In Northern California and just an hour driving from San Francisco we get to Napa Valley, known as Wine Country and one of the most famous wine regions of the world. Napa is recognized for the quality of its wines, the great tourism promotion that has been done since the 60s, and for being the set for several films and series such as Falcon Crest in the 80s.
Napa Valley has become one of the main tourist destinations California after Disneyland. Tourist from all over the world visit Napa attracted by food, good wine and the beauty of the landscape. Another reason to visit Napa Valley is also the weather, Bay Area is known for the diversity of climates, and Napa has a Mediterranean microclimate with mild temperatures and little rain.
Napa is the perfect destination for a day trip with friends or to spend some days relaxing in any of the amazing resorts we can find in the valley. Napa town is the starting point, and before starting our tour we strongly recommend go to the tourist information and get some information about wineries, it’s also easy to get promotions or even coupon discounts for tastings.
A convenient way to visit Napa Valley is with the Wine Train, a scenic train that leaves from Napa and covers the main towns and wineries to St. Helena. If you prefer drive just have to follow the Route-29, which shares the same route with the Wine Train and reaches the end of the valley in Calistoga.
Regarding the tastings, there are over 400 wineries most run by families who have spent years cultivating the vineyards. Prices range from $ 5 up to $ 30 per person, but as mentioned before is easy to find coupons in magazines or tourist pamphlets. Tastings are usually made with 4 or 5 different kind of wines and they give you the option to choose among different tastes. If you look good you’ll find wineries like Hagafen Cellars or Sutter home that offers totally free tastings. The Napa is also a exceptional culinary region but the price is usually quite expensive. However a cheaper option is to find a pic-nick area, numerously distributed along the route.
Apart from the main wineries I would like to highlight the smal boutiques wineries, small wineries where the person who attends is usually the owner of the property, a very nice option to learn a lot about wine. Major wineries are Domaine Chandon sparkling wine specialist, very similar to French Champagne, Robert Mondavi, may be the most famous and visited although sometimes you need to wait a little due to the queues. One of the oldest is Beaulieu Vineyards, very well-known and renowned in Napa. Perfect for those who are beginners to the world of wine is Beringer Vineyards. Finally the most romantic: the winery Castello di Amorosa, a very picturesque castle as shown in the image.
For more information about Napa Valley you can consult napatouristguide.com