Living in Wine Country
At the 1976 Judgment of Paris, Napa Valley wines won out their French counterparts in every single category, catapulting the region’s wine to global celebrity. But that pivotal blind tasting merely marked a moment 150 years in fermentation. Early settlers were quick to uncork the growing potential of the area’s fair-weathered Provençal landscape, with the earliest vines planted by fur traders at Fort Ross in 1817. Commercial winemaking here took hold by the Gold Rush, and today you’ll find hundreds of vineyards from the Silverado Trail to the rugged, redwood-fringed Pacific coast. Together, Napa and Sonoma counties comprise the largest viticulture region in the United States and the epicenter of all things culinary. You’ll find a series of small towns blending Nantucket-level charm with a maverick, wild west edge, filled to the rim with quaint boutiques, artisanal mercantiles, cheesemongers, and Michelin-starred restaurants. When you’re not swishing your glass, there’s world-class recreation, hot air balloons and plenty else.