Among one of the original counties of the state of California, Napa county sits in the northern area of California and was once well known for the crops it produced. It is a relatively small county whose population was put at 136,484 during the 2010 census. Recent times has seen tragedy affect Napa county with a 6.0 magnitude earthquake hitting the area in 2014 and several wildfires in 2017. Tourists are drawn to the Napa area because of the beautiful valley, quaint towns, and luxurious boutique hotels. However, the most popular thing about Napa is the wine industry. Despite the recent tragedies the wine industry in Napa continues to thrive. There are wine tastings and people who are curious about wines flocking to Napa Valley every year.
A history of wine in Napa Valley
Vines have been planted in California as far back as the 17th century, the first vineyards were cultivated by missionaries and used to make religious wines so the grapes came to be known as mission grapes. It was not until the 18th century that commercial vineyards began to be developed and Napa Valley got its start in the wine industry. Settlers like George Calvert Yount and a man called John Patchett are credited as the first to begin planting, cultivating and producing wine in Napa. Charles Krug went on to establish the very first winery in Napa. Original vineyards carried nonspecific varieties of grapes but with time more known vinifera were brought in from overseas and planted as well.
Grape varieties of Napa Valley
Today there is a wide variety of grapes grown in Napa valley compared to early years. Napa valley’s Mediterranean climate and its closeness to the Pacific Ocean make it ideal for growing a number of grape varieties. The most popular grapes grown in Napa valley are Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, however, there are other varieties grown in several vineyards like
- Pinot Noir
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Pinot Meunier
- Pinot Blanc
- Petit Verdot and Malbec
These grapes are used to make many varietal and blended wines that are consumed in the United States and exported as well. The many climates in Napa valley help develop the grapes acidity and sugar levels that give its wines their unique aromas and flavors.
Vineyards in Napa Valley
Although vineyards did not begin to be cultivated until the late 18th century, there are now over 400 vineyards and wineries in Napa Valley and as at the year 2016, 46,000 acres (18,000 hectares) of cultivated vineyards. Visitors can take tours, host events and parties in these vineyards and also have wine tastings while touring caves and wine cellars. The vineyards of Napa Valley are so popular that they attract about 5 million visitors yearly
Napa Valley has gone from being a latecomer to the wine industry to becoming the most visited wine region in the world. It is now on par with older wine regions like those in France and Italy. One of its most attractive features is the wine train which gives you a chance taste of wines from different wineries in Napa Valley by making trips to several wineries. Some of the best and most expensive wines made in Napa Valley include Bryant family vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon, and Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc.