa Valley, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Napa Cellars Winery

Napa Cellars Winery (Photo credit: Jason DeRusha)

English: Napa Valley Opus One Photo D Ramey Logan

English: Napa Valley Opus One Photo D Ramey Logan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Vineyard in Napa Valley

English: Vineyard in Napa Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“New data from Wines & Vines magazine confirm solid growth in the North American wine industry during 2013. The number of wineries grew to 8,391, a gain of 4.3%. U.S. wineries showed two other signs of health as their combined production increased 6.3% and the winery average bottle price rose from $9 to $10.85.

The United States now has 7,762 wineries, led by California with 3,674. Canada has 568 wineries, having gained more than 8%. The net change in North American wineries was 345.

Bonded wineries have their own brick-and-mortar production sites, while virtual wineries have brand names and produce wine at host facilities.”

The first residents of the Napa Valley were the Wappo Indians. In 1854, J. Henry Still purchased 126 acres from the Bale Family. Soon businesses starting popping up around the intersections on Pope, Main and Spring Steets in St. Helena. By the Civil War, several wineries were open for business. Prohibition decimated the wine industry between 1920-1932.

Today, there are more than 450 wine producers in the Napa Valley with 16 sub-appellations where you can pamper your wine-loving inner foodie! Walk in the footsteps of Napa’s legendary wine pioneers as you tour the production facilities and visit the tasting rooms.

Famous Napa Valley Sign

NAPA 2012
NAPA 2012 (Photo credit: cdorobek)

Read more at: http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=news&content=127266 Copyright © Wines & Vines

Napa Valley and Sonoma County are wine regions in California with plenty of Vino con Vista wine tourism opportunities. There are more than 450 wineries in Napa Valley. Visit the Vitner’s Hall of Fame in the Barrel Room of the Culinary Institute in St. Helena to learn about the legendary vintners of Napa. Robert Mondavi was inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintner’s Hall of Fame in 2007.

English: Napa Valley Opus One If used outside ...
English: Napa Valley Opus One If used outside of Wikipedia please credit Photographer: D Ramey Logan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Vineyard in Napa Valley
English: Vineyard in Napa Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the world of wine, matching grapes with microclimates and soils is the key to effective business practices. This has enabled Napa Valley wineries to obtain pre-eminent status in the league of outstanding wine-producing regions in the world.

In addition, grapes always grow in the most beautiful places. The grape-growing locations provide plenty of incredible Vino con Vista touring and tasting opportunities for travel and wine tourism enthusiasts. World-class wine regions have a plethora of fabulous restaurants. Two of the three-star Michelin Restaurants are in the Napa Valley; Yountville’s French Laundry and St. Helena’s The Restaurant at Meadowood. “The Wine List at Meadowood is the most comprehensive collection of Napa Valley Wines in the Valley.”

Napa Cellars Winery
Napa Cellars Winery (Photo credit: Jason DeRusha)

Napa’s wineries have plenty of Tasting Rooms in 30 miles. Take Highway 29 in one direction and return on the Silverado Trail.

English: Napa Valley OpusVines Photo D Ramey L...
English: Napa Valley OpusVines Photo D Ramey Logan If used outside of Wikipedia please PUBLISH the credit as: Photographer: D Ramey Logan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cellar at Rubicon
Cellar at Rubicon (Photo credit: K. Todd Storch)

Watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faJXSEV3CsU&feature=share&list=UUmEEAs7e-TiVN0efAthHw-Q

English: Autumn in Napa Valley
English: Autumn in Napa Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think autumn is the most beautiful time of year in the Napa Valley; the vines are converted into golden, russet and burgundy hues. The weather is perfect!

There are 16 spectacular reasons to visit the Napa Valley. They are called subappellations or AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) with distinct microclimates and terrain.

The Wine Cellar at Hess Winery
The Wine Cellar at Hess Winery (Photo credit: don j schulte @ oxherder arts)

There are magical luxury hotels and resorts with many fine dining opportunities along the way including:

www.meadowwood.com

www.Bardessono.com

www.napariverinn.com

www.ranchocaymus.com

www.napavalleylodge.com

English: Vineyards in Napa Valley. Français : ...
English: Vineyards in Napa Valley. Français : Vignobles de la Napa Valley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Approximate location of the Carneros AVA (red ...
Approximate location of the Carneros AVA (red box) in relation to San Pablo Bay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Napa Valley
Napa Valley (Photo credit: Sarah_Ackerman)

Napa Valley is an appellation and it received its own AVA designation in 1981. It is California’s first recognized AVA and the second in the United States. Within the Napa Valley appellation, there are 16 subappellations, including: Atlas Peak, Calistoga, Chiles Valley District, Coombsville, Diamond Mountain District, Howell Mountain, Los Carneros, Mt. Veeder, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Spring Mountain District, Stags Leap District, Yountville and Wild Horse Valley.

Cabernet grapes growing in the vineyards of th...
Cabernet grapes growing in the vineyards of the Napa Valley winery of Opus One. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are plenty of outstanding wineries with tasting rooms in the Napa Valley. Some tasting rooms require reservations so call in advance or check the websites. Most tasting rooms charge for a certain number of pours and offer various tasting categories. If you join their wine clubs, you can get free tastings. If you want a great tasting room experience with a nice variety of legendary Cabernet Sauvignon, you may want to vist the following wineries:

Tudal Winery

*Tudal Family Winery at 1015 Big Tree Road in St. Helena has a lovely outdoor space where you can get an interesting winery tour and enjoy a fantastic tasting with the wine maker.

*Visit the Corison Winery at 987 St. Helena Hwy in St. Helena to taste the magic of Napa’s premier female winemaker, Cathy Corison.

*Merryvale at 1000 Main Street in St. Helena was previously called Sunny St. Helena Wines and was involved in a strategic alliance with Mondavi.

*Check out the Smith-Madrone Winery on Spring Mountain Road. Stuart and Charles Smith conduct the tours and the tastings. They have been in business for 43 years. Try the outstanding 2010 Cook’s Flat Reserve from the Spring Mountain appellation where all the wines are estate grown and estate bottled. http://www.cooksflatreserve.com

*I also like Mike Grgich’s Grigich Hills Estate at 1829 St. Helena Hwy in Rutherford www.grgich.com

*Visit the Sterling Vineyards at 1111 Dunaweal Lane in Calistoga and travel to the tasting room via ski lift. This is an outstanding Vino con Vista opportunity!!!

Sterling has the best winery tour in Napa!

http://www.sterlingvineyards.com

*Go to Chateau Montelena at 1429 Tubbs Ln. in Calistoga. They won the “Judgement of Paris” for Mike Grgich’s Chardonnay. Visit the beautiful gazebo and tranquill Jade Lake on the property.

*Your trip will not be complete without visiting Silver Oak Cellars at 915 Oakville Crossroad in Oakville. http://www.silveroak.com

*I also love to vist the Castello di Amorosa at 4045 North St. Helena Hwy with a drawbridge and moat. This re-creation of 14th century Tuscany castle reflects the passion of vintner Dario Sattui. There a many shopping opportunities in the retail wing of the winery. http://www.castellodiamorosa.com

*If you want to try a biodynamic wine, visit the Hawk and Horse Vineyards at 13048 Hwy.29 where Mitch and Tracey Hawkins specialize in estate-grown Cabernet and Latigo (port) in the Red Hills AVA of Lake County. Their ranch houses a small herd of Scottish Highland cattle. www.HawkandHorseVineyards.com

*For an outstanding Vino con Vista, check out the pool at Arger-Martucci winery in St. Helena at 1455 Inglewood Ave.

Tudal Wine maker was very informative!
I loved the Estate-Bottled  Tudal Wine from St. Helena!

In Napa, there are distict growing regions that have been granted AVA (American Viticultural Area) or Appellations that reflect distinct micro climates. There is one appellation (The Napa Valley) and 16 sub-appellations. The following summary of the sub-appellations is from the Wine Growers Association website:

Award winning wines at Arger-Martucci in St. Helena
Arger-Martucci Pool in St. Helena

My favorite Napa Map

The Atlas Peak AVA

The California wine region of Atlas Peak in th...
The California wine region of Atlas Peak in the Napa Valley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Vineyards in the California wine region of Atl...
Vineyards in the California wine region of Atlas Peak in the Napa Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Climate: Cool, mountain-influenced, with temperatures about 10 to 15°F cooler than the Valley floor in summer. Above the fog line, there is a low diurnal change, with summer temperatures rarely above 90°F (32.2°C). Elevation: 760 to 2600 ft (231m to 792m). Rainfall: 38 inches (96cm) annually. Soils: Volcanic in origin, with basaltic red color, shallow with limited water retention, so irrigation is often essential.”

High elevation translates into little fog and extra time in the sun for the vines. Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon: Bright berry and cherry fruit, and more acidity than wines from Stags Leap District. Chardonnay: Crisp, floral, aromatic, with distinctive pear-mineral flavors and bright acidity. Sangiovese also does well here.

The Calistoga AVA has a myriad of interesting wineries. You can even visit the Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga.

Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga

California - Calistoga: Schramsberg Vineyard
California – Calistoga: Schramsberg Vineyard
Jade Lake
Jade Lake at Chateau Montelena in Calistoga
Chateau Montelena in Calistoga
Chateau Montelena in Calistoga
Barrels in front of Chateau Montelena in Calistoga
California vineyard in Calistoga, Napa Valley
California vineyard in Calistoga, Napa Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sterling Vineyards in Calistoga
Sterling’s Terrace; take the ski lift to this panoramic view of Napa!

Climate: Warm to hot, “Depending upon time of year; lower humidity; summer temperatures peak to 90°F (32.2°C) and fall to low 50s°F (11°C), the result of marine air from the northwest; cool afternoon and evening breezes Elevation: 300 to 1200 ft (92 to 370m) Rainfall: 38 to 60 inches (96.5 to 150cm) annually Soils: Almost completely of volcanic origin, soils range from rocky, stony loam on the hillsides, to gravelly or cobbly loams on the alluvial fans, to heavier clay-silt soils in the valley center areas.”

The high day time temperatures cool significntly at night.

Principal varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah.

The Chiles Valley District AVA

“Climate: Fairly warmer summer days (mid-80°F plus/28.8 to 31°C), but due to higher elevation and summer fog at night, quite chilly at night (below 50°F/10°C). With colder winters and spring, as well as strong winds, harvest comes later than on valley floor at Oakville. Elevation: 800 to 1300 ft. (242 to 394m). Rainfall: 35 inches (88cm) annually. Soils: On the valley floor, primarily alluvial soils with silty-clay composition of marine origin, with good fertility. Hillsides show more clay-loam and stony-clay composition, mostly marine in origin, with some volcanic outcropping, and less fertility.”

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc: Cabernets usually reveal a lush yet firm texture with good acidity, firm tannin and distinctive cherry-blackberry flavors. Merlot typically has vibrant black cherry flavors mixed with a touch of cocoa. This area is inland where the hotter weather ripens the fruit faster and produces higher alcohol.

Coombsville is the newest AVA

“Climate: Temperate climate moderated by near-proximity to the San Francisco Bay and the influences of marine air Elevation: Most vineyards are in the 100-500 foot (30-150 m) zone, though a small portion tops 1000 feet (300 m) Rainfall:  Average rainfall is 24.6 inches (62 cm) per year over the last 100 years Soils: Primarily weathered volcanic rock and alluvial deposits from the Vaca Range that surrounds the region.”

Principal varieties: Dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon on the hillsides with Merlot, Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir in the lower, cooler sites

The Diamond Mountain District AVA

The California wine region Diamond Mountain Di...
The California wine region Diamond Mountain District AVA in Napa Valley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Climate: Moderately warm temperatures with lower maximum temperatures and higher minimum temperatures than north Napa Valley floor, due to topography and altitude. Significantly cooler than valley floor near Calistoga, 50 to 95°F in growing season (10 to 32°C). Elevation: 400 to 2200 ft. (130 to 530m) Rainfall: 40 to 55 inches (135cm) annually. Soils: Residual uplifted soils of volcanic origin, often reddish and very fine-grained, even gritty in texture, composed of both weathered sedimentary and volcanic origin. No fog in this rocky area.”

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc: firmly structured, rich and fairly tannic when young, with strong blackcurrant, mineral, and cedary flavors. Less supple and fleshy than valley or benchland wines, with good aging potential. Chardonnay: Full-bodied, yet revealing mineral, green apple-peach aromas with fairly firm acidity; less richly textured than valley floor wines.

The Howell Mountain AVA

Climate: Similar to the facing Spring Mountain AVA, however slightly warmer and dryer overall due to strong afternoon sun influence. Fairly cool nights in both ranges and higher elevations help maintain good acidity. Elevation: 600 to 2200 ft (184 to 675m). Rainfall: 40 to 50 inches (125cm) annually. Soils: Predominantly volcanic, shallow and infertile. Drainage is high, fertility low. The rocky soil doesn’t hold water so the vines must grow extra deep roots.”

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel: Powerful, firm, blackberry-currant flavors and often richly tannic, with excellent acidity for aging. Chardonnay, Viognier: Sinewy, firm and not as fruity as those of the valley floor, revealing more citrus and stone fruit flavors.

Los Carneros AVA will present some outstanding Pinot Noir tasting opportunities!

Visit Etude, Acacia and Cline on your way to San Francisco..

“Climate: Cool, with prevailing marine winds from the San Pablo Bay and through the Petaluma Gap to the west. High temperatures during summer rarely exceed 80°F (27°C) with less diurnal range variation. Elevation: 15 to 400 ft. (4.6 to124 m) Rainfall: Lowest in Napa Valley: 18 to 24 inches (7.2 to 9.6cm) annually. Soils: Clay dominated, very shallow in general, with more loam and hillside alluvials in the northern section. Yields typically are restrained by the hard claypan subsoil, which prevents deep-rooting.”

Principal varieties & characteristics: Chardonnay: minerally pear-apple and spice flavors. Merlot: sinewy and lightly herbal, with fine tannins and sleek structure. Pinot Noir: ripe cherry-cinnamon spice flavors with earthy notes.”

Mount Veeder AVA is the home of the The Hess Collection Winery where they still lease some land from the Christian Brothers. Take time to visit  The Mount Vedeer Winery. Visit the Hess Collection Tasting room at 4411 Redwood Road in Napa.

English: Napa valley vineyard Français : Vigno...
English: Napa valley vineyard Français : Vignoble de Napa Valley, Comté de Napa, Californie, États-Unis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Climate: Cool to moderate, with most vineyards above the fog-line, meaning warmer nights and cooler days and less diurnal range than the valley floor. Typical mid-summer high temperatures about 85°F (30°C). Elevation: 600 to 2100 ft. (183 to 650m). Rainfall: 35 inches (87.5cm) annually. Soils: Sedimentary based, former seabed, shallow and generally well drained, as well as more acidic, with low fertility. Most have a sandy or sandy-loam texture.”

Principal varieties & characteristics: Ageability is a hallmark of Mt. Veeder wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel: Low yields give red wines a firm, tannic structure with strong earth-berry aromas and rich, but powerful flavors. Chardonnay: minerally, appley, even citrus flavors with good acidity.

Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley AVA

“Climate: Moderate to cool: marine air and fog can remain until mid-morning. Late afternoon breezes frequently occur, maintaining slightly cooler temperatures than upper valley. Mid-summer temperatures may reach 92° F (33.3°C) and drop to around 50°F (10°C) at night. Elevation: sea level to 800 feet (244m) Rainfall: 36 inches (90cm) annually. Soils: The valley’s largest alluvial fan formed by Dry Creek creates the defining feature of the district. The northwest area is composed of volcanically derived soils, with stony or gravelly consistency. South and east areas are transitional from gravel to silty clay loam.”

Principal varieties & characteristics: Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon benefit from a longer growing season with slightly cooler temperature, though crop size is typically less than in other AVAs. Elegant style is the common note with fruit flavors of cassis, tobacco and spice typical to Bordeaux-style reds. Chardonnay showcases flavors of crisp apple, mineral notes and tropical fruit with fine acidity.

The Oakville AVA is teaming with Cult Cabs!

Silver Oak Vineyards Cellar Door
Silver Oak Vineyards Cellar Door (Photo credit: kk+)

Visit Silver Oak where a former Christian Brother named Justin Meyer, who studied under iconic Brother Timothy, built a world-class winery! Then head over to Far Niente, Mondavi and Nickel and Nickel.

Opus One Winery was founded as a joint venture between Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Château Mouton Rothschild and Robert Mondavi to create a single Bordeaux style blend based upon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Opus One, Nickel and Nickel and Robert Mondavi are across the street from each other.

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes growing in the viney...
Cabernet Sauvignon grapes growing in the vineyard of the Napa Vally winery Opus One. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a matter of fact, many of the tasting rooms are within walking distance; you will need alot of time in Oakville. You may want to stop at the Oakville Grocery, a popular dining spot with picnic tables.

Turnbull Wine Cellars, Oakville, California, USA
Turnbull Wine Cellars, Oakville, California, USA (Photo credit: jimg944)
Turnbull Wine Cellars, Oakville, California, USA
Turnbull Wine Cellars, Oakville, California, USA (Photo credit: jimg944)
California Cabernet from Napa Valley including...
California Cabernet from Napa Valley including Chateau Montelena, Nickel & Nickel & Paul Hobbes in stemless Reidel glasses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Turnbull Wine Cellars, Oakville, California, USA
Turnbull Wine Cellars, Oakville, California, USA (Photo credit: jimg944)
Turnbull Wine Cellars, Oakville, California, USA
Turnbull Wine Cellars, Oakville, California, USA (Photo credit: jimg944)

“Climate: Moderately warm, with temperatures commonly in the mid-90°F (34-35.5°C) range in high summer, but also still strongly affected by night and early morning fog which helps keep acidity levels good.”

The best varieties are all the Bordeaux grapes.

Watch this Nickel and Nickel Video:

http://youtu.be/rzJo280O2pY

Image of Opus One Winery via Snooth
English: Napa Valley Opus One Photo D Ramey Logan
English: Napa Valley Opus One Photo D Ramey Logan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The east side of the AVA receives more of warmer afternoon sun. Elevation: 75 to 500 ft (23 to 150m). Rainfall: 35 inches (87.5cm) annually. Soils: Primarily sedimentary gravelly alluvial loams on the western side, with more volcanic but heavier soils on the eastern side. Low to moderate fertility and fairly deep, with average water retention.”

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot: Ripe currant and mint flavors, rich texture and full, firm structure tempered by rich fruit. Sauvignon Blanc: Full, steely, yet very fleshy.

Mike Grgich worked with Brother Timothy and the Christian Brothers Winery before opening his own winery

Rutherford AVA is home to Grgich Hills Estate where you can learn about iconic Mike Grgich from Croatia! There was a documentary about him this year at the Napa Valley Film Festival called “Like the Old Vine.”

Visit the Rubicon Estate, Caymus, Quintessa, Rubicon, Peju, Cakebread and Frog’s Leap. If you’re loooking for bubbles head over to Mumm Napa.

“Climate: Moderately warm, still marginally influenced by early morning fog. Western bench area is cooler, with less late afternoon sun, tempered by afternoon marine winds. (This AVA averages a bit warmer than Oakville and Stags Leap District). Usual summer peak temperatures are mid-90°F (34-35.5°C) with good diurnal range. Elevation: 100 to 500 ft. (33 to 150m). Rainfall: 38 inches (95cm) annually. Soils: Western benchland is sedimentary, gravelly-sandy and alluvial, with good water retention and moderate fertility. The eastern side has more volcanic soils, moderately deep and more fertile.”

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel: Quite intense cherry and mineral, almost earthy aromas. Flavors are full, ripe, and notably currant with firm, but supple tannins for extended aging.

The Spring Mountain District AVA is on the way to Santa Rosa.

harvest 2005 Spring Mountain District above th...
harvest 2005 Spring Mountain District above the Napa Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Climate: Similar to Mt. Veeder AVA, with cool weather prevailing and smaller diurnal changes. Fairly cool nights and higher elevations help maintain good acidity. Elevation: 600 to 2200 ft (184 to 675m). Rainfall: 40 to 50 inches (125cm) annually. Soils: Primarily sedimentary; weathered sandstone/shale, loamy and friable in texture. Drainage is high, fertility low.”

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel: Powerful, firm, blackberry-currant flavors and often richly tannic, with excellent acidity for aging. Chardonnay, Viognier: Sinewy, firm and not as fruity as those of the valley floor, revealing more citrus and stone fruit flavors.

The St. Helena AVA is my favorite place to stay in Napa County. There are charming shops on Main Street and plenty of great restaurants.

I love the restaurants on Railroad Avenue directly behaind Main Street: Cindy Pawlcyn’s Backstreet Kitchen on Railroad Avenue http://www.cindysbackstreetkitchen.com and Terre http://www.terrarestaurant.com (707.963.8931)

Some of the other restaurants I like in Saint Helena are: Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant (707.967.1010)

http://www.ciarestaurants.com/california–‐campus–‐restaurants/the–‐wine–‐spectator–‐at–‐greystone

Market (707.963.3799)   http://www.marketsthelena.com/

Meadowood Grill (707.968.3144)  http://www.meadowood.com/dining/the–‐grill. The Restaurant at Meadowood has 3 Michelin Stars and a fantastic Tasting Menu for $275.

Press St. Helena for steak (707.967.0550) http://www.presssthelena.com/

French Blue on Main Street offers an interesting Brunch Menu.

St. Helena

Try the Model Bakery for great sandwiches, pizza and cookies. Check out Woodhouse chocolate on Main Street for outstanding hand-made chocolates. Try Gott’s Roadside for a burger.

 
St. Helena (Photo credit: jimforest)
Brother Timothy’s Corkscrew Collection in the Culinary Institute

This appellation covers 9,000 acres towards the northern end of the valley between the Vaca and Mayacamas Mountains.

Charles Krug opened his winery here in 1861. There are more than 50 wineries including Chappellet, Duckhorn and Heitz Cellars.

If you walk over to Gott’s Roadside Grill, you will find two interesting wineries: Merryvale and Bello. You may want to have a burger while you’re there-it’s an incredibly popular spot and sometimes has very long lines!

My favorite Napa Map

I loved the  Merryvale Syrah and their Cabs were incredible!

Merryvale Winery

Check out the fabulous red wine bottle chandelier; I need a light fixture like that at my house! Try the Cab named after their award-winning racehorse Megahertz. The swanky new tasting room at Bello Family Winery was so elegant!

Megahertz from Bello Winery
Bello Winery in St. Helena
V. Sattui Winery

There are so many interesting places to visit in St. Helena. Stop at V. Sattui for wine and a picnic. Dine at their popular Italian Deli.

Don’t miss Duckhorn, another one of my favorites! I love when they host wine dinners in Chicago. I wish all the winemakers came to Chicago for events.

Take time to visit the Corison Kronos Vineyard at the Winery on St. Helena Highway.

Corison
Corison
Corison
I love Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in St. Helena

In St. Helena you can also visit: Louis Martini, Joseph Plelps, Charles Krug, Tudal and Heitz. Plan to spend alot of time in this incredible AVA.

Don’t miss the fabulous Beringer Mansion at 2000 Main Street. Visit www.beringer.com/events for details. Then walk next door to Greystone Cellars, the former Christian Brothers Winery in St. Helena. Today it is the home of the Culinary Institute of America.

English: Greystone Cellars. 2555 Main Street. ...

Napa County Seal
Napa County Seal (Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn)

Dine at Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant at The Culinary Institute at 2555 St. Helena Hwy. Don’t forget to visit Brother Timothy’s Cork Screw Collection; housed in this former Christian Brothers stone castle.

Brother Timothy’s Corkscrew Collection in the Culinary Institute in St. Helena

I also liked the comfort food at French Blue at 1429 Main Street, right in the heart of town. Meadowood has two restaurants in their swanky resort at 900 Meadowood Lane. “The Restaurant” has 3 Michelin Stars! Dine on the outdoor terrace that overlooks the fairway for a spectacular Vino con Vista opportunity. Stay at a Woodland Suite, you will never want to leave.

English: Fall in Napa Valley
English: Fall in Napa Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Climate: Warm, due to greater protection from western hills, with less fog or wind incursions. The narrowing of the valley floor provides more heat reflection off the hillsides. Mid-summer temperature peak is often in the mid- to high-90°F range (34 to 35°C). Elevation: 150 to 600 ft. (46 to 185m). Rainfall: 38 to 40 inches (95 to 100cm) annually. Soils: South and west borders are more sedimentary, gravel-clay soils, with lower fertility and moderate water retention. Further north and to the east soils are prevalently volcanic in origin and are deeper and more fertile.”

Principal varieties and characteristics: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot: deep, ripe, often jammy flavors, with firm tannins for structure, and appealing aromas of currant and black fruit. Rhone varieties (Syrah, Viognier): Fleshy, supple and slightly earthy. Zinfandel: Blackberry-like, well-structured.

bottle of stag's leap cabernet sauvignon Franç...
Bottle of stag’s leap cabernet sauvignon Français : bouteille de cabernet sauvgnon stag’s leap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stags Leap District AVA is the home of the Stag’s LeapWine Cellars. Check out Chimney Rock and Clos du Val in thisw AVA.

“Climate: Moderately warm, with afternoon marine winds acting as an ‘air-conditioner’ to cool the warmer air radiating off the bare rocks of Stags Leap itself and the surrounding hillsides. This AVA is often up to 10°F warmer than in Yountville AVA. Mid-summer temperatures can reach 100°F (37.7°C), but more regularly are in mid-90° range (32-34°C). Elevation: 66 to 400 ft. (20 to 123m). Rainfall: 30 inches (75cm) annually. Soils: Volcanic gravel-loams on the floor of the valley, with rocky hillsides, and low to moderate fertility due to hard clay bedrock subsoils 2 to 6 feet down.”

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese: Distinguished by lush, velvety textures and fine perfumed cherry and red berry flavors, supported by soft tannins. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc: Round and ripe, especially Sauvignon Blanc, yet retain excellent citrus and apple flavors.

Wild Horse Valley AVA

“Climate: A warmer area well to the east of Napa Valley proper, but still moderated by both altitude and prevailing winds coming off Suisun Bay to the southeast. Elevation: Wild Horse Valley 400 to 1500 ft. (123 to 460m). Rainfall: 35 inches (94cm) annually. Soils: Volcanic in origin, with basaltic red color, shallow with limited water retention, so irrigation is often essential.”

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese: Bright berry and cherry fruit, and more acidity than wines from Stags Leap District. Chardonnay: Crisp, floral, aromatic, with distinctive pear-mineral flavors and bright acidity.

Yountville is the home of many outstanding restaurants on Washington Street: French Laundry on has three Michelin stars, Ad Hoc has comfort food, Bouchon is a French Bistro with an extremely popular bakery, Ciccio for Italian and Cindy Pawlcyn’s Mustard’s Grill on St. Helena Highway,

The line never ends at the Bouchon Bakery next to the restaurant with the same name. Make reservations way in advance if you plan on dining at Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry in Yountville. Visit the garden across the street from the restaurant where some of the farm-to-table produce grows. There’s plenty of shopping at V Market in Yountville. Check out Hurley’s for casual dining; I loved my swordfish. Visit the Jessup winery, Hope and Grace and the Hill Family Estate.

Domaine Chandon

You can also check out Domaine Chandon in Yountville; everyone loves that place! Dine at their Etoile-Domaine Chandon Restaurant at 1 California Drive. You will love the art collection in this winery.

Domaine Chandon
Domaine Chandon
Domaine Chandon

“Climate: Moderate, with definite cool marine influence and fog contributing to cool summer mornings and the marine breeze keeping afternoons more comfortable than further up valley. Mid-summer peak temperatures may reach 90°F (32.2°C), with noticeable diurnal fluctuation to the mid-50°F range (13°C). Elevation: 20 to 200 ft (6 to 61m). Rainfall: 32 inches (80cm) annually. Soils: Principally gravelly silt loams, sedimentary in origin, and gravelly alluvial soils with rock, moderately fertile.”

Principal varieties & characteristics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot: Yountville favors Cabernet and Merlot with ripe, violety aromas and rich, but supple flavors and firm tannins.”

Ramey
Ramey (Photo credit: Jonathan Caves)

Foodies will love the 13 Napa Valley restaurants that were included in the 2013 Michelin Guide. Many of them are on Washington Street in Yountville; the restaurant row of Napa County.

Here they are:

Three Stars “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”

Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry in Yountville at 6640 Washington Street

The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena

One Star “A very good restaurant in its category”

Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford

Bouchon in Yountville at 6534 Washington Street

Trefethen’s 1976 Chardonnay earned best Chardonnay in the world at the 1979 Gault Millau World Wine Olympics in Paris.

La Toque in Napa at the Westin Verasa

Westin Verasa
Westin Verasa

Some of the other Michelin restaurants are:

Redd in Yountville at 6480 Washington Street

Solbar in Calistoga

Terra in St. Helena

Napa Wine Train
Napa Valley Wine Train, Napa Valley, Californi...
Napa Valley Wine Train, Napa Valley, California, USA (Photo credit: jimg944)

Join me for lunch on the Napa Valley Wine Train for a Vino con Vista ride from Napa to Calistoga. Hop on right by the Oxbow Market in Napa.

Salute from www.vino-con-vista.com Travel Guides.

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6 Comments

Filed under Italy Travel Guides

6 responses to “16 Spectacular Reasons to Visit the Napa Valley

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