Definition - What does Napa Valley mean?
The Napa Valley region is an American Viticulture Area (AVA) centrally located in the state of California. It is not a coastal region but is close enough to the Pacific coastline that the southern climate of the valley can be cooled with ocean winds. Wild grapes grew naturally in Napa Valley but were first planted for cultivation in 1839, and now, the Napa Valley is home to almost all types of wine varietals, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay as the most planted. The climate is similar to Mediterranean temperatures, with mild summers and winters with rainy spring seasons.
WineFrog explains Napa Valley
The Napa Valley is west of the city of Sacramento and 30 miles east of the Pacific Ocean near the Northern California coastline. The first vineyard was established by a European settler, George Yount, in 1839 and the first commercial vineyard was founded in Napa Valley by Charles Krug in 1861. By the 20th century, the growth of the wineries in Napa Valley was cut short by grape oversaturation and a phylloxera (root disease) outbreak and the regulations of Prohibition.
The Napa Valley is a temperate region, and the climates are in the predictable range near 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The soils are complex and fertile due to historical oceanic flooding, tectonic plate movement and the volcanic origins which constructed the valley. Currently, there are 45,000 acres of vineyards and over 400 wineries producing three dozen diverse varieties of both red and white wines. The most notable reds include Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Merlot with popular white wines like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandels. Napa Valley does produce smaller quantities of Syrah, Cabernet Franc Petite Verdoh, Malbec and Pinot Grigio as well as exquisite wine blends.