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Napa Valley Wine Tours, Winery Map, Restaurants, History
Yountville, the smallest incorporated town in California's Napa Valley, has grown from a small economically challenged farming community into a culinary mecca, cultural center, luxury resort destination and home to world class wineries.
Napa Valley & Sonoma Wine Tasting Tours
Seven miles north of the City of Napa and bisected by Highway 29—a.k.a. St. Helena Highway—Yountville stretches from the Mayacamas Mountains into Napa Valley with most activity downtown on the east side of Highway 29 along Washington Street.
Napa River Ecological Reserve
Follow Yountville Cross Road from the north end of town across the Napa Valley toward the Silverado Trail until you come to the Napa River to visit the Napa River Ecological Reserve.
Deer, California quail and another 150 bird species have been spotted in this 73-acre riparian forest and meadow habitat, a small remnant of the natural environment that once ran from one end of the valley to the other.
Washington Street exits town on the north end and skirts the southwest side of the Yountville Hills, paralleling the St Helena Highway for a quarter mile before merging with it. Yount Street also exits the north end of town and circles the Yountville Hills to the east before connecting with Yount Mill Road which continues around the north side of the hills to intersect Highway 29/St. Helena Highway.
Yountville Wineries and Wine Tasting Rooms
About a dozen wine tasting opportunities are scattered along a five or six block section of Washington Street in downtown Yountville. Venture a mile or so north, south, east or west to explore even more.
Downtown, expect your experience to be more wine bar like while the actual wineries outside of town may include vineyard, winery or wine cave tours. Get the details by following the alphabetical list of links to the right to our illustrated write-ups for Yountville wineries and wine tasting venues or use our interactive winery map to navigate among wine tasting venues by location.
Shopping in Yountville
In 1870 Gottlieb Groezinger—a produce and fish merchant from San Francisco—built what was at that time the largest winery in the Napa Valley. Today his original winery, distillery and wine cellar are a complex of upscale specialty shops, galleries and restaurants known as V Marketplace (earlier Vintage 1870).
V Marketplace is the largest of four commercial plazas in Yountville. The others are Washington Square, Beard Plaza and Whistlestop Center.
From 1976–2001 The Diner attracted wine tourists to pause in Yountville, serving legendary food for breakfast lunch and dinner but its fame never approached that now enjoyed by the French Laundry.
In 1994 owner/Chef Thomas Keller purchased and reopened the French Laundry restaurant, housed in a building that began as a Scottish stonesman's saloon, was converted to a French steam laundry in the 1920s and then a restaurant in 1978. The menu emphasizes seasonal, local produce, much of which is grown directly across the street from the restaurant.
Perennially ranked at or near the top of Restaurant magazine's list of Top 50 Restaurants in the World and awarded five stars in the Mobile Guide and three in the Michelin Guide, the French Laundry takes reservations two months, to the day, in advance. Plan to book early in the day.
With its run away popularity, limited seating capacity (60), dress code (jacket required), and prices matching the French Laundry's stratospheric ratings Thomas and his brother, Joseph Keller, opened Bouchon (1 Michelin star) in 1998 to serve moderately priced French bistro fare and the Bouchon Bakery next door a few years later.
Keller later opened a fourth restaurant in Yountville, ad hoc—on Washington Street like the other three but serving comfort food.
Additional dining options in Yountville include at least one more French Bistro; Bistro Jeanty, étoile the restaurant at Domaine Chandon—1 Michelin star, Cantinetta Piero at Hotel Luca, Hurley's, Bottega, Pacific Blues and Redd—1 Michelin star (all on Washington Street), and Mustards Grill and Brix (both on the St. Helena Highway just north of downtown) as well as many others.
Veterans Home of California, Yountville
The Veterans Home of California, Yountville for California's aged and disabled veterans was established in 1884 by Mexican War veterans and members of the Grand Army of the Republic and is now operated by the State of California, Department of Veterans Affairs.
• Vitner's Golf Club and Lakeside Grill
Vitner's Golf Club is a 9-hole course with three sets of tees to accommodate professionals, scratch players and the general public. The Lakeside Grill has views of the golf course and, as you can imagine, a small lake and features an extensive menu.
• Lincoln Theatre
The Napa Valley Symphony holds most of its concerts at the Lincoln Theater at the Veterans Home—an annual free concert is provided by the river in Napa at Veterans Memorial Park). The Lincoln Theater has a seating capacity of 1,200, the largest in the valley.
Napa Valley Museum
The Napa Valley Museum—a multimedia integration of science, agriculture, geology, history, physiology and technology—is located at the end of California Drive on the west side of Highway 29, next to the California Veterans Home in Yountville. A permanent exhibit "Land and People of the Napa Valley" features rare artifacts and is augmented with temporary exhibits on a diverse range of subjects from fine arts to history to natural sciences.
Trees lining the entrance road along California Drive were a gift from the Treasure Island World's Fair of 1939-40 in San Francisco.
In 1831 George Calvert Yount became the first Euro-American settler in the Napa Valley. Besides shooting grizzly bears—as many as 5 or 6 a day, fighting Indians, hunting, trapping and catching sea-otter he occasionally helped out at the Sonoma Mission. With the assistance of General Vallejo, Yount received the Rancho Caymus land grant from the Mexican Government in 1836.
Yount built the first log cabin on the Pacific Coast as well as a saw mill and a grist (flour) mill known as the 'Star of the Pacific Premium Mill' on Rancho Caymus. In 1855 he laid out a town he called Sebastopol. Another town in Sonoma County already claimed that name so two years after his death—in 1865 at the age of 71—the town he founded was renamed Yountville in his honor.
Yount's grave and the site of his blockhouse are on the north end of town:
• Grave of George Calvert Yount
California Landmark 693 is the Grave of George C. Yount in the George C. Yount Pioneer Cemetery at Lincoln and Jackson Streets in Yountville. A plaque placed by the California State Park Commission marks the spot.
• George Yount Blockhouse
California Landmark 564 is the site of George Yount's Log Blockhouse. It is located at the northeast corner of Cook Rd and Yount Mill Rd, not far from his grave site and one mile north of Yountville. His grist mill and saw mill were nearby.
Follow the links below for details about individual Yountville wineries (in alphabetical order) or click winery names on the interactive map or sidebar above.
Slideshow—all photos on this page
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Website and all photos copyright © 2001–2014 Lee W. Nelson