California Travel Information

The Napa Valley Experience

The Napa Valley is something every visitor to the San Francisco area should experience. The relaxation and cultural enlightenment visitors experience keep them coming back to see new attractions, taste new wines, and soak in more of the area’s natural ambiance.

History of Napa Valley

California, the most populous state, contains almost half the wineries in the United States. However, the state’s most popular wine region, Napa Valley, is only 30 miles long and a few miles wide and produces just four percent of the total wine grown in California annually. Napa Valley's first commercial winery was established in 1861 and by 1889 there were more than 140 wineries in operation, including Schramsberg founded in 1862, Beringer in 1876, and Inglenook in 1879. The Prohibition was passed in 1920, which closed down most wineries, however, with the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, Napa Valley's wine industry began a period of recovery, followed by remarkable expansion, and, recently, refinement.

Today, Napa Valley is home to more than 260 wineries and a plethora of activities, attractions, and events for visitors to the region making an excellent vacation destination anytime of year.

The Vineyards

The Napa Valley is full of historic and cultural attractions, as well as, plenty of wine tours and a wine train to keep your days full of great things to do in the region. Napa Valley Tours is able to customize your group’s private Napa Valley Wine Tour and they also offer economical “do-it-yourself” tours. Visit 5 to 7 wineries, taste premium wines, take a "Back Roads" winery tour, visit "Copia, " the new and exciting American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, take a winery "cave tour, " take a balloon ride over the valley, and enjoy country roads, lush vineyards, and beautiful gardens.

In the Rutherford area of the region, visit the Robert Mondavi Winery voted the best tour in the valley and the Rutherford Hill Winery with one of the most extensive wine-aging cave systems in America. The Sterling Vineyards in the Calistoga area is accessed by aerial tram and offers a self-paced winery tour with a video tour and a sit-down wine tasting of world-class wines. The St. Helena area is home to the Beringer Winery, Napa Valley’s oldest continuously operating winery, and Sutter Home Winery, both names familiar in American households.

A Day at the Spa

The spas in the area are almost as popular as the wineries. Inspired by old Roman spas, the Spa at Silverado is the most all-inclusive private resort Spa in Napa Valley offering fitness, spa and salon services surrounded by garden courtyards. In Yountville, stay at the Villagio Inn and Spa for state-of-the-art hydrotherapy, yoga, tennis, exercise classes and guided fitness nature walks to complement your spa experience for complete fitness and well being. The Relaxation Company is one of the most popular day spas in the region. Try out their world famous packages including Tranquility, beginning with a Botanical Herbal Facial followed by a therapeutic massage and Harmony combining an essential bath soak, Volcanic Rock Sea Salt foot scrub, and a healing massage. The attitude in Napa Valley is one of pure relaxation so be sure not to miss out on the total experience and sign up for a spa day to complete your vacation.

Other Attractions in the Valley

In addition to the wineries and spas, there is plenty to do in the Napa Valley Region. Take a ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train. This three-hour gourmet-dining excursion takes place aboard a lavishly restored 1900’s Pullman Dining and Lounge car for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Visit the Culinary Institute of America, or CIA, to see exciting cooking demonstrations, shop for culinary items, eat fresh baked goods in its new cafe, and dine at the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant. Shop for antiques at the Antique Fair in Yountville for French antique furnishings and accessories and Mostly French in Calistoga exceptional country French furniture and accessories.