What is a Wine Appellation?

Napa Valley has a long agricultural history, and before the land was even divided up into wineries, grapes were growing wild on the hillsides, marking a future wine country to be inundated with savants from overseas. One of those men was George Calbert Yount, who came to California in 1831 and won two Mexican land grants with which he built one of the area’s first homesteads. Realizing the land’s wine-ready fertility, he began planting different varieties of grapes in a patchwork of fields to discover which ones were the most successful in his area.

Other homesteaders began to settle in Napa Valley, having bid adieu to the bygone gold rush, and followed in Yount’s footsteps in experimenting with different varieties and sticking to the ones that did best. All these green thumbs would eventually come to establish the different Napa Valley appellations. A wine appellation, therefore, is a name for a region distinguished by its microclimate and the varieties of grape that are grown there. Napa Valley is split up into 16 different appellations.

Here are three of the wine appellation regions close to Churchill Manor to give you an idea of the kind of wineries you’ll find around Napa, California.

  1. Los Carneros – With elevations ranging from 15 to 400 feet above sea level, this region is known for cooler temperatures and marine winds blowing in from the San Pablo Bay. Churchill Manor is located in this region, with downtown Napa housing many of the area’s most famous wineries and tasting rooms. With the lowest rainfall in Napa Valley, this region is known for its Chardonnays, Merlots and Pinot Noirs.
  2. Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley – Also close by, Oak Knoll is typically a foggier region beset by the morning marine layer. The rains and 800-foot elevations paired with afternoon breezes make it a cooler region with about 36 inches of rainfall annually. Producing Merlot, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Oak Knoll reds have an elegant Bordeaux-style.
  3. Coombsville – Sometimes known as Tulocay, this region has lovely temperate climates with peaks reaching 1000 feet above sea level. Proximity to San Pablo Bay and the marine air give the area about 25 inches of rain each year, making it the optimal microclimate for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir.

All of these regions are home to numerous vineyards and wineries that are both educational and beautiful. Aside from our rooms each named for a Napa Valley wine appellation, consider splurging on our “Indulge” vacation package, which is certainly one of the most exquisite ways to tour wine country. Your three-night trip will begin with a chilled bottle of Napa Valley Champagne and chocolate strawberries, alongside the Churchill Manor Welcome Basket where you’ll find robes, slippers, champagne flutes and local gourmet truffles. One-hour Sweedish massages are also included, which you can enjoy in the privacy of your room or in the downstairs spa depending on your preference. When you wake up in the morning and enjoy a fresh breakfast, your stretch limousine will be waiting to take you on a 6-hour tour of wineries with an over-the-top picnic lunch. There’s no better way to experience Napa Valley.