Monday, May 5, 2014


St. Helena, CA

Our walk home from the grocery store.
In a mass-production world, it's easy to forget that the wine in my glass comes from an agricultural product that bears fruit only once a year. Wine is a finite resource, a fact brought home to me when I look at a map of world wine regions showing just how few places on the globe are grape-friendly. Grapevines are finicky things, picky about something wine folks call "terroir," the soil, climate, topography, hours of sunlight and amount of rainfall, among other things. And, unlike Jimmy Buffett, they don't like changes in latitude. Grapevines will thrive only in a narrow band of latitudes in the northern and southern hemispheres, between the 30th and 50th parallels.

Because of this essential confluence of conditions necessary for grapevines to be happy, wine producing regions are relatively rare and rarefied for me until now, seemingly mythical before I came and decidedly magical once I did. Grapes have amazing taste in terroir. Check out this curb appeal.

Looking down into Napa Valley from Mount St. Helena.
Driving through Napa Valley is gawk worthy -- and not just for its beauty. It's like a music fan driving past Sting's house, then Paul McCartney's, and Dave Matthews next door -- and Bruce Springsteen up the hill. Oh, and there's the entrance to Prince's palace! Whoa, Lyle Lovett and Jay-Z are neighbors? Who knew? 

Napa Valley claims some of the most famous wine producers in the world, all jammed into a scant 67 square miles. 

And us? We're nestled in a little hamlet called St. Helena (rhymes with Catalina) in the dead center of Napa Valley. Our wee cottage is across the street from Beringer, walking distance to Charles Krug, one of the oldest producers in Napa. We are within a few-miles of Duckhorn, Louis Martini, Rombauer, Quintessa, Mumm Napa, Stag's Leap, Heitz, Nichol & Nichol, St. Supery, Grgich, Silver Oak, Cakebread, Turnbull, it just goes on and on. And so will I. More to come!

St. Helena, the big red mark in the center of Napa Valley.

Today, I'm grateful for: the privilege of watching grapevines at work.

MORE ABOUT wine country | triumphal entry | blooming |


  1. Love Napa Valley, only had the opportunity to be there once. Before sure you visit Chateau Montelena and Sterling Wineries in Callistoga. Love following your blog.

  2. Are wine prices better there than they are in other areas?