Long considered California’s foremost wine region, Napa Valley first burst into the spotlight when a Chardonnay from the town of Calistoga beat 9 other competitors during a blind tasting in the 1976 ‘Judgement of Paris’, including some of the most prestigious vineyards in France. Nowadays, the valley (made up of 9 small towns) boasts Michelin star restaurants, world-class spas and many elegant hotels. Historic main streets and ‘downtowns’ are lined with locally-owned boutique shops, restaurants and tasting rooms each offering unique Napa Valley experiences. With over 400 wineries, you can expect to taste the signature Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and the rediscovered Merlot during your visit.
You can also explore a number of different towns within the neighbouring county of Sonoma. Unpretentious and relaxed, Sonoma is an excellent place to slow down, mingle with the locals and enjoy tastings at the many wineries, with over 425 to choose from around the 17 distinct wine regions. It is often the winemaker themselves that will be filling your glass in more intimate settings, providing the perfect opportunity to ask questions and learn about the area and the delicious wine it produces.
Be sure to explore the Wine Road, which is less one continuous long road but an association of wineries dating back to 1976, now boasting nearly 200 wineries nestled among the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys.