How Many Grapes Are There in Napa Valley?

February 19, 2019 11:54 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The Napa Valley is one of the most famous wine regions in the world, and it is especially known for its large selection of cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay grape varieties. However, there are many other types of grapes planted all throughout the Valley, and wine lovers with all types of tastes will be able to find something they’re craving. In fact, there are more than three dozen different varieties of grapes that are currently being grown in the Napa Valley, allowing for a highly diverse selection of wines.

Here’s a brief overview from our team of vineyard appraisers in Napa County, CA of some of the most popular grape varieties grown in the region:

  • Cabernet sauvignon: Cabernet sauvignon is far and away the most popular red grape grown in Napa Valley, accounting for approximately 40 percent of the total grape production and about 55 percent of the value of the crops produced in the region. Depending on the site of the vineyard, the flavors of the grape can express themselves in very different ways to display a variety of black fruit tastes, including cherry, currant and plum. In many cases, the grapes and wines display notes of spice that appear in the oak aging process.
  • Chardonnay: The second most popular grape variety in Napa Valley, chardonnay is grown particularly successfully in soils rich in calcium and in cooler climates that allow it to ripen a bit more slowly. Wineries use barrel fermentation, lees stirring and other types of fermentation tactics to produce some complex flavors.
  • Pinot noir: Coastal California has several areas that are particularly well-suited in terms of their climate to produce outstanding pinot noir, including Los Carneros in Napa Valley. Pinot noir has a high, bright acidity to it, which helps to make it extremely versatile in terms of food pairings.
  • Merlot: Merlot wine has been a fixture of the region for decades, and is a favorite among red wine drinkers for its richness and cherry undertones. With how diverse the vineyards and wineries are in Napa Valley, the grapes can produce softer and smoother finishes, or bolder, more full-bodied and richly textured wines. It is a versatile partner to many different types of foods.
  • Zinfandel: Zinfandel was perhaps the most popular grape variety used in winemaking in California in the 19th century. While it does not enjoy the same level of popularity today, it is still widely grown and used in winemaking. Napa Valley has some older zinfandel vines that are capable of producing some rich, jammy wines. The grape is lighter in color and may in some cases be used as a base for fortified wines.
  • Sauvignon blanc: The flavor profile of this grape is grassy and herbaceous, and it has a noticeable acidity. It is capable of providing a wide range of flavors in wines. It is ideal when paired with light summer food and seafood.

For more information about the grape varieties of Napa Valley, contact our vineyard appraisers in Napa County, CA today.

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