Napa Valley Wine District 2015While the history of Napa is quite old into pre-history, I'm starting with the wine era, which was established commercially in 1861 by the Krug family. It's obvious by taking a walk through the wine section of a store that there are many many more wineries now (strangely a lot owned by the same companies). The area is definitely geared to tourism now too, with tasting rooms dotting the roads that are up to 55 mph in speed. Try pulling out onto one of those, around a blind corner after a few hours of tastings... (I know, I have done it. It's sphincter clenching tense).
The ArrivalI had flown into San Francisco airport and rented a car. I chose to stay in Sacramento. While it is an hour from the valley, they have quite a few full service hotels and decent rates. Hotels in the valley are bank-breaking expensive.
The ValleyI am focusing on the valley and the wineries. The town is ok, but it's really a town, not a wine town or tourist town, just a regular town.
SummaryA great way to find out if you enjoy wines without splunking down cash for bottles sight unseen. Tastings vary from free to $99 or more. But I find when you do the tasting, they tend to break out more special hidden bottles if you spend more time and ask them things about the wines.
Also many will comp the tasting if you join their wine club, which is a mixed bag. You can get wines that are very hard to find, but they are definitely near retail price. You can find most of them cheaper by shopping carefully. Taste there, buy later.
The valley is beautiful and Calistoga is a real old west town. There is so much to see. I have been 4, maybe 5 times and barely scratched just this valley.