Drink in the views in America's fabled wine country
Press the switch to open the curtains in your valley-view roomat the Poetry Inn, and you're suspended with the primary-stripedhot-air balloons of postcard fame. Pedal up the Silverado Trail tothe Miner Family villa, climb the steps, look west over yourshoulder, and a world-class view is yours too. The first might be adecade's splurge; the second, just a weekend getaway. There aremany ways to enjoy this wine country.
I came to it recently a little reluctantly. Several decades ago,the Napa Valley that I knew well ― a jewel of a strip roughly35 miles long and up to 4 miles wide between the Vaca and theMayacamas mountain ranges ― was dotted with sedately grandwineries inherited by the offspring of Northern California's earlywine pioneers, along with a few humbler wineries scrabbled togetherby passionate new talents.
Deep pockets followed, hardscaping the valley with jaw-droppingshowplaces ― and with them, tales of instructions to checkwith the concierge for permission to picnic outside. I foundexcuses to explore newer, wilder wine country.