Napa Valley Vineyards

Napa Valley vineyards are renowned all over the world for the superior wines they produce. Indeed, the wineries are one of the main attractions in Napa Valley, and most visitors place visiting a vineyard in Napa near the top of their Napa vacation to-do list.

The vineyards create a beautiful setting for scenic drive and relaxing outdoors in Napa, so consider introducing yourself to the area with a drive along the Silverado Trail or Highway 29. You can also go on a guided or self-guided bike tour that takes you to a number of Napa Valley vineyards. One tour even lets you ride through vineyards—a unique treat. Another way to take in a lot of vineyard scenery at once is on the Napa Wine Train, and many shuttle tours also offer packages that include tours at wineries.

Napa Valley vineyards are found throughout all the local towns, including Napa, Calistoga, St. Helena, and Yountville. Many Napa wineries offer tours of their property, though not all do. Plan ahead if you want to take a tour of a vineyard in Napa, as many wineries will also require that you make reservations for your tours. If you're staying at a Napa Valley hotel, you can also check to see if your concierge has any coupons for wine tastings or vineyards tour.

One of the great St Helena vineyards is at the Quintessa winery. Quintessa was developed in 1989 and is unique among Napa Valley vineyards because the land had never been planted with grapes before. This 280-acre property is focused on producing a unique vintage each year. A tour of these St Helena vineyards also encompasses the winery and caves, where up to 3,000 bottles of wine age at any given time. Tours of Quintessa do require reservations, so plan ahead. Other St Helena vineyards that produce excellent wine include St Clement and its neighbor, Markham.

More of the great Napa Valley vineyards to check out are those at Rubicon in Rutherford. The Rubicon winery offers a great tour, during which you'll visit vineyards, taste Estate wines, and visit the Centennial Museum. This tour is particularly suited to those interested in Napa history.

An additional vineyard in Napa that is wonderful to visit is Domaine Chandon. Domaine Chandon has 1,000 acres of vineyards throughout Yountville, Carneros, and Mount Veeder, and these different areas of vineyards each contribute different characteristics to the wines. Mount Veeder's good drainage is important for Chardonnay, while Carneros' cool and breezy climate is important for sparkling wines, and Yountville's slightly warmer climate is good for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Domaine Chandon offers a variety of vineyard tours, including guided and private tours; tastings can be included in the tour, or you can pass on the tastings for a reduced rate on the tour itself.

Whether you want a detailed guided tour of a vineyard in Napa or are content to take in the scenery along a bike ride or from the train windows, the vineyards are a unique and unforgettable part of any Napa vacation.

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