When wine drinkers mention Napa, they refer to only one AVA that covers all the sub-appellations of the valley.
The valley runs approximately 35 kilometres south to north, is 1 ½ to2 ½ kilometres wide.
The county is much bigger and contains many AVA’s producing fine wines.
The town of Napa, located some 20 kilometres from the San Pablo Bay may be regarded as the gate to the valley.
The temperature around the south base is lower than in the north due to the cooling effect of the bay.
Los Carneros, less than six kilometres from the shores of the Bay is divided between Napa and Sonoma counties. Both A V A’s (Carneros Napa and Carneros Sonoma) are famous for their climates suitable for crisp chardonnay-based white wines and pinot noir.
A few sparkling wine producers are located in both Carneros appellations.
To the west of the Napa Valley is Mount Veeder with a somewhat cooler climate than the Valley, and east-exposed vineyards. Here cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese and merlot grow well.
Some six kilometres of the town of Napa is Wild Horse Valley AVA straddling the boundaries of Napa and Solano counties. This A VA is famous for its fine red wines.
Almost adjacent to Yountville is the famous Stag’s Leap District
A V A, mostly known for its outstanding cabernet sauvignon and Meritage blends.
Just three kilometres east of Stag’s Leap is the Atlas Peak A V A. This large A V A shows a lot potential and many wineries bought land to cultivate. Some are already have well established vineyards and produce respectable wines.
Just next to St Helena you will find the Spring Mountain District stretching to the border with Sonoma County.
To the east and north of St Helena you will find Howell Mountain appellation that has a lot of potential. Zinfandel grows well here. Between Howell Mountain and Lake Berryessa Chiles Valley A V A is potentially a superb district for red wines.
Napa Valley was once famous for its prunes, when pioneers decided to plant cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel and other varieties.
The real fame of came after the Paris blind tasting, organized by Steven Spurrier in 1976 during which Napa Valley cabernets and chardonnays beat French Bordeaux and Burgundy wines.
The American media celebrated the event catapulting Napa to the attention of American wine drinkers.
Since then many entrepreneurs established wineries and make fine wines not only for American wine aficionados but export to several countries.