St. Helena, the biggest little small town in the wine world
Although the small town of St. Helena, CA, has fewer than 6,000 people, it is one of the acknowledged centers of the global wine business. With more than 80 wineries, it is known as the home of some of the world’s finest wines.
St. Helena was incorporated as a town in 1876, by which time it already had a number of small businesses, a schoolhouse and a hotel. Ten years later it had a population of about 1,800. Even before it was officially a town, it was a center of the growing California wine industry, with vineyards being planted by new arrivals in the 1860s.
In 1981, the Napa Valley was named California’s first American Viticulture Area. Since then, it has come to encompass 16 nested AVAs. The St. Helena AVA itself is noted for warmth, with less fog and wind than other parts of the valley. Its soil ranges from gravel-clay soils on its southern and western borders to rich volcanic soils in the north and east. It produces deep, ripe Cabernet Sauvignons, Cabernet Francs and Merlots with jammy flavors and blackcurrant aromas.
Planning a visit
If you’re planning to visit St. Helena, look for their best St. Helena wineries on Yelp. Look for places with at least 20 reviews and at least four stars. Don’t confine yourself to the town itself — get out into the Napa Valley countryside, exploring the intricate topography that allows the valley to produce such a great diversity of wines, marveling at all that can be found within a mere five to ten mile radius of St. Helena. Find a hotel, and be prepared to spend several days there.
A winery near St. Helena
Some of the best California wines come from Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley. Just a 10-minute drive from downtown St. Helena, Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards produces world-class wines at affordable prices. The vineyard is a 40-acre estate just south of Howell Mountain. The microclimate of Conn Valley is cooler than many other parts of the valley, although warmer than Howell Mountain itself, so the grapes they grow are closer to mountain grapes than the grapes in the St. Helena AVA proper. At the vineyard, you have the chance to meet the owners and wine-makers and taste excellent wine stored in a cave.
Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards 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. By ordering six bottles or more per year, you can join their wine club. This will get you a discount on many of their finest wines. Try a bottle today.