Napa Valley, California

The Napa Valley is perhaps the best organised winery region in the world for tourists.
It's located east of San Francisco with a freeway taking you past the Californian capital Sacramento and virtually right into the Napa Valley.

You'll find quality accommodation near the bigger town of Napa and the smaller towns of St Helena and Calistoga.

Personally, we prefer accommodation near the northern end of the Napa Valley around Calistoga, which is a little more rural.  The Wine Country Inn is a wonderful place to rest, with daily wine and cheese tastings and that rural feeling of wide open spaces, vines all around and a cosy atmosphere inside.

Nearby, the famous old Silverado trail runs parallel to the highway down towards St Helena.

Napa Valley Vineyard
Photo of Napa Valley vineyard

Three of the best wineries are Niebaum Coppola (yes, Francis Ford Coppola's winery), Mondavi and Schramsberg, where they make the finest champagne - oops, sparkling wine - outside of France.

When we were told the US president now serves Schramsberg wine at the White House instead of French champagne, we wondered how good it could be.

But after a tour of the historic and expansive underground caves dug out by Chinese workers more than a hundred years ago, a wine tasting confirmed their claims.

The Schramsberg Reserve was truly as good as many fine French champagnes we've tasted.

The Niebaum Coppola winery is on a beautiful property and is famous around the world for its robust reds.  This is a busy winery set up for tourists and wine lovers alike, with the perfect mix for everybody to enjoy.

Niebaum Coppola Winery
Photo Niebaum Coppola Winery

Make sure you go to the top of the stairs to see an unexpected sight on this rural wine producing property - many of the stage props from Coppola's movie The Godfather!

Dining in the Napa Valley ranges from casual to formal.  The French Laundry is famed as one of the best restaurants in the world that often needs to be booked months in advance.

Napa Valley Wine SalesFor something more casual, do what many smart travellers do - call into the roadside Oakville Grocery store for a dazzling range of eat in or takeaway lunch works of art.

The Napa Valley is a wonderful place to visit as one of the world's best wine holiday destinations.

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