Early pioneer and settler George C. Yount is generally credited to have been the first to grow grapes in the Napa Valley. In 1864, on the marriage of one of his granddaughters to Thomas Rutherford, Yount gave the couple around 1,000 acres of land, which Rutherford dedicated to winemaking.
Commercial production started in 1858, with John Patchett selling wine for $2 per gallon. His wine cellar, built in 1859, narrowly predates that established in 1861 in St. Helena by Charles Krug, although this is commonly cited as the Napa Valley’s first winery.
Captain Gustave Niebaum established Inglenook Winery in 1879 near the village of Rutherford. This was the first Bordeaux style winery in the USA. Inglenook wines won gold medals at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris.
In 1868 H. W. Crabb bought land near Oakville close to the Napa River. Crabb established a vineyard and winery named To Kalon, and by 1877 had planted 130 acres and was producing 50,000 US gallons of wine per year. Crabb experimented with over 400 grape varieties to find the types best suited for the area.
By the end of the nineteenth century there were more than one hundred and forty wineries in the area. Of those original wineries, several still exist in the valley today including Beaulieu, Beringer, Charles Krug, Chateau Montelena, Far Niente, Mayacamas, Markham Vineyards, and Schramsberg Vineyards.
Viticulture in Napa suffered several setbacks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Phylloxera louse killed many of the vines throughout the valley. Prohibition, enacted in 1920, caused many wineries to shut down. A few remained open with agreements to produce sacramental wine. Growers who elected to keep their vines planted sold their crops to home winemakers. The Great Depression slowed the wine business further. These events stalled the growth of the wine industry in Napa County, California for years.
A visit to California’s wine country is not complete without enjoying a Napa Valley limo tours. Even if you make your home in this beautiful part of the country, you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to see some of the more than 300 wineries in the area through the eyes of our experienced and knowledgeable drivers.
Napa Valley Limo Tours are a favorite activity of visitors, but area residents will also enjoy the opportunity to be driven to visit some of their favorite wineries in style. You can select the wineries you’d most like to visit and we’ll help you to create a custom itinerary that includes visits to your favorite wine makers. You can choose from some of the most well-known Napa Valley wineries as well as the smaller, family-owned wineries that few people even know about.
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