A year ago, I discovered a sensational 3-D map of the Napa Valley depicting its 16 sub-appellations.
Produced by the Napa Valley Vintners, the map is an ideal tool to help visitors orient themselves to our demi-paradise; the map depicts landmass, mountain elevations and valley swales on a miniature, plasticized, 10- x 12-inch sheet.
I show the map to first-time visitors to Napa Valley to give them an idea of where I’m sending them when I suggest they go up Pritchard Hill to visit Chappellet, or Continuum, or when I send them up Spring Mountain to visit Philip Togni, or Pride.
To optimize your time here, you need to visit wineries which are located in the same sub-appellation so that you don’t waste time driving helter-skelter all over the valley, back-tracking your route.
I suggest that travelers concentrate visits to wineries within the same sub-appellation to reduce travel time. It makes sense, for example, to combine visits to three or four wineries in Stag’s Leap District, or in St. Helena, or in Rutherford; this 3-D map helps give you an idea of which sub-appellations are close to one another to further help you draft a strategy to visit wineries.
The NVV, which represents 500 wineries in Napa Valley, started producing this 3-dimensional map about six years ago.
“As Napa Valley has such a varied topography, we created the map to help residents and visitors see -- and feel -- the diversity of our wine region,” explains Patsy McGaughy, communications director of the association.
Because it is expensive to produce the 3-D map, even NVV members must purchase it. Many wineries keep the map handy in their tasting room to give guests an idea of where they are, or where they’re headed.
The cost of the map is $25 – a good gift for someone you know who may be planning to visit Napa Valley – to help them plot out their visits to different sub-appellations while they’re here.
“The map has become popular in Asia,” adds Patsy. “We’ve been asked to produce maps in Japanese and Mandarin to help Asian friends in the wine business get a better sense of what the Napa Valley is all about.”
If you’re interested in purchasing the 3-D map, you can acquire one online. Napaman doesn’t sell them and doesn’t make any income if you opt to buy one. Go to:
Click to purchase the “Napa Valley Raised Relief Topo Map” which is NVV jargon for their 3-D map.