Napa Valley is truly an unbelievable Mediterranean oasis in the middle of Northern California’s gorgeous rolling hills. Nestled inside of what many refer to as the “wine country,” Napa is world-renowned for the incredible grapes and wine it produces. Visitors to the town will be astounded by both the incredible beauty of the area as well as the amazing amount that wine has infiltrated the culture here. It seems that everywhere you turn there is either an entrance to a majestic vineyard, rolling hills of vines, a quaint wine shop, or a sophisticated restaurant offering an extensive menu of fine wines for you to enjoy. A getaway to Napa will truly let you escape from your hectic everyday life, letting you live, if only for a moment, the Edenic, blissful life of Napa Valley.
Located in the heart of the region known as “Wine Country,” Napa contains more than 350 wineries for your enjoyment, most of which ship wine internationally and have gained international fame for their taste and overall quality. More than 3 million visitors per year visit this astounding region, wishing to catch a glimpse of the natural abundance for which the Napa Valley is famed. The reason Napa is so adept at growing grapes is the dry, warm Mediterranean climate afforded to it by its location in a protected valley of Northern California. The soil is very rich and arid, and this fertility combined with the magnificently temperate weather and moderate yet consistent waterfall means an almost ideal location – similar to that of the famed grape-growing regions of France and the rest of southern Europe – for vineyard cultivation. The Napa Valley is already well on its way to becoming an international wine powerhouse, but the discovery of its fertile soil is by no means a new development.
In the middle of the 19th century, pioneer George Yount moved to the Napa Valley and planted the very first crop of wine grapes ever in the region. During his lifetime, the wine industry did not take off, but after he gave his business to his son-in-law, Yount’s original intention finally came to fruition. Grape-growing soon flourished in the fertile Napa Valley, attracting many more affluent growers from around the country and world who were seeking out the Next Big Thing in American agriculture. Charles Krug began Napa Valley’s first actual winery, distilling and creating the first signature wines of the Napa Valley and in the process transforming the valley from what was just an agricultural area into the prosperous distilling and bottling region we know and love today. Interestingly, you can still visit the historic Krug family winery today, bottling many kinds of fine wines such as Cabernet, Chardonnay, Pinor Noir, and Merlot. At the turn of the 20th century, Napa had begun its rise to becoming the formidable and prosperous viticulture region to which visitors now flock from all over the world.
One of the best ways to take advantage of this wine-growing region is to take tours of the seemingly endless number of wineries located in Napa Valley. Surrounded by the majestic, rolling hills that will likely resemble the gorgeous slopes of Tuscany to any who have visited there, these tours will be a great way to get a taste (literally!) of the natural wonders of the Napa Valley as well as get a hands-on look at how some of your favorite wines are created. Usually, these tours take you on a guided tour around their various crops of grapes, then give you a behind-the-scenes look at how their winery operates, from the crushing of the grapes to a glimpse at the carefully-maintained barrels that infuse the grapes with the winery’s signature flavor. These tours can be a great way to get a behind-the-scenes look at how your favorite wines are crafted – and many times they offer free wine tasting as part of the package!
Napa Valley is truly one of the most exquisite regions of California. Covered in glorious vine-lined hills and dotted with quaint little towns that truly make you feel like king or queen for the weekend, taking a trip to this luxurious northern California valley will surely be a highlight of your year.
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Mark Adams is a specialized writer in Travel & Tourism related topics. He wrote many articles regarding San Francisco Tours and many more articles can be found at Golden Horizon Travel and San Francisco Tours