Napa Wine


There is some debate over how this famous wine region got its name. Spanish settlers named the Native American tribe that originally inhabited the area “Wappo,” and some say this is a derivation of “guapo” meaning “handsome,” while others say it means “brave,” with Napa being a further spin-off. Another legend is that Napa is a Wappo word for the land itself. Regardless, with its Mediterranean climate and diverse terroirs, this land eventually became one of the most important wine regions in the world. 
The first vineyards in Napa were planted in 1836 by George Calvert Yount in what is now the town of Yountville. In the 1850s, Thomas Rutherford, who married Yount’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Yount, established the first vineyard in what would become Rutherford town. The first commercial winery was established by Charles Krug in the 1860s. Soon, the likes of Inglenook, Beringer and Schramsberg and many others set up their wineries Read more »

Mentor for Napa Wines

Craig Donofrio

Craig Donofrio is an Advanced Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers and has worked and consulted for some of the nation's top restaurants. He is chief food/wine photographer at Grapevine Studios (

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Popular wines made in Napa under $20

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Varietals Produced in Napa View all

  • Syrah

    The irony here is that Syrah’s origins could give Carmen Sandiego a run for her international wallet. Syrah’s deepest...

  • Merlot

    The Occitanian word “merlot” translates to “young blackbird.” An accurate description for this popular, early-budding...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc is widely grown in California -- at over 15,000 acres, it’s now the third most planted variety -- and...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Zinfandel

    Parentage of the grape: Crljenak to Austria to America. In the 1970s, claims surfaced that the Italian Primitivo is l...

  • Chardonnay

    British wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, once noted that throughout the 80’s and 90’s in the United States, C...

Subregions of Napa

  • Carneros

    Los Carneros- The first AVA one comes to as one splits off the Napa Vallejo Highway and takes rou...

  • Stags Leap District

      Stags Leap District is located on the famous Silverado Trail of the Napa Valley region in ...

  • Yountville

    To the south of Oakville and comprised virtually entirely of valley floor land, Yountville is the...

Popular Wineries in Napa View all

  • Eagle's Trace

    All great wines have a sense of place. The French call it terroir - the site, the soil and the cl...

  • CrauforD Wine Co.

    Crauford Wine Company was founded in 2000 by Marilyn Crawford Corley, whose family originated in ...

  • Three Thieves

    You may have heard the tale of the Three Thieves, three regular guys who threw away centuries of ...

  • Jade Mountain

    History Since 1988, Jade Mountain has been a pioneer in the production of age-worthy Rhône-style ...

  • Hagen Heights Vineyards

    As the French are fond of saying the quality begins with the very specific terroir or soils and w...

  • Beaucanon Estate

    Situated in beautiful Napa Valley, on the historic Longwood Ranch, Beaucanon Estate reflects the ...

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Napa on Snooth

  • Heitz Grignolino 2000


    This was given to me by my brother-in-law who found it in an estate. I have no reason to believe that this wine was stored in anything like preferred conditions. However, the bottle looked great and the fill looked good. The cork crumbled when I pulled it. So, that was not a good sign. However, the color in the glass was good--red plum with... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard 2012


    Nose of dark fruit. Dark purple color. Blackberry, blueberry, currant on the ... ... Not as tannic as many Napa examples, but, still, a sturdy win Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Rutherford Ranch Napa Valley Merlot 2016


    Pretty garnet color. Very light nose. Gentle introduction of red cherry on the tip of the tongue, Some nice acid tartness. Otherwise a very soft wine. It does have good tannin though. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2016


    Lots of dark fruit on entry--blueberry, currant--and the slight sweetness sensation might suggest dried fruit. I'm a tad surprised that a wine this young isn't "rougher." Tannin is observable. Acid is observable. However, the wine is approachable in its youth. I get some roughness under the rear palate, but nothing to worry about. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Robert Keenan Cabernet Franc 2007


    Nice dark color. Nose of dark berries. Serious hit of blackberry (perhaps, overripe) on the tip of the tongue. Interestingly, this fruitiness diminishes substantially with subsequent sips, Completely resolved tannins. Still nice acid, though. Some slate or other minerality under the rear palate. Very enjoyable.. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Ha! Your last paragraph is the ultimate in cynical!I agree with you ... an issue with high-end Napa wines - you can find formerly "cult" wines at Total these days, e.g. Schrader, Bryant, Colgin. The problem with those expensive wines is that they get a lot of press but they make wine seem out of reach for Joe Average. Add to that the Reidel gla... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Northwest Wineries

  • I agree that young people seem to be going more toward craft beer and all ... ... vineyards?  I'd say Napa/Sonoma, the many AVA in Washington (and so the population of greater Seattle), BC Okanagan (and the proximity of Vancouver), that people are interested in local wine and they enjoy it and purchase it.  Meiomi is bioengineering in a glass,... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Northwest Wineries

  • Yeah I tasted a bunch of them. And that Chinese mystery billionaire is talked ... creating the first Las Vegas/Napa tourist attraction and will probably make a lot of money but it will change the area for the worst. He should invest in Singapore instead."John Skinner was told by his California distributor that his Painted Rock wines, some of t... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Northwest Wineries

  • Zuf - it's mostly just rambling!Jack - just looked at that article in WS. I ... the east and west sides of Napa Valley. It's interesting to see a relatively new area coming into being. There's still a mix of hippie types, corporate types, old line farming families and new ambitious people making their first foray into wine. I wonder if it will ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Northwest Wineries

  • These are farmers up there, whether they're growing wheat or onions or ... ... ... Walla, burbling up from Napa then Willamette. But generally that's had very little to do with life in eastern Washington for a long time.Nice recaps, Greg, thanks for taking time to write them. This is just a drive by for me and I'll take more time in the next ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Northwest Wineries

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