The Lay of the Land

I'll start with this:  Napa Valley is quite literally, a VALLEY.  While this may seem easy enough, there are a few things you should know about how it's broken up.


General overview 

Napa Valley sits between 2 ranges of mountains - the Mayacamas (West) and the Vacas (East).  The Valley spans about 30 miles from North to South and is dissected into sub-regions both geographically by town and by AVA (American Viticultural Area).  Two main roads essentially run parallel to each other up and down the valley and will be your primary route for getting to and from places:  Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail.  Click here to dive more into which one you should take.

the towns of napa valley

"Napa Valley" is located within Napa County (one of the 4 . North Bay Counties) which is broken up into a few towns (ie places with their own zip code).  While some of their names may double as AVA's (see below), they do not hold the same geographical boundaries.

North to South they are:

  • Calistoga
  • St. Helena
  • Rutherford
  • Oakville
  • Yountville
  • Napa

The AVA's of Napa Valley

The term "Napa Valley" is a constructed term by the American Viticultural Area that denotes the large grape-growing and wine producing region within Napa County.  It is broken down further into AVA's (American Viticultural Area's) and while some of the town names may double as AVA names, they are not geographically the same and do NOT have their own zip code/post office.  The 16 AVA's can be found both on the valley floor and on the mountains on both sides. 

Valley AVA's (North to South)

  • Calistoga
  • St. Helena 
  • Rutherford 
  • Oakville 
  • Yountville 
  • Stag’s Leap District 
  • Oak Knoll
  • Coombsville 
  • Carneros

Vacas Range AVA's (North to South)

  • Chiles Valley
  • Howell Mountain
  • Atlas Peak
  • Wild Horse Valley

Mayacamas Range AVA's (North to South)

  • Diamond Mountain 
  • Spring Mountain 
  • Mt. Veeder