Wine in Napa
To understand wine in Napa Valley, you need to understand the layout of the land. Napa Valley is not one consistent area but instead several winemaking regions that follow along the southward journey of the Napa River. Each region's climate determines the wines best produced in the area. For example, below the city of Napa is Los Carneros. The fog and reduced temperature of this area makes this particularly suited for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This region spans all the way north to the city of Yountville.
From Yountville to a little north of St. Helena, the weather is typically a little warmer and fog rolls in during the late afternoon. This area is great for Cabernet Sauvignon. This is probably one of the best areas for planning your visit.
North of St. Helena as you go to the unique city of Calistoga you enter an area where the weather is warmer. Here Cabernet is still grown along with Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.
Throughout all three regions, microclimates exist. This can be seen to great effect if one travels up Spring Mountain where excellent wineries include Spring Mountain Vineyard, Keenan Winery, and Schweiger Vineyards. Many of the wines produced here are exceptional.
If you are planning a trip to Napa Valley one of the ways that you can go is by taking one of the many available Napa wine tours. Alternatively, you can create your own touring plan which is the way that I like to go. If you want to know the best time of year to go, the answer is that every season holds wonderful surprises for the wine enthusiast. The climate in Napa Valley is Mediterranean-like which helps explain the amazing wines that are produced from this region. And nothing compares to enjoying a bottle of wine in Napa, gaining inspiration from the natural beauty that surrounds you.
One of the treats that I truly enjoy is receiving selections from the various wine clubs I've joined. Most wineries have wine clubs that send you selections of their wines if your state allows it. An alternative to the individual winery wine clubs is the wine of the month club that different companies offer. These introduce you to wines from various wineries and areas while helping fill up your wine racks with interesting selections.
Some people get the bug so bad after spending time drinking wine in Napa that they come home and decide to figure out how to make wine on their own. Some companies offer wine making kits while others just have supplies that you can use as you begin to make your own unique label.
Wine is a wonderful gift. It's excellent for your health and offers enough drinking complexity that it keeps your mind and your taste buds engaged. Cheers!
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