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Nestled between northern California’s coastal mountains, this world famous wine-growing region is a sumptuous feast of natural splendor. It has rolling hills, fields awash with wildflowers, gourmet restaurants, bed-and-breakfast inns and spas among 45,000 acres (18,000 hectares) of vineyards. With ample sunshine during the day and cool nights, the climate is perfect for wine production as well as touring vineyards by bike, convertible or limo.
There are hundreds of wineries here, ranging from intimate, family-owned farms to large enterprises with cavernous grottos. The Napa soil is perfect for growing an extensive variety of grapes. These are well-suited for a broad range of wines from champagne, to chardonnay, to zinfandel. There’s something sure to satisfy almost any palette.
Many of the vineyards welcome visitors for wine tastings and a guided tour of their grounds. Learn how wines are produced and how to pair different varieties with food. Some of the big wineries have spectacular gardens and caves. There are even a few castles! When it’s time for a rest, indulge in one of Napa’s simple pleasures: sitting on a vineyard patio with a view of the grounds, enjoying a bottle of wine under the warm Californian sunshine.
Napa’s wine-producing history can be traced back to 1836 when early settler George Calvert Yount planted the first vineyard in the valley. The trendy town of Yountville, where you’ll find upscale shops and restaurants, as well as lovely inns, is named in his honor.
This is the place to splurge on Michelin-starred restaurants, spas that offer herbal facials and wine-inspired treatments. Consider a limo tour of the many wineries so that you can indulge without getting behind the wheel.
Napa Valley is just over an hour north of San Francisco by car.