Yes, it’s crowded; yes, it’s pricey; yes, you’ll sit in traffic behind a limousine full of purple-grinning day-tasters from Germany, but there’s a perfectly sound reason for that: Napa Valley is the best wine region in the New World. Period. Back when our neighbors to the west were taking the prune market by storm, Napa was uncorking our national appetite for fermented grape juice, giving it a seat at the table alongside the great wines of Europe. Each year about 4 million visitors ply the vineyard-dense valley to sip our Cabernet, dine at our Michelin-starred restaurants, and rest their light heads in our luxury hotels. They come to visit the wine country, and that means two words: Napa Valley.
Napa-bred Heather John was wine editor at Bon Appétit until 2010.