The NapaLife
Insider's Guide
to Napa Valley

A Travel Guide for the Connected Age

By Paul Franson

Table of Contents
of The NapaLife Insider’s Guide to Napa Valley

The Lay of the Land
A Quick Tour of Napa Valley
Napa Valley: Glitz Grafted on Deep Roots
How the Ag Preserve Saved Napa Valley
The Couple Who Created Napa Valley
Getting Around
The Napa Valley Wine Train
The Vine Trail
American Canyon – There’s no There There
Napa – No Longer a Cinderella
The Historic Napa Mill
The Riverfront
Yountville – America’s Tiny Gourmet Capital
The Shops at V Marketplace
Oakville & Rutherford – Big Names, Tiny Towns
St. Helena – the Heart of Napa Valley
Calistoga – the Wild West in Napa Valley
Angwin – Teetotaler’s Haven in Wine Country
The Land East of Eden

Grapes and Wine in Napa Valley
Wine Varieties
Sauvignon Blanc – Napa’s Best White
Chardonnay – America’s Favorite Wine
Pinot Noir – the Choice of Kings
Merlot – Unappreciated Stepsister
Cabernet Sauvignon – the King of Wines
Zinfandel – America’s Own (Croatian) Grape
Blends and Meritage Wines
Other Varieties in Napa Valley
Growing Grapes in Napa Valley
Stealth Organic Growers
Biodynamic and “Natural” wines?
The Gentleman Grower from Virginia
Plant Your Own Little Bit of Wine Country
Making Your Own Wine
Wine Terms
The Legacy of Napa Valley Wineries
A Note on Visiting Wineries
Napa Valley’s Major Appellations
Oak Knoll AVA
Stags Leap District
Rutherford AVA
St. Helena AVA
Calistoga AVA
Los Carneros AVA
Coombsville AVA and east of Napa
Mt. Veeder AVA
Spring Mountain AVA
Diamond Mountain AVA
Pritchard Hill
Atlas Peak AVA
Howell Mountain AVA
East of Eden – Across the Eastern Range
Napa’s Hot Winemakers
Winetasting in Downtown Napa and Nearby
Hidden Retailers Sell Rare Wines

Food and restaurants in Napa Valley
A Passion for Food
Napa Valley’s Favorite Restaurants
A Peek Inside the CIA
Hot Chefs, Hot Restaurants
Should Napa Restaurants Feature Napa Wine?
Corkage at Napa Valley Restaurants
Enjoy Food with Wine at Wineries
Brick Ovens Make Wine Country Memories
Cooking Classes in Napa Valley
Olive Oil in Napa Valley
Grapeseed Oil
Gourmet Chocolate in Napa Valley
Prepared foods
Gourmet Shops and Delis in Napa Valley
Cookware Stores in Napa Valley
Top Picnic Areas at Napa Valley Wineries
Top Breakfasts in Napa Valley
Favorite Mexican Restaurants
The Food Truck Phenomenon
Restaurants by city
Yountville Restaurants
Rutherford and Oakville Restaurants
St. Helena Restaurants
Calistoga Restaurants
The Best Places to Eat Alfresco

Lodging in Napa Valley
Stay at a Winery?
Hotels in Napa
Hotels in Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford
Hotels in St. Helena
Hotels in Calistoga
Boutique inns & B&Bs
Chain, business and other lodgings
Camping and RV spaces

Things to Do in Napa Valley (besides eating and drinking)
Top Views in Napa Valley
Farmers Markets in Napa Valley
Napa Chef’s Market and Cheers!
Auction Napa Valley
Music Festival for Mental Health
School and Charity Auctions
The Napa Valley Wine Library tasting
The V Foundation Wine Celebration
Visual Art
Commercial Art Galleries
The Most Interesting Winery Architectures
Performance Venues
Music and Art Festivals
Wellness and Sports in Napa Valley
The Best Bike Rides in Napa
Hiking Napa Valley
The Top Gardens in Napa Valley
Skyline Park Native Habitat Garden
Up, up and Away In a Beautiful Balloon
Harvest in Napa Valley
Winter in Napa Valley: Cabernet Season
Visiting Napa Valley Alone
Things to Do on a Cold, Rainy Day
The NapaLife Insider's Guide to Napa Valley

A Travel Guide for the Connected Age

The NapaLife Insider’s Guide to Napa Valley is a guide to Napa Valley by Paul Franson, editor of NapaLIfe, the Insider's Guide to Napa Valley for those who live here – or wish they did.

The NapaLife Insider’s Guide to Napa Valley is a new kind of travel guide. It’s written to be used with a smartphone or tablet.

Instead of trying to list details about lodging, restaurants and attractions, it tells you what to do and see in Napa Valley. Highly opinionated, it reflects the views of author Paul Franson, who has been writing about Napa Valley from the inside for more than 16 years.

Each Monday, NapaLife tells its readers what’s new and interesting, almost always before they could see it anywhere else.

Franson also writes for the Napa Valley Register, Napa Valley Life and many other publications. In the NapaLife Insider's Guide to Napa Valley, you’ll learn the stories behind the valley and its people, and learn everything from the best views in Napa Valley to why Napa Valley is the unique place it is.

The book is 360 pages softbound. One map.

Buy the NapaLife Insider's Guide to Napa Valley

The NapaLife Insider's Guide to Napa Valley is available in printed form for $24.99 or in digital format for $9.99.

Print copy from's CreateSpace $24.99

Ebook (Kindle format) $9.99

PDF version for computer viewing or printing $9.99
You can also order The NapaLife Insider's Guide to Napa Valley from and buy it at
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