The 2017 NapaLife
Insider's Guide
to Napa Valley

By Paul Franson

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

The Lay of the Valley

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

Tours and Transportation Suppliers

The Napa Valley Wine Train

The Vine Trail

The Cities and Towns of Napa Valley

American Canyon – Gateway to Valley

Napa – No Longer a Cinderella

The Oxbow Public Market

Napa’s Riverfront District

Yountville – America’s Gourmet Capital

The Shops at V Marketplace

St. Helena – the Heart of Napa Valley

Calistoga – the Wild West in Napa Valley

Angwin – Teetotaler’s Haven  

The Land East of Eden

Wine in Napa Valley

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 (Croatian) Grape

Blends and Meritage Wines

Other Varieties in Napa Valley

Sparkling Wine from Napa Valley

Growing Grapes in Napa Valley

Stealth Organic Growers

Biodynamic and “Natural” wines?

Plant Your Own Little Bit of Wine Country

Making Your Own Wine

Wine Terms

The Wineries of Napa Valley

The Legacy of Napa Valley Wineries

Visiting Wineries

Oak Knoll AVA

Stags Leap District

Yountville AVA

Oakville AVA

Rutherford AVA

St. Helena AVA

Calistoga AVA

Off the Beaten Path

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

Winetasting in Downtown Napa  

Wineries in South Napa

Hidden Retailers Sell Rare Wines

Food and Restaurants

A Passion for Food

Napa Valley’s Favorite Restaurants

A Peek Inside the CIA

Hot Chefs, Hot Restaurants

Gardens Fuel Meals at Local Restaurants

Should Restaurants Feature Napa Wine?

Corkage at Napa Valley Restaurants

Enjoy Food with Wine at Wineries

Outdoor Cooking and Eating

Brick Ovens Make Memories

Cooking Classes in Napa Valley

Olive Oil in Napa Valley

Grapeseed Oil

Gourmet Chocolate in Napa Valley

Prepared and Other Foods

Gourmet Shops and Delis in Napa Valley

Cookware Stores in Napa Valley

Top Breakfasts in Napa Valley

Cheeseburgers in Our Paradise

Favorite Mexican Restaurants

The Food Truck Phenomenon

Restaurants by city

Napa Restaurants

Yountville Restaurants

Rutherford and Oakville Restaurants

St. Helena Restaurants

Calistoga Restaurants

The Best Places to Eat Alfresco

Where to stay in Napa Valley

Stay at a Winery?

Christian Brothers Retreat


Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford

St. Helena


Boutique Inns and B&Bs

Chain, business and other lodgings

Camping and RV spaces

What to Do Beside Eat and Drink

Top Views in Napa Valley

Farmers Markets in Napa Valley

Auction Napa Valley

Music Festival for Brain Health

School and Charity Auctions

The Napa Valley Wine Library tasting

The V Foundation Wine Celebration

Flavor Napa Valley

The Arts in Napa Valley

Visual Art

Commercial Art Galleries

The Most Interesting Winery Architectures

Music, Drama and Entertainment

Performance Venues

Music and Art Festivals

Special events year round in Napa Valley

Wellness and Sports in Napa Valley

The Best Bike Rides in Napa

Hiking Napa Valley

Be Pampered in Spa Valley

The Top Gardens in Napa Valley

Skyline Park Native Habitat Garden

Up, up and Away in a Beautiful Balloon

Shopping in Napa Valley

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

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.

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 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 20 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, and many other publications. The book is 352 pages softbound. One map.

Buy the NapaLife Insider's Guide to Napa Valley

The NapaLife Insider's Guide to Napa Valley is available from's CreateSpace for $19.99

Ebook (Kindle format) $9.99