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...

  • Chardonnay

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

  • 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...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

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

  • 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

  • Bond

    BOND: A stable of Napa Valley thoroughbreds — ultimately six Cabernet-based wines — assembled und...

  • Joseph Carr

    Joseph Carr wines are produced at Larson Family Vineyards in Carneros, bordering both Napa and So...

  • Don Sebastiani & Sons

      To Don Sebastiani and Sons, family is clearly an important aspect of winemaking. While ...

  • Rockledge Vineyards

    High on the eastern slopes of Napa Valley just south of the town of St. Helena is a saddle covere...

  • Sola

    Sola tries to produce the best quality 'varietally correct' Calif and sub-appellations wines po...

  • William Hill Winery

    William Hill Estate Winery carries forward a 30-year philosophy of crafting elegant Napa Valley 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

  • Bell Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2013


    Beautiful dark ruby color. Dark fruit on the nose. Sure enough, dark fruit--currant, blackberry--on the tip of the tongue. Interesting, and a Cabernet first for me, smokiness, mid-palate. Big, full-bodied wine. Some leather. Remarkably calm tannin--actually, more noticeable in the aftertaste than in the mouth--but with lively acid. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Robert Keenan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 25th Anniversary 2001


    Surprisingly vibrant nose of dark berries. On the tongue. though, it is obvious that those berries have been beaten down by the years. Yes, I do get currant, but it is only a suggestion, Also, I get leather and tobacco. I am surprised at the power that remains of the tannin, All in all, a good wine, but probably past it's prime. and I'm hap... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Robert Mondavi 'Oakville' Cabernet Sauvignon 2016


    More blue than red in the glass. Astringent nose of black berries. On the tongue I find as much red berry--raspberry--as black--blueberry (if I can call that that black). A considerable amount of tannic puckeriness-- I guess there's no surprise there--and quite a bit of acid tartness. I'm afraid this one needs much more sideways time in orde... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Sterling Vineyards Merlot Napa Valley 2002


    Another estate sale find. While storage of this wine was less than optimal--room temperature environment--I am perfectly happy with it. Jammy red berry fruit on entry. Some earthiness, mid-palate. A bit of "old tannin funk" on the rear palate. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Tonight I am opening the Betz "Pere de Famille", I received from Big ... but not a big smasher like Napa or even many Washington cabs.  Elegant is what I'd call it thus far.  Thanks A Read More

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

  • Paul Hobbs Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2010


    Really good wine. Black fruit--blackberry, currant--on entry. Some salinity and stone mid-palate. Nice mouth-filling wine. Tannins and acids are just about completely resolved, Anybody who has this in their cellar can open it now without regret. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Beaulieu Vineyard Bv Tapestry 2011


    The 2011 BV Tapestry is ready to roll, as model railroaders used to say. This is a lighter style wine, with a good, dark cherry robe and nose of cedar plank, cassis and a hint of vanilla. Entry is pleasant, with blackberry, vanilla and very light tannin on the palate. Very understated. Finish is medium long and European in mouthfeel. 90. Read More

    Wine review by zufrieden

  • Beaulieu Vineyard Merlot Rutherford Maestro Collection 2002


    Lots of upfront jammy red fruit. Also noticeable "smokiness." Clearly, some oxidation, and that may be the smoky thing I'm getting. Still some tannin. I doubt this was ever more than an adequate wine. However, I am OK with it--especially, considering the sketchy storage provenance of this wine. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Apsara Syrah Carneros las Madres Vineyard 2011


    Still an awesome wine. Beautiful, dark garnet color. Floral and fruity nose, Light fruit--red berry, stone fruit--on entry. Then, some mineral or stone. Tannin and acid are completely resolved, Long, lingering finish. This wine is probably now at peak performance. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Cosentino Winery Merlot Napa Valley 2002


    Sadly, a victim of poor storage. Nose of seriously burnt caramel. Incredibly jammy red fruit on the front of this wine is pretty distracting. Then, there is a TON of unresolved tannin. I am having a good time drinking through a stash of estate wines, I will drink the entire bottle, and it won't make me gag, but I just have to wonder what co... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • 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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