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Napa Valley AVA, California

Of all the American Viticultural Area, Napa Valley AVA in Napa Valley County, California is one of the most popular. Basically, American Viticultural Areas are designated regions in the US where wine grape-growing is a prime and basic industry. To date, there are about 190 AVAs in the country. The areas grow at least 85% of grapes for wine-making in their regions.
Annually, there are about 4.7 million tourists who come to Napa Valley AVA. The yearly figure makes the region the No. 2 most popular tourism destination in the state, following of course, the legendary Disneyland. As a wine region, Napa Valley is no doubt the best and most visited there is in all of California. The number of wineries growing grape varieties in Napa Valley exceeds 340. Some of the popular grape varieties are Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir.
In 1976, the Paris Wine Tasting concluded that Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are better than more famous French wine labels. The conclusion was made after a blind tasting study. The results just concretized the reputation of the region as a truly world-class wine-producing region.

Geography

The geographic and topographic features of Napa Valley make the region very ideal for grape cultivation. The Mayacamas Mountain Range flanks the valley floor to the west and to the north. On the eastern side, Vaca Mountains border the region. There are some other smaller valleys that exist within the ranges.
The soil quality is best for growing the finest quality of grapes. The southern portion of the valley is comprised of soil with sediments from San Pablo Bay. Soil at the north valley on the other hand contains great volume of volcanic ash and lava. Volcanic soil is very much full of essential nutrients and minerals that are best for crops like grapes. The quality of soil is complemented by the rich Mediterranean climate and geology. Microclimates are strategic as well and provide a practically conducive grape-growing condition.

History

In the middle of the 19th century, wine grapes were first planted in Napa Valley. Before the end of the 1800s, grape wine production in the area was established. Prior to the 20th century, there were about 140 wineries in the region. Many of those old grape wineries still exist to date and are serving as additional landmarks and attractions to Napa Valley tourists. These include Beringer, Chateau Montelena, Beaulieu, Charles Krug and Markham Vineyards.
The new era of quality grape-wine making in Napa Valley started in 1938, when Beaulieu hired expert winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff. He introduced a handful of innovative procedures and techniques in regional wine production. The industry got a first glimpse of cold fermentation, malolactic fermentation, wine aging and frost prevention, which are all among the best and most reliable wine making techniques known to mankind.

Tourism and tourist destinations

While wine tourism is the main attraction in the region, there are still numerous landmarks, sceneries and historic structures that never fail to draw in countless visitors every year. Do you aim to get a quick tour of the vineyards? The famous Napa Valley Wine Train will facilitate a leisurely journey across the breathtaking wine county. The three-hour train journey is not just a ride in restored and interesting vintage rail cars. Many tourists want to experience the train ride to get a taste of the exquisite culinary experience as well. If you are out to find the best restaurants in the region, the train certainly will facilitate a unique and non-conventional venue. Get to choose from an array of excellent seasonal menu. The restaurants use the freshest ingredients, humanely raised meats, aromatic herbs and responsibly farmed fish catch.
Pottery is also a sprouting and promising industry in Napa Valley. Visit Calistoga Pottery at Highway 29. Observing potters use their talents and skills and choosing from the most unique pots will surely be a worthwhile tourism experience. At the same time, share an affinity for cooking and food through specialized and creatively shaped food-safe glazes. Here you will find lead-free, dishwasher safe and microwaveable ceramic pots.
Do you want to travel back in time? Visit the Petrified Forest, a well-kept park that showcases 3-million year-old petrified redwood giants. Enjoy a guide walk tour to the fabulous upper meadow. A short hike surely will allow anyone to see and experience major tree exposures. Mt St Helena could be seen from the park, making the trail more exciting and fascinating. The Petrified Forest is up to this date a privately held attraction, but it is one of the most sought-after tourism sites in the region.
Want unique experiences? Come and observe the Old Faithful Geyser. This is one of the three well-known old Faithful Geysers that erupt every 40 minutes. Tourists are almost always raving as there are self-guided geothermal hikes and private moonlight viewing facilities. There are even gift shops, snack bars, exhibit halls and picnic areas to further please tourists. How about taking an aerial view of the region? The Napa Valley Aloft provides professional hot-air balloon rides over Napa Valley. The service caters to individuals and even small groups. Balloon flights start at sunrise and are available all throughout the year. As an added perk, there are even pre-flight pastries and coffee.

Nightlife

Napa Valley could be considered a rural region, but it sure knows how to throw parties for tourists. The region has several vibrant hangouts that are active after daylight hours. Guests surely paint the town red with the best-tasting wines and beverages over sumptuous delicacies. The night is always young in this side of the planet. Entertainment events start at about 6:30 pm and ends by 10:00 pm, but the party just starts after that.
Party goers and booze patrons could find the best hangout spots at Yountville, Calistoga and St. Helena. The most happening events in Napa Valley’s nightlife scene occur on weekend nights, when locals and tourists take time to interact with each other and enjoy friendly drinks and party happenings.

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