The legendary Napa Valley is a region of in-
comparable natural beauty and is the quint-
essential wine country destination. Located
just over an hour’s drive north of San Fran-
cisco, Napa Valley is bounded to the west by
the Mayacamas Mountains and to the east by
the Vaca Range. The appellation stretches 30
miles in a northwesterly direction, starting
with the windswept flats and gentle hills of
Carneros at the southern end—which is near
sea level—and rising quickly above the Valley
floor to Mount St. Helena at 4,339 feet (1,323
meters ) at the head of the valley. Dotted
along the main route, Highway 29, are small
towns from American Canyon at the south-
ern gateway to the towns of Napa, Yountville,
Oakville, Rutherford, St Helena and Calis-
toga in the north at the foot of Mt St Hel-
ena. Napa County has a population of about
135,000 and is the last of the San Francisco
Bay Area counties to count agriculture as its
top industry.
Although the most renowned wine growing
region in the United States, the Napa Val-
ley appellation is also one of the smallest
yet most diverse winegrowing regions in the
world. Only 4% of Califirnia's harvest is from
the Napa Valley appellation even though 8%
of the state’s vineyards are found here. This
is because the grape clusters are thinned to
allow only the very best to come to fruition,
resulting in harvesting at less than half the
statewide average. Yields of Cabernet Sauvi-
gnon from Napa Valley are generally 1.5 to 4
tons per acre.
The Napa Valley appellation, which includes
nearly all of Napa County, is just one-eighth
the size of Bordeaux, and is planted to ap-
proximately 45,000 acres (18,210 hectares)
of wine grapes. Only 9% of Napa County is
planted to vineyard.
Dig into what makes Napa Valley unique in
the world through this video series, featuring
author and educator Karen MacNeil and more
than two dozen vintners and industry experts.
napa valley rocks
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