Napa Valley, America's premier wine-growing appellation, is just 30 miles long and a few miles wide at its broadest point. Internationally renowned as one of the world's great wine regions, Napa Valley is just 1/8 the size of Bordeaux, France and produces just four percent of the total wine grown in California annually.
Napa Valley: Great Wine Grapes Make Great Wine
There's no better place on earth for growing wine grapes than Napa Valley. But everyone know that Napa Valley is renowned for its wines. Why should you care about wine grapes? Here's why.
The very character of any wine comes from the grapes that go into it. And the character of those grapes is firmly rooted in the place where they are grown.
Napa Valley is located approximately 60 miles north of San Francisco. Bounded on both sides by mountains, the Napa Valley stretches 30 miles in a northwesterly direction. Its width ranges from five miles at its widest point, near the city of Napa, to just a mile near Bennett Lane Winery and the city of Calistoga.
The valley's topography changes with its length, from the wind swept estuarine flats and gentle hills in the south to the valley's narrow conclusion at the town of Calistoga, which is cradled between the sheer walls of the Palisades at the foot of Mount St Helena and the forested Mayacamas Mountains to the west.
Within the Napa Valley, regions have emerged that possess a distinct micro-climate and terrain, imprinting recognizable characteristics on the grapes within them. Each of these regions is designated an American Viticultural Area(AVA). The Napa Valley itself is an AVA, with 15 approved AVAs currently existing within its borders. This diversity creates ideal growing conditions for an abundant number of grape varieties and world-renowned wines.
Today, approximately 40,000 acres are planted to wine grapes, representing less than 10% of the county's total acreage. And while our reputation in the world of wine is huge, it may surprise you to know that only 4% of California's total wine production comes from the Napa Valley.