Napa County was formed in 1850 and has a current population of 136,000. The unique climate and terrain of the County makes it ideal for growing the finest premium wine grapes.
Fine wines are what Napa Valley is best known for and are the source of a large portion of the County’s income. While producing only 4% of California’s wine by volume, Napa County delivers 27% of the sales value of the state’s wine. Vineyards and wineries have an overall impact on the County’s economy of $9.5 billion. They also provide about 40,000 jobs, nearly half of the total employment in the County.
The increasing popularity of fine wine over the last few decades has made Napa County a destination spot for tourists, attracting 4.7 million visitors annually. Along with fine wine has come an interest in fine dining and the opening in recent years of dozens of new restaurants.
Napa County enjoys the privilege of being the only place outside New York City to have restaurants earning the much vaunted three star rating from Michelin Guide. Two such local restaurants enjoy that status—The French Laundry in Yountville and the Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena. An additional six restaurants also earned Michelin star ratings.
A large part of the continuing popularity of Napa County as a tourist destination is due to a decision made by county supervisors in 1968. At that time it was decided that it was important to preserve the agricultural nature of the County and very strict zoning regulations were passed which forbade residential development of
agricultural lands. The result has been the maintenance of a rural landscape
in Napa County.
The ethnicity of the County’s population is mainly Caucasian and Hispanic, representing 64% and 27% of the population respectively.