It's no big surprise that visitors to the California wine country focus primarily on wine, but we’ve got our share of fantastic breweries up here too. Whether it’s a trip for a beer-loving pal who needs an extra push to get out of the city, or you just want a refreshing way to cleanse your palate between wineries, we've got you covered.
This is the first installment in a series of blogs that will examine the different AVAs of Napa Valley and what makes them special. We'll highlight one famous winery and one hidden gem in each region.
An American Viticulture Area (AVA) is a designated grape growing region that has specific and identifiable characteristics as defined by geography, history, and climate. The variances between AVAs lead to significantly different flavors in grapes and wine and the exact spot where the grapes are grown plays a significant role in what you like and don’t. We decided to feature Calistoga first as it’s the most recent region to be granted a separate AVA status in Napa Valley (although Coombsville is well on it’s way)
It's harvest in the wine country and for a winemaker that means it's time to start picking grapes (determined primarily based on the sugar content, measured in Brix) but for the rest of is it’s all about picking the right harvest parties to attend. Most wineries have at least one harvest party, starting as early as September and running through November, which range from grape stomps to black tie formals. These are almost always the best parties of the year and usually require reservations. Here are some of our top recommendations this year:
The wine industry is busy with harvest but it’s a three-day weekend for you, so why not a trip to the wine country for a little relaxation and celebration? September has been officially dubbed California Wine Month, so there’s a ton going on in general and many wineries will be having last minute Labor Day specials. Here are some notable deals and special events for those of you who haven’t yet decided how you want to celebrate another year of hard work.
When visiting Napa, sometimes you want to get dolled up and be treated like royalty and other times you just want to keep it casual. Here are some of my favorite tasting experiences for the times when you want to sip excellent wines in your t-shirt and jeans.
There may not be as many places to stay in Napa Valley as there are in San Francisco, but I’d wager my weight in wine that they are just as diverse. From exclusive resorts to motels out of horror movies, we’ve got it all and plenty to choose from. Some of the most elegant and exclusive resorts in Napa Valley can be found on our list of the best spas and most romantic things to do and here are more favorites from North to South (upvalley-downvalley, as we say):
There are few things better than starting (or ending) a day in the wine country with a lavish spa treatment. While I prefer a deep tissue massage to finish off a day of wine tasting, others like to escape for weekends at a time into mud baths, facials and detoxifying soaks. No matter what your pleasure, there is no more opulent place to spa than amidst the vines, where creative treatments range from mineral-enriched clay and volcanic skin detoxifiers to cabernet baths for couples. Here is a list of my favorite spots for treatments in the Valley.
It seems paradoxical that there are thousands of brands with “Napa” on the label and only about 450 wineries in Napa Valley, but the truth is that you don’t need a winery to launch a successful wine brand. The practice of using custom crush facilities and collectives has been flourishing for quite some time now, but companies like Crushpad are starting to take it to the next level.
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