Napa Valley is just 30 miles long and a few miles wide,
 but is home to over 400 wineries.

We first visited Napa mid October and the valley was busy harvesting and crushing.  The entire valley had the smell of wine in the air.   We were staying at Vineyard RV Park in Vacaville at the time...

You can drive yourself or hire a limo to take you from winery to winery, but whatever you do, Grgich Winery is one stop that we particularly enjoyed along the way through Napa to Calistoga.   Be on the look-out for little signs that may appear outside a winery that will tell you that they're picking today, crushing today or any other special event that you may find interesting.    That's how we found the first winery we stopped at, because of a sign that read "Stomping Today"...

Grgich Winery
I believe they are the only winery that will actually let you stomp grapes in a large wine barrel.  There's a small fee and operates on a first come, first serve basis.  It's fun, easy and something that may be on your bucket list!   Yes, your feet do get purple and you can have your purple feet immortalized on a special t-shirt (for an additional cost).  The purple hoses off, so don't be afraid of hopping in and taking out an agression or two.  lol....

We were also able to see forklifts dump large containers of just picked grapes onto a conveyor belt.  There, several workers picked out stems and any imperfect grapes before they went directly into the tanks.

This winery has a rich history in the California Wine story.  Mike Grgich's bottle of wine that beat the French for the first time in a blind taste test, is sitting in the Smithsonian Museum. 

The folks at this winery were the friendliest we met that day in our various stops and we thank manager, Ken Morris for his hospitality.

1829 St. Helena Hwy
(707) 963-2784
St. Helena, California

The Wine Train also stops at this winery

We also stopped at three other wineries that day... Sterling, Rubicon (Francis Ford Coppola/Inglenook)  and Castello di Amorsa. Sterling was fun because you need to take a gondola to the tasting room. The Rubicon was kind of snooty but the history involved is really something you don't want to miss.

My personal favorite was Castello di Amorsa.   It was built to resemble, in every way, an authentic Italian medieval castle complete with moat, drawbridge and peasants quarters outside the castle where they raise sheep.   Construction and materials used in the building of the castle were the same as they were 1,000 years ago.  More than 8,000 tons of stone were chiseled, not sawed, by hand to be absolutely authentic. 20 cargo loads of materials and furniture were brought from Europe.   If something had to be crafted, it was created in the same way, using the same tools and methods as during medieval times.

Castelleo Di Amorosa
4045 North Saint Helena Highway
Calistoga, CA 94515

For reservations please call 707-967-6272

Call 707-967-6272


Napa Valley Tours:

California Wine Tours

Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Valley Bike/Wine Tours

Napa Wine Tours

Napa Valley Wine Country Tours

Napa Valley Bi-Plane Tours

The best, most organized and complete website on wine in the Napa Valley.  You can find all the wineries, tasting rooms and activities sponsored by the various vintners here...

The Society houses a research library and changing exhibition gallery. Programs,
lectures and events are also held in the Jess Doud Memorial Room. Open Tuesday -
Saturday from 12 pm - 4 pm or by appointment.

The name Napa appears to come from a southern Nappan village who, for centuries,
shared the land  with elk, deer, grizzlies, cougars and was rich with wild grapes.
The City of Napa was founded by Nathan Coombs in 1847. John Patchett opened the
first commercial winery in the county in 1859.

Many Bear Flag Riders, and Salvador Vallejo are buried at the nearby Tulocay Cemetery. (more on their story under our posts about Sonoma)

The 2010 United States Census reported that Napa had a population of 76,915.

More than 50 varieties of grapes are grown in the California Wine Country.






Napa Valley wines have been named the official wine of the America's Cup race, the Louis Vuitton Challengers Series, and several World Series regattas taking place from November 2011 through September 2013.


My Favorite Discovery...

My favorite discovery during our day in Napa, was The Culinary Institute of America located in St. Helena.  This is the foremost cooking school in the United States with 3 campus locations, Napa, New York and Texas.

Greystone is certainly impressive.  You can go there for an incredible meal in their Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant, visit their Spice Islands Marketplace, attend cooking demonstrations, lectures, tours or sign up for a weekend bootcamp.

If you're into fine dining, cooking, baking or wine pairings, Greystone is a must stop on your tour of the Napa Valley.   Makes me want to be a student again!  You can get an associates degree in baking and pastries!...that sounds like me!

Be sure to take your truck or tow vehicle into the Napa Valley.  The roads are
single lane (some narrow) and none of the wineries we visited had parking for
trailers or big rigs.

Here's a slide show of the school:

Info on tour times and cooking demonstration times and costs:

The main website:

Address for your GPS:
The college is located at 2555 Main Street, St. Helena, CA 94574
Dinner reservations: 707-967-1010



Napa is home to many fine dining experiences.  In fact, according to a June 12,
2012 article in the Chicago Times, the Napa Valley is home to two of the most
expensive restaurants in the United States.

5. Meadowood in St. Helena, California (Avg. check: $750)
4. French Laundry in Yountville, California (Avg. check: $800)

THE most expensive restaurant in the United States is...
1. Masa in New York City -- (Avg. check: $1,269)
At $450 per person before tip, you're looking at a bill that
can easily total more than $1,000 for two.




Fun Facts from Napa Valley Vinters...

One barrel of wine equals roughly 20 cases, which equals 1200 glasses.
A ton of grapes makes about 720 bottles of wine, or 60 cases.
One vine annually produces between four and six bottles of wine, or between 20 and 30 glasses.
Each bottle of wine contains about 2.8 pounds of grapes
Each 5-ounce glass of wine contains a little over half a pound of grapes.
There are between 15 and 45 clusters of grapes per vine.
One acre of land is home to between 900 and 1,300 vines.

The United States accounts for 7.2% of the world's wine production (fourth after France, Italy and Spain.

This 7.2% share of world wine production is accomplished on just 4% of the world's vineyard acreage.

U.S. wine exports totaled over $560 million in 2000, to $1.4 billion in 2011.  Who buys it?

 1. The UK
 2. Canada
 3. Netherlands
 4. Japan
 5. Switzerland
 6. Germany
 7. Belgium
 8. Denmark
 9. Ireland
10 Sweden

The U.S. accounts for 9.5% of world wine consumption at over 553 million gallons/year.
#2 Italy (over 824 million gallons)
#1 France  ( nearly 938 million gallons)

Americans drink per year:
54 gallons per capita of soft drinks
30 gallons of coffee.
 2 gallons of wine

The U.S. ranks 34th on the list of world wide wine consumption.

There are currently more than 2,700 bonded wineries in the United States, and many are small, family-owned and -operated wineries.

Napa Valley wines have been named the official wine of the America's Cup race, the Louis Vuitton Challengers Series, and several World Series regattas taking place from November 2011 through September 2013.  For those who love to RV and those who dream about it....
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