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Napa Valley

Napa Valley's rolling hills, covered with wildflowers in springtime and growing golden as the vineyards come to bear, are home to dozens of hot springs with alleged curative powers, beautiful hiking and biking trails, and colorful towns known for their rural elegance.

Best of all, however, are the 300-plus opportunities to get absolutely sloshed, or just taste some of the world's best wines. Nearly 60% of California's wineries are located in Napa and the parallel Sonoma Valley, together the traditional heart of California's 'Wine Country.'

Napa Valley's excellent wines didn't make their mark until a 1976 blind wine-tasting competition in France. Though there's no single wine associated with the Wine Country, typical whites include Fum├ę Blanc, Riesling, Gew├╝rztraminer, Chenin Blanc and California Chardonnay. Reds include Pinot Noir, Merlot and Beaujolais; the robust Cabernet Sauvignon and peppery Zinfandel are probably the premier California reds. Ports (red and white) and sweet Muscats are also gaining popularity among local vintners.

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