The Napa Valley is what is commonly referred to as an appella-
tion. In the United States, the legal term Is American Viticultural
Area or AVA and Napa Valley was the first in California designated
in 1981. The Napa Valley produces just 4% of California’s wine grape
harvest and is 1/8th the size of Bordeaux. It enjoys a dry Mediterra-
nean climate which encompasses only 2% of the Earth’s surface
which translates to great consistency vintage-to-vintage.
Within the Napa Valley AVA, regions have been recognized
that possess distinct microclimates and terrain, imprinting recogniz-
able characteristics on the grapes grown there. These AVAs are
commonly referred to as sub- or nested-appellations. This great
diversity within the Napa Valley allows a wide range of fine wine
grapes to grow well here, and provides the winemaker a diverse
palette to create from. All to bring consumers an incredible selec-
tion of consistent high quality wines from the region.
LOS CARNEROS
Climate:
Cool, with marine winds from the San Pablo Bay as well as the
Petaluma Gap to the west; high temperatures rarely exceed 80º (27ºC)
Elevation:
Sea level–700 feet (217 m)
Principal varieties:
Pinot Noir, Merlot and Chardonnay
COOMBSVILLE
Climate:
Temperate climate moderated by near-proximity to the
San Pablo Bay and the influences of marine air
Elevation:
Most vineyards are in the 100-500 foot (30-150 m) zone, though a
small portion tops 1000 feet (300 m)
Principal varieties:
Dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon on the hillsides with
Merlot, Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir in the lower, cooler sites
WILD HORSE VALLEY
Climate:
A warmer area well to the east, but still moderated by both
altitude and prevailing winds coming o Suisun Bay to the southeast
Elevation:
600–1900 feet (186–589 m)
Principal varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
MOUNT VEEDER
Climate:
Cool to moderate, with most vineyards above the fog line, meaning
warmer nights and cooler days than on the valley floor; typical summer highs
are 85º (30ºC)
Elevation:
500–2,600 feet (155–806 m)
Principal varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Chardonnay
OAK KNOLL DISTRICT OF NAPA VALLEY
Climate:
Moderate to cool, with marine air and fog often remaining until late
morning; afternoon breezes frequently occur, maintaining slightly cooler
temperatures than up-valley; summer temperatures may reach 92º (31.5ºC)
and drop to around 50º (10ºC) at night
Elevation:
Sea level–800 feet (244 m)
Principal varieties:
Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon,
Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling
YOUNTVILLE
Climate:
Moderate, with cool marine influence and fog contributing to cool
summer mornings; the marine breeze keeps afternoons more comfortable
than further up-valley; summer peak temperatures may reach 90º (31ºC),
with night time temperatures dropping into the mid-50sº (13ºC)
Elevation:
20–200 feet (6–61 m)
Principal varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
STAGS LEAP DISTRICT
Climate:
Moderately warm with afternoon marine winds cooling the warmer
air radiating o the bare rocks of Stags Leap and the surrounding hillsides;
summer temperatures can reach 100º, but more regularly are in mid-90sº
(32–34ºC)
Elevation:
Sea level–500 feet (155 m)
Principal varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Chardonnay
and Sauvignon Blanc
ATLAS PEAK
Climate:
Cool-mountain influenced with temperatures about 10–15º cooler
than the valley floor in summer; above the fog line, there is low day-to-night
temperature range, with summer rarely rising above 90º (30ºC)
Elevation:
760–2600 feet (232–806 m)
Principal varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay
OAKVILLE
Climate:
Moderately warm, with temperatures commonly in the mid-90sº
(32–34ºC) in summer, but a ected by night and early morning fog; the east
side receives more warm afternoon sun
Elevation:
Sea level–500 feet (155 m)
Principal varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc
RUTHERFORD
Climate:
Moderately warm, still marginally influenced by early morning fog;
the western bench area is cooler, with less late afternoon sun, tempered by
afternoon marine winds; usual summer peak temperatures are mid-90sº
(32–34ºC) with a distinct day-to-night temperature fluctuation
Elevation:
Sea level–600 feet (186 m)
Principal varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel
ST. HELENA
Climate:
Warm, due to greater protection from western hills, with less fog
and wind; the narrowing of the valley floor provides more heat reflection o
the hillsides; summer temperatures often peak in the mid-to-high 90sº range
(31–35ºC)
Elevation:
100–700 feet (31–217 m)
Principal varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah,
Zinfandel and Viognier
SPRING MOUNTAIN DISTRICT
Climate:
Cool weather prevails, with a lower day-to-night fluctuation
in temperatures
Elevation:
600–2600 feet (186–806 m)
Principal varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc,
Chardonnay and Zinfandel
CHILES VALLEY DISTRICT
Climate:
Summer temperatures peak in the mid-80sº (30ºC), but due to
higher elevation and evening fog, drop to below 50º (10ºC)
Elevation:
600–1200 feet (186–372 m)
Principal varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc
HOWELL MOUNTAIN
Climate:
Slightly warmer and drier overall due to strong afternoon sun
influence
Elevation:
600–2600 feet (186–806 m)
Principal varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Viognier
DIAMOND MOUNTAIN DISTRICT
Climate:
Moderately warm temperatures with less fluctuation than the north
Napa Valley floor; temperatures in the summer range from 50–90° (10–32°C)
Elevation:
400–2200 feet (130–530 m)
Principal varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc
CALISTOGA
Climate:
Daytime summer temperatures may peak above 100º (37ºC) and fall
to low 40sº (7ºC) at night, due to cool marine air drawn into the valley from
the northwestern hills; cool afternoon and evening breezes continue the
process, and on clear nights are assisted by cold air sliding down the
mountainsides to the valley floor
Elevation:
300–1200 feet (92–370 m)
Principal varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Sirah
The Diversity of the Napa Valley Appellation
1...,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14 16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,...38