Napa Valley - United States

Don Francis Castro and Father Jose Altimura were the first Europeans to explore the Napa Valley in 1823. When the first white settlers arrived in the early 1830s, there were six tribes in the valley speaking different dialects and they were often at war with each other. The Mayacomos tribe lived in the area where Calistoga was founded. The Callajomans were in the area near where the town of St. Helena now stands. Further south, the Kymus dwelt in the middle part of the valley. The Napa and Ulcus tribes occupied part of the area where the City of Napa now exists while the Soscol tribe occupied

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Discussion on Napa Valley

ajsarabia :

I comming to SF in May and I'm planning a side trip to Napa. Which of the following would give me the best Napa Valley experience and why? Balloon Ride over Napa Valley Bike Tour of Napa Valley Wine Train Tour of Napa Valley

aly :
"bike tour because you would be able to stop whenever you wanted to look around, take pictures etc. on a balloon ride it is very beautiful but you cant stop a balloon whenever you want and on the wine train you eat and have scheduled stops, the wine train is very nice also but I think if you are only going to do one the bike tour is definitly the best just becuase of the freedom you will have for what you want to look at and stop for when you are there. Have fun!"
OC1999 :
"One of the biggest reasons to go to Napa Valley is to experience the Wines. For that I would say go on the Wine Train. This will give you a tour of the area as well as the chance to sample different wines. The Bike Tour would be a close second but you would get a lot of scenery but not sure how much of the wine you could actually sample as that probably would not go well with ridding a bike."
Lisa H :
"I would do the bike tour. Weather should be nice. Balloon ride is really expensive and you have to go before the sun is up. Wine Train is completely overrated and you can get better food elsewhere. There are no scheduled stops on the wine train and you can only eat and drink whatever food/wine is on the train. You cannot get off the train anywhere. It leaves Napa, goes up the valley and back."
matthew654654 :
"The wine train makes the most sense. It's a bit costly, but a lot of fun. The bike tour sounds like a pain. I've seen groups of bikes go by on hwy 12 (etc), and the shoulder at certain places is quite narrow. I'm not a biker, just my personal opinion. I think your best bet is to drive to the various wineries & begin to learn about (and drink) the wines. Make sure you go to some of the smaller wineries. You'll have a better chance to talk to the actual winemakers... as well, as a better chance for free wine-tasting (a thing that seems to be more and more rare in Napa)."
lucky23b :

My friends and I are planning to scoot up through napa for day. Has anyone ever driven themselves around up there? any advice to show napa to yourself? Can you just stop by wineries? Any in particular you shouldnt miss?? any advice in general or tips would be appreciated!!

Penguin_Bob :
"Google Napa Valley and see what comes up. There are a lot of wineries out there and most have tours. Check online for the hours. Great restaurants too. Try to get a lunch or dinner reservation at the French Laundry Restaurant. It's recognized as the best in North America. Worth the trip just for that. Enjoy!!"
blaqisbaq :
"I prefer Sonoma County(hi-way 12) since it's easier to navigate to the wineries since they are all on the same path. I recommend in the cities of Glen Ellen & Kenwood: Mayo, Kunde, Ledson, St. Francis, Chateau St. Jean & Kenwood Lot of the Sonoma wineries may not charge to taste which is a BIG plus. Drive safely!!"
Lee N :
"I visit the wine country frequently to take photos and gather info for my website; iNeTours.com where there is a section on the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. The East side of the Napa Valley is a much nicer drive, especially for someone who has not been there before. It's called the Silverado Trail and there is much less traffic, it's more scenic and there are fewer, but still dozens of wineries. You might consider driving up the Silverado Trail to Calistoga and just stop at any winery that seems interesting. You can see many of them from the road before having to make the turn. Once in Calistoga (a good place to eat lunch), you could head back down the west side of the valley. If you do that you might want to plan to stop at Castello di Amorosa (the just completed, dozen plus year project by Daryl Sattui - yes it is a huge castle) and Beringer which is a little further down the road just as you get to St. Helena. A tip for wine tasting. Be sure to drink as much water as you do wine and don't hesitate to spit wine into the provided receptacles to avoid overindulging. It's not considered bad manners, but instead a sign of a knowledgeable taster."
william m :
"Tips: Go early. Traffic can stack up on some of the main roads. Have a designated driver! Some wineries will give, free of charge, non alcoholic drinks for the DD. Get a map of the wine country and plot a course. There are many main roads and side roads. If you come up with a "plan" you will spend less time driving and more time tasting."
shoresofshells :
"Its easy. Just pick three or four wineries to visit. Usually my friends and I visit three. I prepick and map my route and take a picnic with me and just add a few items if we feel like it on the way. I agree that Sonoma is easier and very pleasant. Chateau St. Jean is very nice for picnic as is Kunde (buy a bottle and enjoy on patio). Mayo has a reservation only wine and food pairing that is fun too. Buena Vista near Sonoma proper is also one of the oldest wineries and very nice picnic spot. Other favorite area is Carneros also out of the traffic path. Gloria Ferrer Champagne tour, Artesa for cool building, Hess for art gallery. Just choose and group pretty close to each other (but not too close) and enjoy the scenic ride."
Mr. PhD :
"There are lots of great places to see in the Napa Valley. Stay at a B&B if possible. You can also stop by the many spas in the area. For wineries, I stay off the beaten path. I prefer the smaller places which you can find off of Highway 29 or the Silverado Trail. For lunch you can go to Satui in St. Helena. Grab a bottle of wine, sandwich, cheese, bagette and have a relaxing time. For dinner, try the Napa Valley Wine train or Greystone (the Culinary Institute of America's restaurant). If you make reservations well in advance and have a lot of cash to blow, go to the French Laundry in Yountville You can't go wrong."
Screamer :
"I liked Sonoma better."
Mia S :
"We always drive when we are in Napa Valley. Stop by a hotel and pick up a valley map with all the wineries. Another great way to plan is via as there are tasting coupons, hours, directions, and links to websites here. Most of the big wineries are "just show up" for the tastings. If you want to do any tours, however, then you'll need an appointment. My recommendations for beginning to internediate wine drinkers would be the following: Start the day with a tour of Beringer. Splurge on the reserve room tasting - it's really really worth it. This tour is one of the most imformative on the valley and will get you set up for the day. Beaulieu Vineyards (BV) is a great winery to visit because they give a wide variety of wines for a low tasting fee. Great way to try a bunch of different varietals. Raymond - middle quality Cabs and Merlots for a fair price. It's still family run with a great staff. Cosentino Winery can be a bit of a madhouse if you go late in the day, but they have a HUGE selection of wines and the quality is pretty darn good. Last time I was there it was more of a party environment and a blast. On the way out of town, hit Domaine Carneros. Sit down and split a couple of champagne courses paired with cheese. The place looks like a French Champagne House and the bubbly is pretty good. Insider tip: East of the main town of St. Helena is a Safeway. Stop there to get waters and sandwiches for everyone in your group and eat picnic style at one of the wineries or vineyards. It's a great way to save money and still have a blast. Wineries to not waste time at: Andretti - overpriced poor quality wines Opus One - Unless you just want to say you did it Rubicon/Coppola - $25 a person just to enter the estate Clos Pegase - mediocre wines, but a gorgeous winery Franciscan - Madhouse and unfriendly staff. Wines are not to my liking Sterling has a great tram ride, but it eats up a lot of time and the wines are only so-so Cakebread - I keep hearing about how good their wines are, but I've been to two tastings and didn't care for them Hope this helps get you on the right path!"
Kathy H :
"There are so many wineries in Napa and each has its unique things to offer....which ones you will like depends on your interests. Most wineries in Napa charge from $5 - $30 per person for wine tasting. V. Sattui is not charging during the month of November. You can learn more about the wineries in Napa (and print free wine tasting coupons) at this site:."
Outlier :

I had heard a while back that ther was some uber-tasting-room getting set up in Napa which would have comprehensive selection of all Napa Valley Wines. Does anyone know if this has happened, or will happen, and what the name of the place is? Also does anyone know of a really good Napa Valley Winery map that points to all the wineries? Thanks!! John.

chefgrille :
"For a good wine store, it's JV Wine & Spirits. But if you want those multiple wine tasting rooms, there are EIGHT downtown alone. Look up the visitor's center or napadowntown.com or downtownnapa.com (Can't remember in which order they go!) At the visitor's center in the Town Center you can pay $20 for a card that will get you tastings at any of the eight places for any wine. The tasting rooms say they charge ten cents, but they usually waive it if you have that card. It's fun! I live here, but it's a fun thing to do with guests from out of town. You can email me if you have more questions."

 

Comments on Napa Valley

budc
Date: 2008-02-05 17:10:10

Online travel guides for destinations around the world. Most popular: Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Napa Valley wineries, Carmel galleries, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Caribbean, New Zealand, Thailand


backagain
Date: 2008-02-05 17:10:10

YOUVE heard of the Napa Valley, of course, and if you like chardonnay you probably know about the Edna Valley as well. But what do you know about the Mimbres Valley or the Umpqua Valley? Sonoma is a familiar name, but what about Sonoita? They are all American Viticultural Areas, or A.V.A.s as wine people call them.


bluearrow
Date: 2008-02-05 17:10:10

The panel took a closer look at lower-end Napa Valley cabernets by tasting bottles that cost $50 or less.


agnivo007
Date: 2008-02-05 17:10:10

WineFornewbies.com has its first online wine tasting. The wine tasted was Napa Valley's Annabella Merlot 2005, a dark, rich red wine that goes wonderfully with pasta or a juicy burger.




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