Charles Krug is recognized as the first commercial wine cellar in the Napa valley in 1861. His success and leadership have caused a wave of new growth. In 1889 there were more than 140 wineries in operation, including names like Schramsberg (founded in 1862), Beringer (1876) and Inglenook (1879).
This expansion of wine-growing has soon been halted by the world-wide epidemic of Philoxerra. In Napa it is the heaviest of all of California and destroys 80% of the vines.
The dry regime from 1919 to 33 year ends what the pet parasite on the roots fails. Vineyards and wineries are abandoned over the next 14 years. Units continue to produce wine for church purposes.
With the abolition of the dry regime, the wine industry in Napa Valley begins its slow recovery. In the ensuing period, John Daniel Jr. resurrected Inglenook, Georges de Latour restored Beaulieu Vineyards (BV), Louise Martini built his wine cellar, and the Mondavi family bought Charles Krug. Andre Chelischef, a Russian emigrant working in France, arrives in the Napa Valley to work for Beaulieu and becomes one of the great figures and teachers in the history of wine in the Napa Valley.
The arrival of Napa Valley on the world's wine map took place in one day - May 24, 1976, the day of the Parisian tasting, which became known as the Paris Sentence. This comparative tasting places Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay from California against the best wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy in a blind tasting. When the tasting ends, the winners are Chateau Montelena Chardonnay and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, both of Napa valley.
The next day, the whole world learns the sensational news, and the French press is guiltily silent. The irony is that the tasting in question was organized by a British importer of French wine in England and aimed at highlighting the advantages of French wines to those of the New World - something the judges themselves found to be completely natural. So Frenchmen on French soil in a blind test are responsible for the rise of Napa and the whole of California to this day. Touché!
The Napa Valley is only fifty kilometers long and a few wide. It borders two mountain ranges - Vaca to the east and Mayacama to the west. Peak St. Elena is at the northern end of the valley where it ends in Calistoga. At the southern end, the valley opens to San Pablo Bay, connected to San Francisco Bay.
Within the Napa AVA Valley, there are 14 AVAs with separate microclimates and terrains formed by a diverse topographic configuration of hills, exposures, and heights. The Napa Valley AVA is also part of the North Coast AVA
The two mountain ranges of Napa Valley were created during the formation of the San Andreas Gorge. The Vaka mountain range, which is on the eastern border of the valley, protects against the heat of the Central Valley, while the Maiakama Mountains divide Napa to the west of the cool oceanic influences and neighboring Sonoma County. The hills and hills that are in the lower part of the valley are the result of huge landslides from the Vaca Mountains many years ago and they are shaping the micro-climatic regions here. The Napa Valley enjoys a Mediterranean climate with a long vegetation period on sunny warm days followed by cool evenings.
Napa Valley has formed, like the rest of the North Pacific coast, through geological activity - in the collision of tectonic plates (huge pieces of earth crust), volcanic activity and changes in sea level, which has made several times the sea bottom. As a result of these events, there are soils of volcanic, marine and alluvial origin in the Napa Valley, with more than 30 different species being identified.
Vineyards and Varieties
Vineyards in the Napa Valley are deliberately planted to suppress yields, resulting in bright concentrated grapes in the grapes. Throughout the growing season, the foliage is trimmed, usually by hand, to ensure the optimum development of the fruit.
Napa Valley is one of the most prestigious wine regions that have the honor of being home to the University's experimental vineyards. The California State University Davis Field Station is in Oakville and works to improve wine-growing practices both locally and globally.
Although Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted, the Napa Valley has many surprises for wine lovers who are looking for variety. From Albarino to Zinfandel - more than thirty different grape varieties thrive here.
Wine production and Wine
Despite its international reputation, the Napa Valley is one of the smallest wine-growing regions in the world. Almost all wineries (95%) are family businesses. The volume of grapes produced per year is a modest 4% of the state of California.
Mixing grapes from different plots is usually done to produce wine with greater complexity. Another way to create unique wine is the focus on a place or vineyard. Wine growers in the Napa Valley have become known for both approaches.
Thanks to the variety of soils, climate and topography, Napa Valley wineries are able to make different wines from a wide range of varieties. All styles are also covered: Champagne sparkling wines, fresh Sauvignon Blanc, rich Chardonnay, silky-tempting Pinot Noir, thick and spicy Zinfandel, mature, velvety Merlot and, of course, the world famous Cabernet Sauvignon of Napa.