Napa Valley

Avalon, Napa County, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, $19.99

Columbus Circle Liquor


There is so much to say about Napa Valley, so I'll just scratch the surface.

When we think of California wine, what’s the first place that comes to mind? Inevitably, it’s Napa Valley, which became an AVA in 1983. As Bordeaux is to France and Tuscany is to Italy, so is Napa to California. Unlike Bordeaux and Tuscany, however, which respectively produce an appreciable percentage of France’s and Italy’s premium wines, the Napa Valley produces only about 4 to 5 percent of California’s wine. As a matter of fact, the entire North Coast AVA, which includes the superstar California appellations of Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties, produces about 15 percent of California’s total wine output. An equally important fact is that on an annual basis wines produced in the Napa Valley account for at least 20 percent of the total value of all of California’s wines.

There are more than 450 wineries in the Napa Valley, most of them producing fin wines on asmall to medium scale. There are also more than 700 farmers, some of whom also make wine but most grow grapes to sell to Napa’s Wineries. Despite, or perhaps because of, the limited amount of wine produced, there is no denying that the American and foreign wine-loving public identifies Napa Valley as the seat of quality in California. While it is true that not every varietal wine produced in the Napa valley is world-class, there is no doubt that if the gods of the vintage cooperate, a wine labeled as Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is going to be a fine wine.

Napa Valley is justifiably famous for its wines and wine culture, and it attracts millions of visitors each year to celebrate the vine. The Napa Valley and its sixteen subappellations make up extraordinarily diverse wine region. Soils, drainage, climates, elevations, age of vine, and viticulture and viniculture practice vary widely across the region.