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10 reasons to go to Napa for those who do not drink wine

A fertile land with fertile land, rivers filled with fish, forests with mushrooms and berries, the Indians called with one short word - Napa. Napa Wine Valley is one of the most beautiful places in California, where the earth still feeds people. About 90% of all vintage wines in America are produced here.

There are almost 500 wineries in the valley, and more than half are open to tourists: you can go down to the cellars and participate in wine tastings. But even if you're an inveterate teetotaler, don't cross Napa off your must-see list. Winemakers have long realized that you cannot lure guests to yourself with wine alone, so many have turned their farmsteads into pleasant places to relax with a twist. But Napa is not only vineyards, but also natural wonders: a geyser that predicts volcanoes and a petrified forest. “Forum” has chosen 10 points of interest on the map of the valley for you and made an interactive route.

For a start - a small digression. During the "Prohibition" in the United States (from 1920 to 1933), the winemaking in Napa was given up. And even when the law was canceled, there was simply nothing to revive, because many vineyards were cut down. So, the “godfather” of modern winemaking was “our man” - the Russian émigré prince Andrei Chelishchev. It was he who was able to revive the American wine culture, for which he received the title The Winemaker's Winemaker, that is, "Winemaker from Winemakers". The best proof that Napa was still able to rise from the ashes is the fact that the most expensive wine comes from here. Screaming Eagle, 1992 Liter, XNUMX Vintage, Went to Charity Wine Auction Napa Valley Wine Auction in 2000, for 500 thousand dollars. She was bought by Cisco Systems top manager Chace Bailey. This price was not given for one wine in the world.

 

Coppola wine

“Just as every American has access to my cinema, so should my wine be available,” - these words belong to Francis Ford Coppola. The five-time Oscar winner, director and screenwriter is also a renowned winemaker. His vineyards on the estate Inglenook occupy more 2000 hectares of land, and production volumes - more than two million bottles per year. Coppola is not just “listed as the owner” - he spends all his free time at the Inglenook estate, which is open to tourists.

Coppola acquired the first vineyards in 1975 with a fee from The Godfather. When "Dracula" was a success at the box office, Coppola bought the estate and a few more lands.

Wine and cinema in the life of Coppola are inextricably linked: when it turned out that he did not have enough money for filming Apocalypse Now, Coppola laid vineyards. But by removing "Godfather 3 ″, he was able to buy everything back. Francis Ford Coppola “infected” colleagues with his hobby: the vineyard was bought Christopher Lambert и Antonio Banderas.

Chance to meet the director, walking on the estate, great. In his spare time from winemaking, he cares and cherishes his collection of old film projectors and movie cameras, which is open to the public.

Price: free.

Address: 1991 St Helena Hwy, Rutherford.

 

Wine for the White House

The barbarian Jacob Scar greatly disappointed his parents: the winemakers wanted their son to follow in their footsteps, but Jacob did not dare to change the razor for garden tools for a long time. But when I saved enough money, I invited a whole construction team of Chinese to my place, who hollowed out wine cellars of almost 3000 square meters in the stone slopes. Scar began planting grapes, and in 1876, he became one of California's most popular winemakers.

After Jacob's death, his son went into business, but during the “Prohibition” he gave up the idea. The winery changed many owners, and in 1965 it was bought by the Davis family. She began to make local “champagne”, the fame of which suddenly spread far beyond Napa. In 1972, a mysterious guest came to the winemakers, ordered 12 cases of Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine and asked them to deliver them to the airport. As it turned out later, the buyer was US President Richard Nixon, who decided to bring this wine as a presentation to the People's Republic of China. Precisely with wine from the winery Schramsberg Nixon and Premier Chow Enlai filled their glasses, raising a toast “to peace”. Since then, the Schramsberg wine yard has become a favorite with presidents and the political elite, and each new president concludes a contract for the supply of wine for the White House banquets.

But the owners of the winery are proud not only of this fact. There are at least two more reasons for pride. The Schramsberg winery was mentioned in one of his novels by Robert Stephenson, author of Treasure Island, and it was the cork and label of Schramsberg wine that the astronaut of the Discovery shuttle Ken Ham put in his luggage.

Price: free.

Address: 1400 Schramsberg Rd, Calistoga.

 

The story of a dream

“This is not Italy, and the castle is not real”, - disappointedly write tourists reviews about the winery Castello di amorosawhile adding more caustic reviews. And no one claims that this castle is ready to compete with the old European brethren. Castello di Amorosa is just the story of one man's dream come true, who put a lot of effort and even more money to realize it.

Dario Sattui is a fourth-generation winemaker, his great-grandfather founded the first winery in San Francisco in 1885. Dario inherited the vineyards and acquired several more lands in the valley, but more than winemaking, he was fascinated by architecture. He dreamed of building a castle according to all the rules of ancient architects. To study the issue thoroughly, the meticulous millionaire even bought several ancient fortresses in Italy itself, and as a result, a project of a fortress was born, built according to all the canons of medieval architecture. Even 8000 tons of stone were sharpened and sawed by hand to make it authentic. Large fireplace halls, a moat, a stable, “ruined” towers, forged gates, which were specially poured with acid to give an old look, even a prison and a torture chamber - all this is in Castello di Amorosa. Construction lasted 12 years, during which time Dario almost went bankrupt, having invested $ 30 million in the dream. When the winemaker opened the castle for tourists, he expected a flurry of criticism from connoisseurs of medieval architecture, but he still heard more kind words. The castle in the local area is still a curiosity. Especially when you know its history.

Price: visit to the castle - $ 17, excursion with wine tasting - $ 32, children under 21 - $ 7 (the price includes juice), children under 3 - free. Children under 21 can only enter the castle if accompanied by an adult.

Address: 4045 St. Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515.

To the mountains by gondola

Stirling Winery built in the Greek style and is considered one of the most picturesque wineries in Napa. When American Peter Newton returned from the Greek island of Mykonos in 1964, he decided that his winery should certainly be built in the Greek style. This is how white terraces and Greek statues appeared. You can get here by cable car: the basket lifts you to a height of 90 meters, and the entire northern part of the Napa Valley is in full view.

Price: Rise in a gondola to the top of the mountain - $ 20. Children under 21 must be accompanied by an adult.

Address 1111 Dunaweal Ln, Calistoga, CA 94515.

Panorama of Napa

Like Sterling Vineyards, this winery is located high in the mountains, but the views open to a different, southern part of Napa. Moreover, this pleasure is absolutely free, no money is taken to enter the winery. Despite the fact that the history of the family of winemakers dates back to 1551, the Roventos clan has no nostalgia for antiquity or for its native Spain. Winery Artesa Is an avant-garde building, and the architect decided not to try to create something more beautiful than the local views. Artesa attracts those who do not drink wine with exhibitions of young and daring artists and sculptors. The largest travel site tripadvisor.com has awarded this winery the title of Best view in Napa Valley.

Price: free.

Address: 1345 Henry Rd, Napa.

Picnic among the vineyards

Winery V. Sattui Is an Italian estate with perhaps the best French cheese shop in Napa and a traditional American picnic spot. It's just nice to take a walk, sit by the fountain and - in this particular winery - schedule lunch. Of course, Napa also has fine gourmet restaurants, but a picnic among the vineyards is a special treat. The local cuisine sells both hot and cold dishes, snacks, and a special delicacy is baked garlic. It probably won't be found in the whole of California. A separate long counter devoted to cheeses from around the world.

Price: free.

Address 1111 White Ln at St. Helena Hwy.

Scheduled geyser

Napa is worth visiting not only for the vineyards with history. This place is rich in natural wonders. Only three million years ago, a volcano died out in this place. But its eruptions are reminded of a geothermal source - a lonely geyser “The Old Faithful”. The geyser erupts every 30-40 minutes. First, the first hot steam appears from a crevice in the ground, and then a stream of hot water begins to beat into the sky. Underground, at a depth of about two miles, its temperature is over 170 degrees Celsius. But do not be alarmed - during the eruption it is not hotter than 50 degrees.

The time between eruptions can be spent in a small zoo, which is located nearby. Hurry up and customized geyser, expressing impatience, is not necessary. The fact is that if eruptions begin to occur more frequently, an earthquake may occur in the 500 area in the coming days.

Price: $ 14.

Address: 1299 Tubbs Ln, Calistoga.

Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest and mountains of frozen volcanic ash - a unique archaeological find. Sequoia langsdorfi (as the largest red trees on the planet are called) have long died out, and the petrified trunks are the only thing left of them. Volcanic ash seemed to preserve the Redwood forest, which is why the trees did not burn down, and over the next tens of thousands of years they completely petrified. If you look closely at the huge stones, you can see that they are actually tree stumps, which even have tree rings. And what looks like a big fallen tree will feel like a stone to the touch. Amazing sensations.

Price: $ 10.

Address: 4100 Petrified Forest Road, Calistoga.

High School

In the Napa Valley you can not only try the delicacies, but also learn how to cook them. The prestigious Culinary Institute of America is located in the former storage of wine barrels, which was built in 1889 year. The monumental structure with walls half a meter thick resembles a castle rather than a warehouse. Culinary Institute of America opened in 1946 to train soldiers returning from the war, but over time it has developed into a prestigious university. A year of study at the institute costs more than $ 25 thousand; chefs from the best restaurants in the world come here to improve their qualifications. You can sample masterpieces from student chefs at a local restaurant. Or you can take a master class yourself. Price - from $ 15.

But the tourist far from the kitchen has something to see here. For example, on a unique collection of corkscrews and bottle caps from around the world. And be sure to ask to be allowed to look at the institute’s audience. This is a rare chance to see a professorship with a huge grill and stove.

Price: free.

Address: 2555 Main Street, St. Helena, CA 94574.

Restaurant on wheels

There are several ways to get around Napa: by car, by a local travel company limousine that can fit a large family, by bike from one of the many rental locations, and even by horse. But one of the most interesting and educational ways is the retro train that goes through the picturesque vineyards.

Wine train Is not a cheap, but an exquisite and original way to admire the valley. Twenty years ago, Vincent de Domenico bought an abandoned railway, restored it, bought the cars of the early XNUMXth century from the railway museum and opened a very profitable business. The colorful composition runs between Napa and Santa Elena, and the restaurant opened there has gained fame as one of the best in the valley. Chef Kelly MacDonald prepares everything on the go, in three specialized kitchen wagons, in front of the travelers. Along the way, you can enjoy lunch, wine and views of the Napa Valley, which is beautiful and magical at any time of the year.

Price: from $ 124.

Address: 1275 McKinstry St, Napa.

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