Calistoga has expanded and grown as a wine region, typified by winemakers who make the most of the incredible grapes this winegrowing region produces: big, distinctive wines, both red and white, imbued with character and undeniable pride of place.
Calistoga was named the 15th official American Viticultural Area (AVA) in Napa Valley on December 3, 2009. An AVA is a designated wine grape-growing region with distinct geographic features and growing conditions, such as climate, soil and elevation that contribute to a wine's identifiable features, such as taste and aroma. Effective with the newly mandated AVA, labels claiming Calistoga in their name or as their AVA must contain a minimum of 85% Calistoga grapes.
Calistoga boasts a unique terroir (special characteristics created by geography, climate, soil, etc.) that has an intensity all its own. Ranging from volcanic soil with cooler hillside climates to flat and warmer pockets, Calistoga var- ies in its overall flavor profile. Calistoga is fortunate to have a strong portfolio of both red and white grape varietals which thrive here, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Chardonnay, plus many more worth discovering.
“The Judgement of Paris,” as the historic 1976 wine-tasting competition is now known, put a previously unknown Calistoga winery named Chateau Montelena firmly on the international wine map, and its surprise win over long-established European wines brought the Napa Valley wine region new respect and attention. (Be sure to catch Bottle Shock—the hit feature film which tells this story and which was partly filmed at the winery, now on DVD.)