First impressions of Napa Valley

Conventional Napa Valley vineyard

Napa Valley as seen by a fresh, fascinated pair of eyes. Samantha Cole-Johnson, shortlisted for a 2020 Louis Roederer International Wine Writers' Award, has arrived to do a vintage in one of the most coveted wine regions in the world.

My first impression of Napa was, perhaps inappropriately, made pre-arrival.

‘It’s like Disneyland for adults’, my friend told me prior to my move. My brain conjured up palm-tree-lined driveways, well-heeled people in grand tasting rooms drinking too much, having too much fun, and perhaps even throwing tantrums at undeserving tasting-room staff.

After being in Napa for a month, I...