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The California Directory of Fine Wineries: Napa Valley, Sonoma County

The California Directory of Fine Wineries: Napa Valley, Sonoma County

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The California Directory of Fine Wineries: Napa Valley, Sonoma County

379 pages
2 hours
Jul 17, 2019


California's Most Prestigious Wineries Invite You on an Irresistible Journey...

to the congenial tasting rooms of a tri-county paradise. With The California Directory of Fine Wineries as your guide, you'll wander through world-famous Napa Valley, home of the state's most recognized cellar landmarks. Meandering scenic back roads, you’ll discover Sonoma County’s premier wineries. This fully updated, ninth edition of The California Directory of Fine Wineries is an essential guide to both glamorous estates and intimate, family-owned vineyards.

  • Profiles of 56 Northern California wineries— describing their striking architecture, behind-the-scenes tours, and bountiful gardens.
  • Descriptions of the wineries’ distinctive features, from 100-year-old wine caves and museum-quality art exhibitions to bocce ball courts and tastings of local olive oils and other gourmet foods.
  • More than 170 color images by renowned photographer Robert Holmes.
  • Sidebars listing directions, vineyard tours, wine tastings, special culinary events, and nearby attractions.
  • Full-page maps showing the 56 profiled destinations, plus more than 100 additional wineries in Napa Valley and Sonoma County.
  • Lansat:
    Jul 17, 2019

    Despre autor

    Cheryl Crabtree is a freelance writer and the coauthor of several California central coast guidebooks. She has contributed to numerous publications, including Touring and Tasting, Fodor's California, and Fodor's The Complete Guide to National Parks of the West. Crabtree lives in Santa Barbara, CA.

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    The California Directory of Fine Wineries - Cheryl Crabtree

    The Napa Valley, jam-packed with hundreds of premium wineries and thousands of acres of coveted vineyards, has earned its position as the country’s number one winemaking region. From its southern tip at San Pablo Bay, about an hour’s drive from San Francisco, this picture-perfect patchwork of agriculture extends thirty miles north to the dramatic palisades that tower above Calistoga. The narrow, scenic valley is defined on the east by a series of hills known as the Vaca Range and on the west by the rugged peaks of the Mayacamas Mountains, including the steep forested slopes of Mount Veeder.

    St. Helena, where upscale stores and chic boutiques line the historic Main Street, is the jewel in the region’s crown. At the southern end of the valley, the city of Napa has experienced a boom in recent years, with a plethora of restaurants and attractions such as the vibrant Oxbow Public Market. The mostly twolane Highway 29 links these and smaller towns that welcome visitors with a variety of spas, restaurants, and bed-and-breakfast inns.

    For an unforgettable impression, book a hot-air balloon ride or simply drive up the winding Oakville Grade and pull over at the top for a view worthy of a magazine cover.


    If the adage is true touting location as the primary driver of real-estate value, Acumen winery scores on two counts. Its estate vineyards, high up the chaparral-laced Atlas Peak appellation, occupy prime terrain for producing Cabernet Sauvignon. Lovers of wines from the king of grapes can sample them at a convenient downtown Napa tasting room that doubles as a contemporary-art gallery.

    Acumen’s founder, Eric Yuan, credits his interest in wine to Bordeaux reds he sipped in Paris during university days. A real-estate entrepreneur from Wuhan, China, Yuan established Acumen with a specific ambition: to create wines steeped in the French tradition yet true to their Napa Valley origins. To that end, in 2012 he acquired thirty-two acres owned by Dr. Jan Krupp, who developed Atlas Peak’s most famous vineyard, the nearby Stagecoach. Two years later, Yuan purchased eighty-four acres from Artesa Winery. Acumen reserves a third of its grapes for its Mountainside and Peak portfolios, selling the rest to Beringer and other respected wineries.

    The estate’s volcanic soils produce grapes with high levels of tannins that Danish-born winemaker Henrik Poulsen, who honed his skills at top wineries in Bordeaux and California, restrains without sacrificing character. Viticulturist Garrett Buckland, who introduced organic farming practices, believes that Atlas Peak’s longer ripening times, the result of daytime temperatures at least 10°F cooler than on the Napa Valley floor, allow grapes’ flavors to develop more fully.

    The collector-worthy Peak Cabernet Sauvignons spend about two years in French oak barrels and an additional year in bottle. These food-friendly wines are intended to age gracefully for a decade or more but are drinkable upon release, a point illustrated during the Summit Experience, for which a local catering company prepares small bites. Summit Experience tastings, which begin with three Mountainside wines—a Sauvignon Blanc, a Cabernet, and a Bordeaux-style red blend—take place in the private, glassed-in Peak Room. Grabbing attention along with the wines is the room’s chandelier.

    Attached to the ceiling by a braided ship’s rope, it appears at first glance to be of crystal but is actually test tubes. The fixture is among several offbeat selections by Vincent Xeus, an internationally acclaimed artist who fashioned the swank Acumen space. The Summit Experience and other seated tastings require reservations, but walk-ins are welcome for less formal tastings, as are passersby wanting to check out the art and Xeus’s eye-catching design. In 2019 this rising-star winery plans to break ground on a cave and production facility and hopes to invite guests to Atlas Peak within a few years.

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