Top Five Reason to Leave Napa Valley

Moving away from Napa Valley is, for our family, both an economic and lifestyle choice. But it could have been easily justified by much more. Too many who live here in Napa Valley don’t talk about the ugly underbelly of this place. Leaving soon, I have no problem now exposing the many reasons to leave Napa Valley. Here are the top five.

The Food
After a while, it just gets old. Take Bistro Jeanty, the Yountville institution that can be counted upon day in and day out to deliver up the same crusty, hearty cassoulet, keeping a menu that never fails to pretend it’s smack dab in the middle of the Left Bank, and its collection of locals and waiters that can’t help themselves, always greeting you with that same sincere smile. Don Giovanni, Zuzu, Press, Trancas Steakhouse…they are all the same. Enough!

The Overwhelming Deluge of Seasonal Color
A certain consistency would be nice. Am I wrong? The winter brings the muted greys and browns mixed with regular sunny brightness. Then spring, with that mustardy intro followed by the incessant vineyard greening. Summer and the onslaught of green vineyards, shooting flowers, hills in brown. And the chaos of fall. Over and over vineyards with their orange, red, yellow, browns. Is asking for a little consistency too much?

The Wine
Everywhere. Tasting rooms, grocery stores. wine shops, warehouses, bars, restaurants, wine bars, cantinas, hotels, Can I just get a Hawaiian punch maybe? No. Cabernet, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot, Cab Franc, Zin, Petit Verdot, Syrah, GSM, Blends, Sauv Blanc, Semillon, Carmenere. Sure. Wine is nice. It’s tasty. It’s fun to learn about. It’s awesome to have 50 examples of Cab made from grapes within a 1/4 mile radius. The aroma in the Valley in October is intoxicating. But I’m just saying…can a guy find a place where Hawaiian Punch is accessible and the waterfalls of wine are not so distracting?

The Annoying Intellects
Who needs smarts. Moreover, who needs it surrounding you day and night, at work and at play. No matter where you go in this valley you are confronted with PhD’s, scientists, highly cultured and educated weenies. Who needs the added stress in one’s life of having to sit around a table with people who want to discuss economics, philosophy, architecture, literature or history? Something about this place attracts way too many overdeveloped intellects.

The Paralyzing Choice
Napa is the cereal aisle of geography and it both paralyzing and overbearing. Beach, vineyards, mountains, valleys, urban sophistication, small towns, numerous international airports. And all practically within walking distance. There a great deal to be said for driving in any direction and not having to worry about turns in the road, combatting elevation changes, and dealing with alternating vistas. Too much geographic choice will keep the mind too active, while also deterring and overwhelming the benefit of predictability.


Posted In: Napa Valley


8 Responses

  1. Eric Petersen - January 6, 2019

    Great post Tom. I appreciate you saying what so many have wanted to for years. Out of curiosity, where are you moving? Hopefully somewhere with a less pretentious, more relaxed pace ?

  2. Bob Henry - January 7, 2019


    Are you “channeling” Jonathan Swift?

    Point: “The Food”

    Counterpoint: Instead of making reservations for dinner . . . just make dinner. At home.

    Point: “The Overwhelming Deluge of Seasonal Color”

    Counterpoint: With all that rain in Oregon, get used to even more green flora.

    Point: “The Wine”

    Counterpoint: ‘Cuse me, but didn’t you just decide to move to “wine country” . . . in Oregon?

    Point: “The Annoying Intellects”

    Counterpoint: You just moved to Salem, a college town. Even more Ph.D.s than Napa Valley. And it is the state capital. Even more J.D.s (in the form of lawmakers) than Napa Valley. Get used to the weenies.

    Point: “The Paralyzing Choice”

    Counterpoint: Too many bending roads? Not enough straight-to-the-horizon roads? Maybe you should reconsider Oregon and move to “wine country” in . . . Idaho.

    Ring up W. Blake Gray for an overview.

    (Check out the third photo. No bends in that road!)

    Tom, ya’ got me shedding crocodile tears for Napa residents.

    Just sayin’ . . .

    ~~ Bob

  3. kenju - January 7, 2019

    I have been to Sonoma, but not Napa. I confess to reading your post with a view to visiting Napa someday, but you talked me out of it. Then I read the comment from Bob and I am again persuaded. I’d like nothing more than to visit Oregon and meet your long lost mother. That there is wine nearby is just another enticement.

  4. Mike Dunne - January 7, 2019

    Clever and entertaining. One question: Where do you find semillon in Napa Valley?

  5. Bob Henry - January 7, 2019



    Signorello “Seta” Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc blend.


    Tragically, this news:

    “Destroyed Signorello winery owner”
    Decanter magazine – October 16, 2017


    ~~ Bob

  6. Bob Henry - January 7, 2019


    And here (sort of: Lake County grown but Napa Valley made).

    Quote: “A little-known fact: Swanson Vineyards produces America’s top-rated late harvest Semillon.”


    ~~ Bob

  7. Bob Henry - January 7, 2019

    My preceding comment either is awaiting “moderation” or it didn’t successfully upload.

    Once again . . .


    Semillon? Here:

    Signorello “Seta” (blend of 66% Sauvignon Blanc and 34% Semillon).


    Tragically, this news befell the winery:

    “Destroyed Signorello winery owner: ‘We need to get back in business’”
    Decanter magazine – posted Oct 16, 2017


    “Signorello Estate’s winery, on Napa‘s Silverado Trail, was reduced to rubble by what the winemaking team described as a ‘tornado of fire’.”

  8. Bill Ballowe - January 15, 2019

    Can I have your house? Trade you for a new one on a lake near Florence Oregon. Only blueberry and black berry vines for miles.

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