Old Napa Valley, The History to 1900, ©1998, by Lin Weber, Wine Ventures Publishing.

I read this book during my time as a wine educator at Robert Mondavi Winery, in 1998. Having that job allowed me the luxury of reading while working. As I was just creating a “wine book” page for the blog, I knew that I had some lost files for the blog. This book review is one of them, and it’s also the best Napa history read I’ve come across.

Although this book has been out for awhile, it’s a must read for anyone who wants or needs to know about Napa Valley’s history. This book was my bible between taking visitors out on tours of the vineyards and winery, and then into a tasting to enjoy those wonderful wines.

For the rest of the world who doesn’t live in or visit Napa Valley, it may have little or no use, but I say that very loosely.

Anyone else who visits Napa Valley, and has great memories of visiting Yountville, for instance, can begin to put all the names of the region together with the history that created it, and anyone who loves history, will find this a detailed read.

  • Surrounding towns, lakes, and streets are reflective of their land owners: Angwin (Edward Angwin), Yountville (George Yount), Lake Berryessa (Berryessa family), Coombs Lane (Nathan and Frank Coombs), Chiles Valley (Joseph Chiles).
  • The Napatos Indians inhabited the land around the city of Napa.
  • Mallacamas Indians to the north of Napa were found in Calistoga. (Since a double “ll” in the Spanish language is pronounced as a “y”, the Mayacamas Mountain range is what it’s called today (in and around the city of Calistoga, crossing over into Sonoma County).

A seven year passion for Lin Weber, it’s all there in a comprehensive historical perspective on the Napa region. It’s a must have in wine libraries, for educators, writers, and anyone mildly interested in Napa Valley’s original roots that date from the Native Americans to the 1900s A.D.