A visit to the Napa Valley can be as simple as finding a great hotel (Wine Country Inn) and a close-by restaurant (Brasswood Estate) and then allowing the sunny days and deep wines to melt away life’s problems. After a few days of recuperation, it is time to stretch out and begin to explore the wonders of the Napa Valley. The first time visitor to the valley may initially see just the big tasting rooms and hills of grapes, but the experienced visitor understands that behind the surface of Napa is an entire world to explore. The Napa Valley holds a fascinating history of exploration, wine, food, architecture and a fascinating story of historic characters.

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Located slightly to the west of Saint Helena, the Spring Mountain Appellation rises up from the valley floor to about 2,600 feet. The appellation contains a wild diversity of elevations, sun exposure, and soil which contributes to its reputation as the source of consistent, powerful, and distinctive red wines. Spring Mountain Vineyard is an 845 acre estate on the eastern slopes and lower half of Spring Mountain.

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The history of the Napa Valley is complex and intertwined with farmers, vignerons, and at times the lives and stories of the wealthy. It is easy to imagine the area surrounding Saint Helena as the definition of a perfect Eden, with springs bubbling out of the ground and an ideal pattern of seasons for agriculture. Add to this picture its proximity to the culture of San Francisco. Throughout the eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds, this perfect corner of heaven attracted the wealth of San Francisco and on the Napa hillsides they built mansions, vineyards, and wineries.

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For many visitors to the Napa Valley the large vineyards and wineries that populate the valley floor are the primary area of focus. For the explorers who look for the hidden experiences, the mountain tops that surround the valley are the secret destination. Here you will find small vineyards and wineries that hand pick the perfect grapes and delicately press and filter the juices into Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and of course Cabernet Sauvignon.

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For the lucky few who live in the Napa Valley, the experience of tasting wine and discussing its properties is simply a part of every day. For the first time visitors to the valley, the experience of wine tasting can be rather daunting, as the number of tasting options is overwhelming and the variety of flavors and smells is impossible to track. Often the expert pouring wine refers to the wine having hints of chocolate, berries, fruits, spices or other exotic qualities. Your first response may be to dismiss this descriptive language as just part of the presentation and not a well-developed part of the wine industry. However, it is important to open the sense of smell and taste to a complex range of expressions in the different varieties of wine.

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If you could fly up and over the Napa Valley, you would see a small area just north of St. Helena where the lush vineyards line the edges of the Napa River. This heart of the Napa Valley is home to a few fortunate vineyards, hotels, and restaurants. Perhaps it is the peace of the countryside that draws visitors to this area, but there are also gems of culture and culinary opportunities hidden among the vines. Guests of Wine Country Inn have access to an astounding array of food, wines, shopping, and events just two minutes from the hotel at Brasswood Estate.

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Napa Valley is known for its world-class wineries and sprawling vineyards. But did you know that one of these wineries lies within a 13th-century medieval Italian castle? The winery authentically and regally represents an era of opulence with its extravagant architecture and magnificent atmosphere. Play king and queen for the day when you visit Castello Di Amorosa by indulging in the royal food and wine pairing or a variety of other decadent tasting experiences. Here is what you need to know about this Napa Valley marvel when planning your visit!

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