You can even get a mud bath at Dr. Wilkonson’s, where you will be slathered in volcanic ash and peat moss. Then to the whirlpool bath and the massage table
Napa Valley is world famous for its wines. The grapes that grow here are transformed into fruity Merlots and buttery Chardonnays, among many, many other varieties of wine from the more than 400 wineries that pepper the valley.
The valley itself is 40 miles north of San Francisco and 40 miles inland. Overall, it holds more than 45,000 acres of vineyards that grow about a dozen key grapes, from Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. The very first vines were planted in the 1850s, but the budding wine industry was almost stamped out for 50 years by two things: phylloxera, a grape root eating louse, and the dreaded Prohibition.
However, in the 1940s the valley was reborn. The dwindling number of wineries skyrocketed, and when the Napa wines earned top honours at a 1976 blind tasting in Paris, the wine world took notice, and things really took off.
The city of Napa anchors the valley, but the real attractions are up-valley. If you are looking for the good life - food, wine, swimming pools, great weather, silk sheets and all those lovely bourgeois things - then look no further than Napa Valley and its wineries. Two highlights are HALL St. Helene and Castello di Amorosa.
HALL St. Helene is an example of a fusion between wine and art. Marked by a 35-foot gleaming stainless steel bunny, here your wines are taken with works of art by John Baldessari, Peter Wegner and Nick Cave. Alternatively, Castello di Amorosa was inspired by a 13th century Tuscan-style castle. Within its 121,000 square feet walls, built with one million handmade bricks from old Hapsburg palaces, you can enjoy a rich and wide array of wine and grape juice tastings.
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