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Clearly the king of the Californian wine scene, Napa is the people choice when it comes to Cabernet Sauvignon. Other varieties include Merlot, Chardonnay Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, Charbono for red wines and Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Muscat, Viognier for white grapes but in general, if you say Napa, you probably mean Cabernet Sauvignon.

Napa’s history began in 1840 when pioneers George Calvert Yount, John Patchett and Hamilton Walker Crabb introduced the first vitis vinifera grapes to the area. News spread and by 1861 Charles Krug had opened a winery, generating great interest (not to mention jobs) in the area. By the late 19th century, Napa had over 140 wineries, including the very famous Inglenook vineyard (founded in 1879). However, not having the savoir-faire nor the equipment of the Europeans, the early 20 th century saw a turn in tides: a glut of grapes that nobody wanted, phylloxera that nobody knew how to combat and prohibition meant that just 10% of the original wineries were left, operating solely for sacramental wine purposes. Recovery was slow; the Mondovi family purchased the ex-Krug winery, John Daniel Jr. resurrected Inglenook and, realising that they were much stronger together than alone, the seven key figures of the Valley created the Napa Valley Vintners (which now stands at 550 members). Napa’s status as a world leader was established when French judges awarded a Napa wine – a 1973 Stag’s Leap – at the Judgement de Paris in 1976, beating Bordeaux by a long shot. From then on, the only way was up for USA fine wine.