After spending two days in some of the wine regions in Sonoma, California that I described in my prior blog posts, we drove to nearby Napa Valley. You can view an interesting video created in 2002 by the Napa Valley Vintners called "Bottling Poetry," on this link which takes you through some of the fascinating highlights and history of the Napa Valley. (All photos will enlarge if clicked on once and then again when they open in a new window)
Napa Valley features more than 400 wineries that grow many grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel, and other popular varietals. From north to south the major towns to visit are Calistoga, St. Helena, Rutherford, Oakville, Yountville, and Napa. Bounded on both sides by mountains, the Napa Valley stretches approximately 30 miles in a northwesterly direction, its width ranging from five miles at the widest point near the city of Napa to just a mile where the valley narrows near the town of Calistoga.
My husband and I felt fortunate to be able to take the Vintage Heritage Tour of the Beringer Winery located at 2000 Main Street in St. Helena in Napa valley. Beringer is the oldest continuously operating winery in Napa Valley since its establishment in 1876. From their beautiful and historic Rhine House seen in the first photo upper left, to their wine aging caves which were dug into the hillside of Spring Mountain from the late 1870's, in the last photo lower right, the tour highlighted all the special features of Beringer's wine making. It also included a barrel tasting of a pre-release wine, and a sit-down tasting in their Cellar Room of 2 current-release wines.
Walking through the vineyards while sipping tastings of their famous wines was a delightful way to spend a few hours in Napa, and we learned quite a bit about the process of wine making.
Come back for my next post where we'll take a ride on the Napa Wine Train that includes a gourmet lunch and a visit to another historic winery! I'll also be visiting Food Network chef Michael Chiarello's Restaurant "Bottega" in Napa Valley.
I'm adding this post to Mary's blog The Little Red House for her "Mosaic Monday" event. Please visit Mary today to see her beautiful photo mosaic and links to all the blogs participating in her event.