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

  • Merlot

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

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • Sauvignon Blanc

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

  • 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...

  • Syrah

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

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

  • Michael Pozzan Winery

    Michael Pozzan Winery is owned and operated by Michael and Mary Ann Pozzan, both natives of Calif...

  • Irony

    Most of us didn't imagine where we would be right now. Sure, we dreamed of being firemen, astrona...

  • Beaucanon Estate

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

  • Round Hill Vineyards & Cellars

    Rutherford Wine Company is family owned and managed with a portfolio of wines representing the ri...

  • Three Thieves

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

  • Hagen Heights Vineyards

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

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Napa on Snooth

  • Today I attended one of my favorite tastings of the year, the Taste Napa Valley tour, where I tasted no lessthan 65 great to wonderful wines, mostly King Cabernet himself. I have listed the high lights of the day here. More will follow. 2005 Cornerstone Cabernet Sauvignon Napa- Gorgeous fruit forward with a lush mouth feel. Dense currant with...

    Comment by 125081Mike Pobega 125081 Mike Pobega

  • Quivet Cellars Beckstoffer las Piedras Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012


    This is a big, powerful wine. I opens with a nice unobtrusive level of dark fruit--currant, blueberry. Then there is some steeliness, or, maybe, graphite, followed by some dustiness, Then, the tannin hits--very serious tannin, I am enjoying this wine, right now, but there is sufficient acid here to predict that several more years of storage ... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Z, we usually don't buy high end wine, I'm very much a bang for the ... Speculator gave the '06 Napa cab vintage 95 points (whatever that's worth).This particular bottle was in a very nice place.  Still had a good bit of primary fruit, ripe black cherry and blackberry but also some earthiness setting in with a touch of menthol on the end.  Tan... Read More

    Forum post in the topic What's your Choice of Wine...

  • Both look interesting, VV.  How was the 14 year old Napa, in particular?  I heard mixed reviews of this vintage, although Spring Mountain Vineyards is very famous (Jane Wyman in Falcon Crest comes to mind, as well as some high scores for certain vintages).  The price is fairly high too - about 150 US dollars if you can obtain it.  That would not... Read More

    Forum post in the topic What's your Choice of Wine...

  • Provenance Napa Valley Merlot 2017


    Nice full-bodied example from this grape. A viscous, syrupy mouthfeel--do not confuse my "syrupy" comment to imply sweetness, though. Dark berry fruit on entry--blackberry, blueberry. Some dustiness, mid-palate. As expected, quite light on tannin. Pretty short finish. For $15, though, a heck of a cellar defender. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Robert Keenan Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010


    Brooding nose of wood and dark fruit. Delightfully subtle suggestion of dark berries and stone fruit, Non-fruit suggestions of wood and slate, Quite full-bodied. Tannin is almost completely resolved, Retro-nasal smoky sensation. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Myriad Semillon Tofanelli Vineyard Napa Valley 2019


    I always seem to get tropical fruit with these Tofanellis--pineapple, banana, kiwi. Acidity makes for a very refreshing wine--and leaves my tongue tingling. Good wine, but I think I prefer the Myriad McGah bottling. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Elementary Cellars Volume I Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2012


    Light black fruit, but this is more an Old World wine that a New World fruit forward wine. Some spices and foliage sensations mid- to rear palate. Tannin is completely resolved. If you got 'em. drink 'em. I don't think this wine is falling over the cliff, but I don't thing that additional cellarage is going to yield commensurate benefit. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Keenan Merlot Napa Valley 30th Anniversary 2006


    Somewhar murky prune color in the glass. Small nose of some earthiness. Light flavors of dried dark fruit on entry. Still some pretty serious tannin. A GIANT Merlot; My kinda wine. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Apsara Syrah las Madres Vineyard Whole Cluster 2015


    Dark plum color. "Brooding" nose of dark fruit. On the tongue, again, dark fruit, but of dried fruit without the sweetness, Savory mid-palate. Some good acid and some very notieceable tannin. An outstanding full-bodied wine. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Zuf, a few years ago I opened a couple of 1994 Napa cabs.  One was Robert Mondavi Reserve and the other was Beringer Private reserve.  I opened them at the same time, blind.  They were both beautiful, but I preferred the Mondavi as it was like velvet.  My friends preferred the Beringer because it had more tannins left and maybe a bit more vibran... Read More

    Forum post in the topic What's your Choice of Wine...

  • Every time I visit Napa I have a great time. Make sure you plan ahead though. The options can be overwhelming!

    Comment by 321328cablecars 321328 cablecars

  • Recently had a Darioush Duel Cabernet/Shiraz blend 2005 I bought it at the vineyard and it was wonderful Mmmmm

    Comment by 250806Grape Goddess 250806 Grape Goddess

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