This is my first blog post for Taste Vacations, which only recently launched. I wanted to write about the beautiful Napa Valley and reflect the many changes since I moved there in 1982 to become one of the opening chefs at the Michelin Two Star Restaurant Auberge du Soleil. Here are a few fun facts:
42: Actual physical wineries 436
$9.00: Average Retail Price for a bottle of Cabernet $45.00
0: Napa Valley Sub-appellations 16
2 million: Cases Produced 50.2 million
$12,000 – $15,000: Vineyard land per acre $125,000 – $300,000
$1,280: Price per ton of Napa County Cabernet $5,499
250,000: Visitors per year 2.94 million
When I moved to the “Valley” in 1982, my favorite restaurant in St. Helena was Vern’s Copper Chimney located on highway 29. I don’t think Vern’s could compete with the French Laundry today (though Vern’s pancakes were pretty awesome). The most popular wineries were Beringer Bros, Charles Krug and Louis Martini Winery. $700 bottles of cult wines weren’t invented yet, and the El Bonita Motel was the place to stay back then.
Perhaps things have changed in the Napa Valley over the years but many things remain constant – some of the most outstanding wines in the world are made there and the absolutely magnificent and bucolic scenery is mind boggling awesome to behold!
I hope you join me on a Taste Vacations tour to the Napa Valley. I look forward to seeing you there! Any questions, comments or special requests …please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Note: David Mitchel is the host on Taste Vacations’ Napa Valley tours and is excited to show you his homeland!