Napa Valley

America’s most prestigious, renowned and heavily capitalized wine region, the Napa Valley is almost as acclaimed as an icon of American lifestyle as it is for its powerful Cabernet Sauvignons. A fertile alluvial valley touching on San Francisco’s San Pablo Bay in the south and sheltered on three sides by low mountains, wine production began here in the 1850s with the California Gold Rush. The proximity to the bay and the cool ocean air from the Humboldt Current are two of the most important climatic factors in Napa’s success as the warm climate here is mitigated by cold, often foggy breezes drawn up into it by rising, sun-heated air. The valley produces wines from Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel but Cabernet Sauvignon is king, making up 40% of total production but accounting for close to 60% of the crop’s total value. The cost of a single acre of prime Napa vineyard planted to Cabernet averages close to $400,000 an acre. The average price of a ton of Napa Cab was $7,500 in 2018 which translates loosely to $70+ per bottle using the one-percent rule of thumb. Napa wines tend to be rich, full-throttle wines built to impress, striking a comfortable balance between between power and early drinkability.

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