There’s a good chance you already know Napa Valley if you’re reading this blog, but we thought we would put some interesting facts together in one place:
Napa Valley had 3.3 million visitors in 2014 but the populations, according to the 2010 census, is only about 140,000. Considering a large portion of the population is not serving wine but most visitors comet to drink it, you can imagine how many visitors a typical server sees a day — especially the most popular wineries.
Napa Valley is 789 square miles, 40 of which is water. It has one river (Napa River), two creeks, six reservoirs, five lakes, and a marsh. It also has 16 different sub-wine regions, some you know, some you may not. I can’t help but think of Lord of the Rings when I think of the sub-regions of Napa. Instead of the mountains of Moria, you have the mountains called Spring, Diamond and Howell. Napa Valley’s regions are just as diverse as Middle Earth’s. This diversity is why there is such a variety in wines.
The climates, the elevations, and the soils are vastly different in each region. If you want to have a good reference to each of these differences and what are the best varietals for those regions, it can be found here.
There is some interesting things to note about some of these regions’ pioneer and founder. George C. Yount was a pioneer and settler in Napa Valley. It came in the form of a Mexican land grant known as Rancho Caymus. The grant, which took place in 1838, included present-day Yountville (obviously named after the pioneer) and Ruthorford. The Ruthford name acme because Yount’s grand daughter had a husband named Thomas Rutherford and they both were given about 1,000 acres as a wedding present.
The climate and geography diversity has allowed wineries to offer very different products and that’s great because we all have very different tastes. The main varietals grown in Napa are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot. Lesser grown grapes are Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Petit Verdot and Malbec, Syrah and Shiraz, Petit Syrah, and Pinot Grigio.
So how many wineries are in Napa Valley. A lot. Well over five-hundred and probably thousands.We found sources here, here and here but that is just the bigger ones. Many wineries cannot advertise because local ordinances.
In 1990, Napa County adopted a Winery Definition Ordinance (No. 497) that really changed the way winery businesses could operate. Food, weddings, and much more were limited. The ones grandfathered in, have grown disproportionately to the rest. Some say Napa Valley has lost millions to Sonoma because of it but others like the exclusivity and purity of the region. Wineries must focus on wine making. If you want to read about the ordinance more it can be found here.