Napa Valley wineries enjoy a well-earned international reputation for their seductive Chardonnays, full-bodied Cabernets, and teasingly fruity Merlots. Blessed with a beautiful natural landscape, fertile soil, and a vine-friendly climate the Napa Valley's 400-plus wineries produce some of the New World's most elegant wines.
Napa Valley wineries, however, are only the beginning. Discover acclaimed chefs at scores of restaurants, which take advantage of farm-fresh produce straight from the tractor to create gastronomic delights. Take your pick of charming bed & breakfasts, opulent resorts or ultra-modern hotels. Drift soundlessly over this idyllic landscape high above in a hot air balloon or plunge into tasting nirvana on a wine tour. Whatever your pleasure, the Napa Valley never disappoints, so grab a glass and get tasting!
Chappellet has been crafting extraordinary, age-worthy wines high on Pritchard Hill, one of Napa's premier grape growing areas, since 1967. Pritchard Hill's rugged terroir has become legendary for producing wines with great intensity, character, and depth — qualities that define the world's finest Cabernet Sauvignons. Chappellet wines, particularly their brooding Cabernet Sauvignon, have been consistently praised by critics and connoisseurs and are much sought after by collectors.
Corison Winery, with its timeless Victorian-style barn, is situated in the heart of the Kronos vineyard. As one of the last old Cabernet Vineyards in the Napa Valley, Kronos has produced world-class fruit continuously for more than four decades. Farmed sustainably and growing on gravelly loam soils, the gnarly old veterans produce reluctant yields resulting in refined, complex wines with blackberry and plum fruit notes, and exquisite violet perfume. Noted for their consistency and elegant balance, Corison wines have remained true to its vision of producing gloriously balanced, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon.
The brainchild of winemaker Ehren Jordan, visitors to Failla are able to indulge in the rare treat of tasting benchmark cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast as well as Napa reds. Failla's vintages are elegant, cool climate, finesse-styled wines that display obvious influenced by European rather than New World models.
Larkmead lays claim to being one of the oldest, family-owned grape-growing estates in the Napa Valley. Established in 1895, this historic site enjoys tremendous diversity in its soils, infusing its wines with a rare character typical of historic vineyards. By teasing out the intense notes present in the grapes, winemaker Dan Petroski combines haunting nuance and accessible complexity by vinifying small lots according to clonal selection and soil type. This admirable approach is taking this historic Cabernet-focused property in Calistoga to giddy new heights.
Perched high on the slopes of Mount Veeder, Mayacamas Vineyards has been a legend among California wine since 1889. The vineyard's complex soils grudgingly produce notoriously low yields of intensely concentrated grapes. Classical techniques and tools bring out the essential character of the grapes, together with their bright, vibrant flavors and quintessential nose.
As the entire wine world knows, Robert Mondavi established his winery in 1966 after splitting away from his family's historical vineyards. Mondavi's vision was to create Napa Valley wines that would stand against the world's finest. He chose To Kalon Vineyard in the heart of the Napa Valley. This first-growth vineyard, located near Oakville, is renowned for producing some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon wines in the world, as well as for its Sauvignon Blanc grapes, from which Mondavi crafted his signature wine, Fumé Blanc. Revolutionizing California wine wasn't enough for him, though. Mondavi also pioneered of Napa wine tourism, and his striking Mission-style winery continues to welcome to visitors today.
In 1972, Jim Barrett set out to produce classically-styled wines using sun-ripe California grapes. Continuing that approach to winemaking today, Chateau Montelena produces refined, age-worthy, and heavenly food-friendly wines. Famous for their oenological triumph in the 1976 Judgment of Paris wine tasting, where California wines triumphed over French wines in a blind tasting, Montelana's nineteenth-century winery and its cool cellars place it in the Napa Valley's pantheon of wine-making icons.
For decades, the Shafer family has been producing Chardonay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah wines, including their celebrated Hillside Select, in the Stags Leap District. Thanks to the warm, moderate climate with abundant sunlight, chilly evenings, and foggy early mornings, the Shafer vineyards yield fruit offering lush, concentrated, aromas and complex flavors. The resulting wines are consistently clean, with rich notes.
Spottswoode Vineyard is one of the Napa Valley's most well-known landmarks. This family-owned 40-acre estate tucked behind the quaint town of St. Helena is among the finest grand cru vineyards in the region. Each year four wines are released — Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc, Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon, and Field Book Syrah. In the last decade, the quality of its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon has soared, leading Spottswoode wines to be renowned for their refined elegance, balance, and classic structure. A visit to its picturesque historic winery is not to be missed.
For decades, Stony Hill wines have stood the test of time, despite shifting tastes and fashion. The McCrea family began planting their vineyards, perched high up on the northeast slope of Spring Mountain, in 1947 and picked their first harvest in 1952. Ever since, they have been producing classic, age-worthy Chardonnay with a focus on elegant old world style.
Located less than two hours drive north of San Francisco, Napa Valley's tranquil vineyard views, balmy Mediterranean climate, along with its world-class restaurants and resorts make it an irresistible destination for all wine aficionados.
There are just two roads leading into the Napa Valley, Highway 29 to the West and the Silverado Trail to the East, making the Napa Valley easy to explore. Napa's sixteen appellations, known as American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), divide that acreage into distinct regions, all with a vinous voice of their own.
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