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When California became a state in 1850, Napa County was established. Wild grapes had always grown in the area, and its earliest settlers began to cultivate them for wine. The first vineyards were established around this time by organized planting of grapevines and experimentation with several varieties of grapes. The town of Yountville was named after George Calvert Yount, one of the first such planters.
The area’s first commercial winery was established in 1861 by Charles Krung, and over the next couple decades, dozens more would be opened. Two major setbacks challenged this commercial growth. One was the outbreak of phylloxera, which destroyed the plants on a large portion of the area’s vineyards. The other was the legal prohibition of alcohol, although its repeal opened the door for the vineyards’ quick recovery and expansion.
In the middle of the twentieth century, local vintners collaborated and created the Napa Valley Vintners trade organization in an effort to making the valley’s wines better known to outsiders. A similar organization, the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association was formed when growers and vintners joined forces in the marketing effort.
In the famous Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, California wines won several awards, putting Napa vineyards and wineries on the global map and sparking even more interest in the area. Ever since, the valley has been a favorite destination of wine tasters and connoisseurs.
Today, this welcoming area offers numerous lodging and dining options for visitors who come to enjoy the great wine and the beautiful countryside.