Book Your Napa Valley Getaway

Napa Valley is a beautiful diverse area that offers so many delights for tourists from all over the world. It is one of the most famous regions of California and filled with plenty of exciting things to do. Amongst this scenic and picturesque area there are many hotspots and activities. The wine country is known for its range of great vineyards that have grown in the excellent volcanic soil deposited over millennia. There are also geysers and hot mineral springs where the weary visitor can relax and soak in hot mineral baths or have mud treatment baths after a day of visiting the various wineries.

These days it has hundreds of unique wineries that produce some of the best wine celebrated around the world. If you visit this area today, then you will try a whole host of top quality wines from Napa Valley. There is also a large amount of modern hotels in wine country, and the entire area is very cosmopolitan and contemporary. But, it was not always like this. This area of California has a long and rich history, which shows how Napa came from humble beginnings to become one of the main areas in the country.

the history of napa valley

The story starts in the 1800s where Napa Valley saw its first-ever vineyards. Before this time, most of the wine in the US came from New York or Virginia. But, in 1838, a man George C Yount planted the first vines in what we now call Napa Valley. He was the first person to seriously start growing vines in North California. His name is known across the land by wine lovers young and old. George C Yount soon realized the potential for the area, and he went on to plant more and more vineyards. The locals also saw what he was doing, and a lot more people got involved.

Many people see Yount as one of the founding fathers of wine in Napa Valley. There is even a town called Yountville named after him, with a host of famous wineries and Michelin star restaurants!

While Yount created vinery trend here, it was not until 1861 that the first commercial winery was started in Napa Valley. The man to open it was named Charles Krug, and he is the guy that everyone looks to as the commercial start point of wine in North California. He started his career as a winemaker for a local wine magazine, but he saved up to buy his own land to plant vines and make wine to sell across the land.

Beringer Vineyards

His success inspired other people to open their own wineries, including Hamilton Crabb in 1868. He purchased over 240 acres of land from George C Yount’s family, and this became the famous To-Kalon vineyard. Crabb and Krug both enjoyed a lot of success, but Krug would also had another role to play. He employed two brothers; Jacob and Fredrick Beringer, who started their own winery called the Beringer in 1875. Many more wineries were started, and by 1890 there were nearly 11 million cases of wine made in Napa Valley! It proved to be a landmark moment, and things began to spiral out of control as the industry grew in the 1900s.

By the end of the 19th Century, Napa Valley had gone from having about 3,000 acres of vineyards to more than 20,000! Now what many people do not know is most of this growth was between 1890 and 1900.

1904 saw the opening of one of the most famous wineries in Napa – Beaulieu Vineyard. It is still open to this day, and it makes lots of Cabernet Sauvignon wines with top flavour profiles. People come from far and wide just to enjoy the taste of this vintage wine.

The 20th Century rolled on, but problems started to occur. Over 200,000 acres of vineyards were now in place, but the demand for wine started to fall. The Great Depression saw sales drop, and then the Prohibition Act in 1919 made it even harder for wineries to make a living. At this stage, there were over 2,500 licensed wineries in the whole of America. When prohibition ended in 1933, less than 100 were left! Many wineries in Napa Valley closed down, and the land was left.

Things started to perk up again, but it was not until 1965 that things finally started looking up. At this point in time, we are now aware of the true pioneer of wine in Napa Valley – Robert Mondavi. This man is seen as a VIP in the evolution of Napa Wine in the 20th Century. His family owned the Charles Krug winery, but he left to form his own winery with two friends in 1965.

Charles is a pioneer due to the fact he started selling wines that were made of a few type of grapes. This started a new era, as more and more people realized that this was the way go. Now, you will find many wineries in Napa Valley focus on using just a handful of grapes to create unique wines.

The impact of Robert Mondavi is clear for all to see. In 1970, there were only around 17 wineries in Napa Valley. There used to be more, but prohibition and the Great Depression – not to mention two World Wars – took its toll. In this decade, we saw the rise of Mondavi and how he improved the wine industry. It grew and grew, and there are now over 450 wineries in Napa! Not only that, but there are over 550 places for small-time winemakers to buy grapes and make their own wines. 7 of these places even have custom crush facilities, making it easier for wine lovers to start their own winery.

top destinations around Napa Valley!

wine from Napa Valley is world class!

George C Yount recognized this way back in the 1800s that Napa Valley is perfect for making wine. It has some of the best conditions that ensure grapes can grow to make the best flavours.

It starts with the climate. Napa Valley has a rare climate – it is like the Mediterranean but in California. The summers are warm – but not blazing hot – the winters are not freezing cold, and there is a small amount of rain within the year. So, vines can grow almost all year round, that allows grapes to grow and develop top flavours. Most of the best wines in the world come from places in the Mediterranean – thanks to the climate.

However, Napa has more than a great climate. The soils here are very diverse – there is thought to be around 100 types, which is over half the types that exist on earth! There is also 12 known soil orders in the world, and Napa Valley has half of them here. But, here is the thing; the soil in Napa is volcanic. As such, you get truly top wines that have a unique taste. Plus, volcanic soil is proven to be highly fertile, which is great for vine growth. All of these things combined make Napa Valley a place that was almost born to grow wine.

Cuvaison Winery

Carneros Napa Valley

V Marketplace

Yountville Napa Valley

V Sattui Winery

St. Helena Napa Valley

there is all of this and so much more!

There are plenty of great things to do in the wine country. It is an area that attracts a lot of tourism, mainly thanks to the great vineyards and wineries. Of course, they are the main interests here. If you go on wine tours, you will enjoy the very best wineries in this region. But, there is also other things to help make your stay very enjoyable.

napa valley wineries

O’BRIEN ESTATE – Many visitors head straight to big-time Napa Valley wineries like Robert Mondavi, which produces millions of cases of wine every year. But, big-time doesn’t always mean best, and you may prefer a trip to somewhere quieter like O’Brien Estate winery. Producing a far more modest four thousand cases, this 40-acre family-owned operation guarantees a much more authentic and peaceful exploration of just what a Napa Valley winery entails. You certainly won’t have to rush your tour because of all those pesky tourists when you turn here!

BERINGER WINERY – Of course, small isn’t always best, and a trip to the slightly larger Beringer Winery is also worth your time. Established since 1876, this historic site is California’s oldest operating winery and an absolute right of passage. With everything from cave tours to tastings in the iconic Rhine House, book here well in advance to ensure you set your wine explorations off with a bang!

downtown tasting rooms

Head on over to downtown Napa, and you will find a few urban wineries. These are really tasting rooms where you can sample the best wine in Napa Valley. They are very stylish and cosy, while you are able to book a table for you and your friends as well. You will save money trying wines at the tasting rooms, so you can drink more of the wines you like. Many of these tasting rooms have shops too, so you are able to buy vintage Napa Valley wine to take home.

It isn’t only tours that could see you tasting Napa Valley’s best. Downtown tasting rooms also offer a fantastic and fun opportunity to get stuck in, and Cru @ The Annex is one of the best. Opened in 2016, this unique tasting space has been developed for fun. Wine aside, you can enjoy a digital video wall, note pining in the bathroom, and even metal lock table decor that helps you make your mark. Even better, there’s no need to book. Just pop in and get tasting!

napa valley resorts

CALISTOGA RANCH – While wine tasting is fantastic, you’ll also need somewhere to stay. Calistoga Ranch is a top bet for a luxury Napa trip, as evidenced by the fact that Carlos Santana himself has been known to hang out at the pool. Guests at this luxury resort can enjoy forest lodges, spa-style decks, and of course, easy access to all of Calistoga’s wineries. Whether you’re heading away on a wine-focused honeymoon or fancy the quiet life, look no further.

THE ARCHER – If privacy doesn’t appeal, finding yourself in the heart of Napa’s downtown curated experience definitely will, and The Archer is your best chance to do just that. With 183 luxury boutique rooms within easy walking distance of world-class dining and 20+ tasting rooms, a stay here guarantees you’ll experience Napa like nobody else.

napa valley restaurants

If you like tasty food, then you will love the huge range of restaurants in Napa. So many cuisines and cultures are here, and there is a restaurant to suit every taste and budget. The wine industry has brought along lots of people from Europe to work in wineries over the years. As such, there is a real Mediterranean feel about lots of the restaurants in Napa Valley. You will find some hearty Italians, Michelin starred French restaurants and everything in between.

Both St. Helena and Yountville have some world-class gourmet eateries, but there are also a few traditional and casual places dotted around Napa as well. Whether you want a five-star feast or a quick bite to eat, there is always great food for you to enjoy.

oxbow public market

As well as being famed for its wine, Napa Valley boasts of Oxbow Market. A visit to this sprawling marketplace could see you enjoying a wide range of Napa’s best dining experiences, including –

C CASA –  offers Mexican dining experiences that are out of this world. Every dish is made to order and includes Mexican classics like tortillas, paired with buffalo, goats cheese, crab, and more!

LIVE FIRE PIZZA – As the name suggests, wood-fired ovens are at the heart of Life Fire Pizzeria, where you can enjoy pizzas, sandwiches, and even salads if you fancy something light.

 

OXBOW CHEESE & WINE MERCHANT – If the above suggestions were a lacking in wine for your tastes, turn instead to Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant, where you can enjoy hand-selected cheeses with wine pairings to suit!

napa valley spas

MEADOWOOD SPA –  If you fancy some relaxation during your trip, look no further than Meadowood Spa, conveniently located in Meadowood Resort. Balancing nature and architecture in a remote setting, this relaxation hotspot offers a range of treatments surrounding wellness that could see you returning more cleansed than ever before.

THE SPA – Found at The Estate in Yountville, The Spa offers yet another quiet oasis, this time with the background of soothing fountains and waterfalls. Top treatments include massage therapies, private spa suites, and a whole lot more.

biking & Hiking

From the relaxation of spas to something more strenuous, you might also want to embark on biking or hiking in Napa’s fantastic countryside. What better way to burn those extra wine calories and refresh yourself before your next tasting? Some top options for activity include –

FOR BIKERS – The Silverado Trail is a must-do for any cyclists visiting the area. Constructed way back in 1852, this country trail can take you past some of the county’s best wineries between Yountville to Calistoga. And, you can enjoy it all from the iconic backdrop of the Valley’s Eastern hills.

FOR HIKERS – If hiking is your activity of choice, then turn instead to Napa’s Skyline Park. Conveniently located in Napa town center, this 25-mile trail will take you through the most beautiful foothills in the county, and even offers a striking view of San Francisco Bay! 

discover the beauty of napa valley

The wine country is full of history, beauty, and friendly locals. It is a region that is famous for its wineries and vineyards, and you can explore dozens of them during your trip. After seeing how the locals make their wine – and tasting a few glasses – you can head out and explore all the delights that this world famous place has to offer. From fine dining to volcanic hot springs, there is something for us all to enjoy in this amazing place. Please check out the specific towns of Napa valley below to easily see what areas are most suited for your trip.

Highly Rated Wineries