The Napa Valley has been called the “heart and soul of the California wine industry”. Within this 150 square mile valley can be found the greatest concentration of vineyards and wineries in the U.S. Thirty miles long and only five miles wide, this narrow stretch of land is embraced by two mountain ranges. The craggy, volcanic profile of the eastern mountains spans the length of the Valley. To the west, mountains reaching 2.700 feet in elevation capture the cooling effect of Pacific Ocean air. The complex mosaic of soils including fertile clay and loam in the south, gravel loams in the north, and near perfect weather creates positive conditions for growing grapes for world-renowned wines. The climate ranges from the cool Region I found in the southern part of the Valley near San Francisco Bay to the warm Region III in the northernmost parts of the Valley. Napa Valley was called “beautiful land” by its original inhabitants over 4,000 years ago. Today, vintners and growers conserve its natural beauty.
In 1838 the first vineyards were planted in Napa County, some 13 years after those in neighboring Sonoma County, by George Yount. In 1859 Samuel Brannan, bought three square miles of the Valley and planted vinifera grapes. By the close of the 1870’s there were over 18,000 acres of vineyards in the county. Today, Napa County stands as one of the premier grapegrowing and wine producing areas in the world. Its Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignons rank with the world’s best.
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