Napa vineyards and how they work
The best vineyards Napa match the grape to the terroir. In the coolest parts of the valley, winemakers grow Pinot Noir and Merlot grapes. The hardy Cabernet Sauvignon grapes can grow anywhere in the valley, but yield better wines in some areas than in others.
The best vineyards Napa use pruning to hold the canopy at an even height, allowing for plenty of photosynthesis without letting the vine invest too much nourishment in growing the central stock. They thin the crop at the beginning of veraison, sacrificing a few of the grapes to make sure that those allowed to stay on the vine are fully nourished. They pull leaves away from the grapes to give them more contact with the air, reducing potassium and malic acid and protecting them from mildew. They use refractometers to check the sugar level in the juices of grapes to determine ripeness, and harvest the grapes at precisely the right time, when the grapes are fully ripe but without too much sugar.
Some of the best vineyards Napa have their own wine clubs. The way these clubs work is simple — you agree to order a certain number of wines every year, and in return you get a discount on the regular price. You also get invitations to wine tastings and barrel tastings. The advantage of a wine club connected to a Napa vineyard is that it is better at keeping the wines on its list in stock.
One of the best vineyards Napa is near St. Helena
Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley, a 10-minute drive from downtown St. Helena, is one of the best vineyards Napa. Their Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends are widely regarded as among the best wines in Napa. Their Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and non-malolactic Chardonnay of this vineyard also have a cult following. It holds tastings in its barrel caves, where current releases and library wines may be sampled and visitors can learn all about the process of making and storing the wine. Cave tastings are $65, but one tasting fee can be waived by joining their wine club or making a $100 purchase. One of their better wines is the 2009 Right Bank. Ruby red with purple at the edge, this wine has a cassis aroma with notes of espresso, cedar and black pepper. With its full-bodied mouthfeel, rounded tannins and taste of black fruit and chocolate, this is a wine to cherish.
Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards produces world-class wines at affordable prices. The vineyard is a 40-acre estate just south of Howell Mountain, and has been owned and operated by the Anderson family since 1983. Anderson’s wines are sold online and in five locations in Napa Valley, and many other locations nationwide. Join their wine club today.