Napa Valley is a viticultural area in the United States. It is located in Napa County in the state of California. During the 2010 census, the population of the country has been found to be more than 130,000. Napa County plays a significant role in the history of California. It was one of the original counties that were created when California became a state in 1850, although portions of Napa County were given to Lake County in 1861.
Napa Valley is known for its wine production. It is known for its wine not just in the United States but in other parts of the world as well. Wine-making in the Napa Valley can be traced back to the 19th century, but the production of premium wines only started back in the 1960s.
There are 16 sub-AVA’s or American Viticultural Areas and these are the following:
- Rutherford AVA
- St. Helena AVA
- Chiles Valley AVA
- Yountville AVA
- Diamond Mountain District AVA
- Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley AVA
- Mt. Veeder AVA
- Atlas Peak AVA
- Spring Mountain District AVA
- Oakville AVA
- Calistoga AVA
- Coombsville AVA
- Los Carneros AVA
- Howell Mountain AVA
- Wild Horse Valley AVA
- Stags Leap District AVA
History of Wine-Making in the Napa Valley
Wine-making in the Napa Valley had its start in the 1860s. Local historians say that it was George C. Yount who pioneered the growing of grapes in the valley. Yount gave a thousand acres to one of his granddaughters who married Thomas Rutherford. It was Rutherfor who decided to use the land for winemaking.
It was John Patchett who established commercial winemaking in Napa Valley. He started the first commercial vineyard in the state and in 1858 started selling wine at $2 per gallon. The following year, Patchett created his first wine-cellar. In 1861 another winery was established in the Valley by Charles Krug.
Winemaking in the Napa valley didn’t always had an easy time. It did suffer some setbacks during the late 19th century and in the earlier part of the 20th century. The biggest challenges that the winemaking region suffered were the spreading of the Phylloxera vine disease and the Great Depression. But the Valley was able to recover from those blows over the years. The great moment for the winemaking region came in 1976 in the Paris Wine Tasting. Wine from Napa Valley beat other more famous French labels in the blind tasting. Because of that, Napa Valley gained a reputation for being one of the best winemaking regions in the whole world.
There are over 450 wineries in the Napa Valley today. They grow Cabernet, Savignon and other excellent grape varieties. Some winemakers produce wines from a specific AVAs, many prefer to make wines from combination of grapes that come from the valley floor and those from the hillsides.
Napa Valley as an Eco-Tourist Destination
Following in the footsteps of other famous wine regions in the world, the Napa Valley is also now a major eco-tourism destination. More than million visitors go to the valley each year and it has even been recognized as one of the top wine destinations in the world. There are many places that are worth visiting in the region and these include the Silverado Vineyard, The Hess Collection Winery, and ZD Wines among others.
But Napa Valley has more than just wineries to interest the traveler. They have world-class dining options, hot water springs, a strong arts community and spas that are all worth visiting. It is not surprising that the region has earned a reputation for being a modern-day Garden of Eden.
But at the end of the day, the importance of Napa Valley rests on its association with wine and winemaking. That is what people would have in mind whenever they hear of Napa Valley and it is not a wrong association for them to have. After-all it is one of the premiere wine-growing regions in the world.