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As the gateway city to Napa Valley, San Francisco’s own wine-tasting rooms provides the perfect entree into the region. Visitors to San Francisco can explore over 70 wine bars and tasting rooms throughout the unique neighborhoods, and the City is home to several of its own wineries who produce wines with Napa Valley’s fine grapes.

The character of any wine comes from the grapes that go into it, and the character of those grapes is firmly rooted in the place where they are grown. The Napa Valley enjoys the best of all scenarios for fine grapes, superb wines and a great diversity of wine styles.

The most renowned wine-growing region in the Americas, The Napa Valley is one of the smallest, yet most diverse, wine-growing regions in the world. Only 4% of the wine produced in California is from The Napa Valley Appellation.

There are more than 430 wineries in Napa Valley, 95 percent of which are family owned and operated. While Cabernet and Chardonnay are the most widely planted wine grapes, the Napa Valley holds many surprises for wine lovers looking for varieties off the beaten path. 

Approximately 120 winery tasting rooms warmly welcome guests for fun and educational tastings and tours that fascinate and engage at all knowledge levels, from new fan to connoisseur.  Large or small, our wineries are dedicated to providing guests with extraordinary wines and memorable tasting experiences.

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Napa Valley Appellations

The Napa Valley is itself an appellation, and it has been since it received its own AVA designation in 1981. It is California's first recognized AVA and the second in the United States. Within the Napa Valley appellation exists 15 sub-appellations, including: Atlas Peak, Calistoga, Chiles Valley District, Diamond Mountain District, Howell Mountain, Los Carneros, Mt. Veeder, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Spring Mountain District, Stags Leap District, Yountville and Wild Horse Valley.

During the early decades of winemaking in the Napa Valley, grapes were often planted in patchwork pattern vineyards in which many varieties were mixed. But experience has since shown the wisdom of matching grapes with locations whose microclimates and soils are best suited to particular grape varieties.

Within the Napa Valley, regions have emerged that possess distinct microclimates and terrains, imprinting recognizable characteristics on the grapes grown within them.

Vintners and growers within these regions delineate the boundaries of these growing areas, giving them names that reflect their regional designations, or appellations.

Data supporting a proposed American Viticultural Area, or AVA, is submitted to the government, which decides whether the proposed appellation designation will be granted.

Napa Valley Grape-Growing Climate

The Napa Valley has been endowed with the perfect environment to cultivate some of the world’s finest wine grapes and it has been producing legendary American wines for more than a century. 

Defined by mountain ranges and influenced by the proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the Napa Valley enjoys a temperate climate perfectly suited to the growing of fine wine grapes.

The long growing season is marked by sunny, warm and dry days followed by cool evenings, an ideal combination for allowing grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. Within the Napa Valley Viticultural Area, the microclimates are distinctive and dramatic. The most moderate temperatures are found in the Carneros region, which is cooled by marine breezes that sweep through the Golden Gate and across San Pablo Bay. Farther up the valley, the Pacific Ocean exerts less influence: temperatures are warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter, and rainfall is greater than in the south. Configuration of hills, exposure and eleva

GWC Blog

September 16, 2014
This post by Beth Delthony is a participant in the 2014 Guest Bloggers' Program sponsored by...