Discover Napa Valley
Discover the Napa Valley, the most renowned wine making region of the entire continent. Come for the wine, and while you're here, enjoy the world famous cuisine, the breath-taking views, and the friendly hospitality that have earned this area its reputation as one of the premier travel destinations of the world.
Doubly blessed with rich volcanic soil and an ideal varied climate, Napa County is optimally suited to produce world quality wine grapes. Wherever you travel in this scenic area, you are almost always in view of a vine-covered mountain or valley, and no matter the time of year, you're in for a treat for all the senses.
In the spring, the area comes alive with the vibrant yellow of the mustard flowers between the rows. In the fall, the grape leaves turn startling hues of red, yellow, orange and brown. Year round, the weather is perfect for people and wine grapes alike: cool in the morning and at night, warming up in the afternoon. From May to November you can count on ideal weather for an outdoor picnic in a vineyard. With fall comes the Harvest and the flurry of activity in the Valley. You're apt to see picking in the vineyards and crushing at the wineries on any given day. Even in winter, the temperature rarely dips below freezing, and the winery tasting rooms beckon with their relaxed environment and cozy hearths.
The Napa Valley is bisected by two parallel thoroughfares: Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail. Driving up one and down the other provides a good scenic overview of the region with wineries on both sides of the road, but take care not to forget the Carneros region, adjacent to the Napa Valley, where it straddles the Napa/ Sonoma County line. This appellation is known for its distinctive climate, ideal for growing the early ripening chardonnay and pinot noir grapes.
The wineries in the Napa Valley are almost as varied as they are numerous. Some, such as Greystone Cellars (now the Culinary Institute of America), Inglenook (now Niebaum-Coppola), Chateau Montelena and Beringer date from the late 19th Century. The stately castle-like buildings bear witness to a bygone era and some boast adjacent caves chiseled by Chinese immigrants following the completion of the trans-continental railroad. These caves, and other more modern ones, are still open to the public and can be visited by appointment. Wineries like Sterling, Artesa, Turnbull, Hess Collection and Clos Pegase are known for their spectacular architecture. Sterling has a cable car up to the winery. Jarvis was the first winery in the world to put the entire facility underground, with a waterfall flowing through its cave. Far Niente, Hess Collection and Vine Cliff have beautiful gardens or impressive landscaping. Clos Pegase, Mumm, Hess Collection and St. Supery have extensive art collections. A visit to Niebaum-Coppola is not complete without a walk through the movie memorabilia museum of Coppola family artifacts. St. Supery has a hands-on gallery of exhibits related to wine making and the Napa Valley. Regusci, Pride Mountain and Charles Krug are among the facilities known as "ghost wineries," wineries that were founded between 1860 and 1890 and have survived the Great Depression and Prohibition.
One cannot visit the Napa Valley without realizing that it is much more than just wineries and scenic views. The area is also renowned for hot air ballooning, shopping in elite boutiques, Copia (American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts), hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, bicycle tours, massages, mud and mineral baths, an "old Faithful" geyser, a petrified forest, and above all, its many incomparable restaurants.