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Wine Spectator School

Class 2: Napa Valley

The main concepts covered in Class 2 include the following:


  • Wall-to-wall vineyards
  • Many varieties, from Chardonnay to Zinfandel
  • Cabernet Sauvignon and its blending partners in many top vineyards
  • Cabernets with depth, richness, diversity and personality
  • Chewy, tannic mountain-grown
  • Supple, polished, elegant valley floor


  • First planted in NV more than a century ago
  • Rutherford is first prime Cabernet district, home to Beaulieu Vineyard and Inglenook
  • Post-Prohibition boom begins 1970s
    1970,   2,398 acres Cabernet
    1980,   5,569 acres
    1990,   9,131 acres
    2000, 11,340 acres


  • CS likes heat
    Too cool, unripe with green tannins
    Too hot, alcoholic with baked fruit flavors
  • Regions range from too cool to too hot
  • Climate factor 1 = valley shape
    Upside-down funnel
    35 miles long, one-five miles...

Ready to enroll?

First, you must register for a membership to WineSpectator.com. Your membership benefits include:
  • FREE enrollment in any course at Wine Spectator School
  • Over 230,000 searchable ratings and tasting notes
  • FREE mobile access so you can research wines wherever you are
  • E-newsletters with advance ratings
  • Editors’ blogs
  • Food and wine matching tool
  • And much more
Log In If You're Already a WineSpectator.com Member

If you have questions about Wine Spectator School, please contact us.

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