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An Introduction to Napa Valley

An Introduction to Napa Valley

An Introduction to Napa Valley

An Introduction to Napa Valley

 

An Introduction to Napa Valley

 

Napa Valley is famous the world over for both its wines and its beauty. Located in between the Mayacamas and Vaca mountain ranges, in 1981 it became the first region in California to be awarded  American Viticultural Area or AVA status and the second overall in the United States. The 30 mile long region has since been divided and subdivided into a series of smaller appellations, totalling in sixteen: Calistoga, Diamond Mountain District, Howell Mountain, Spring Mountain District, St. Helena,  Rutherford,  Oakville, Chiles Valley District,Yountville, Stags Leap District, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder, Coombsville, Atlas Peak,  Los Carneros, and Wild Horse Valley.

 

Napa Valley has incredible geologically complexity. Over a hundred soil variations are found throughout it. Napa is located in a sweet spot; its Mediterranean climate means generally mild weather with warm summers and cool winters. The gentler climate helps create the opportunity for year after year of excellent harvests. What does this mean? The variation in soil and climates means that growers can plant and cultivate a huge selection of grapes. For example, in the cool sub-appellation of Los Carneros, you’ll find a higher proportion of Pinot Noir whereas up in significantly warmer Howell Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon is more common. Other international varieties such as Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc are all grown as well.

 

The first sub-appellation to be carved out of Napa Valley was Howell Mountain AVA in 1983. Rising up between 1,400 and 2,200 feet above sea level, the vines are planted above the fog line. As a result, Howell Mountain has a warmer climate and the grapes achieve greater ripeness compared to some other areas of the valley. It’s known for Cabernet Sauvignon with great ageing potential. After 1983, other subregions soon followed suit, with Coombsville being the most recent to achieve AVA status in 2011.

 

The Rutherford Bench is a stretch of land that spans two AVAs, Rutherford and Oakville, two of Napa’s most famous appellations. This land tract, made up of gravel, sand, loam and volcanic debris, is known for imparting a unique quality to the wines. It’s one of the most dramatic examples of the variety of terroirs the wines of Napa exhibit.

 

The best way to get to know the nuances of Napa Valley wines is by trying them, of course! Ask your favourite wine app to find out where to get Napa wines near you!


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