During the early part of the 1800’s, the area that now makes up the Town of Yountville was owned by Mexico. George C. Yount received an 11,887-acre land grant from the Mexican government in 1836. His land extended from Yountville to just south of St. Helena and across the entire width of the Napa Valley. Yount was the first permanent Euro-American settler and the first person to plant grapes in the Napa Valley. Yount named his land, Caymus Rancho, after a tribe of Native Americans in the area. In the early 1850s Yount laid out a six block area with a public square and created a small village that he called Yountville.
Immediately below Yount’s southern property line was the northern property line for the Mexican land given to Salvador Vallejo, about 2 years after Yount received his land grant. Vallejo called his lands Rancho de Napa. After the Bear Flag Revolt in 1847, Vallejo began selling his Rancho de Napa property to early pioneers. The people who purchased these lots built houses and stores wanted to name their community Sebastopol to make it distinct from Yountville. So for a time, 2 places existed, both Yountville and Sebastopol, each with their own post offices.
After Yount’s death, Sebastopol changed its name in 1867, in Yount’s honor, and both Yountville and Sebastopol became a single community in Napa County.
By 1868, railroad service had been introduced into the town and influenced the town’s configuration.The coming of the railroad tracks brought in many new comers such as recent immigrant Gotteib Groezinger, who in 1870 purchased twenty acres of land and by 1874, built a winery, barrel room and distillery. The buildings remained a winery until 1955, but for eleven years lay dormant until it was brought to its present state. Today the three massive stone buildings are known as V-Marketplace and house a collection of specialty shops and restaurants. Yountville has many fine shops, restaurants, are galleries and wineries.
The French Laundry
The French Laundry Gardens
Yountville is also the home to the French Laundry, a Michelin 3-star restaurant, and boasts numerous other Michelin star rated restaurants. Yountville is considered by many food critics to be home to some of the finest restaurants in the world.
Yountville became a California municipality on February 4, 1965 and recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary of incorporation.
The Town of Yountville (pop 2,933), is located in the heart of the beautiful Napa Valley wine country and enjoys a “small-town” lifestyle and the sophisticated ambiance of premium restaurants, hotels and inns, spas, theater, museum, and a 9-hole public golf course. Yountville is also home to the Veterans Home of California, a community of and for veterans. Napa Valley is located approximately 60 miles from San Francisco Bay, and accessible to Sacramento, and the Sonoma Coast.
The Town of Yountville, renowned for its world-class restaurants and award winning chefs, has earned the unofficial title of 'Culinary Capital of the Napa Valley'. From French, Italian, Pacific Rim, Bistro and California Cuisine to down-home comfort food, an array of fine dining and unmatched ambiance are yours to discover in Yountville. Located within walking distance of the Town's well appointed hotels, are small luxury inns, premium wineries, activities and shopping.
In 1999 the area around Yountville was approved an American Vitacultural Area (AVA), a unique area for growing grapes. Its boundaries were primarily established by those of the other existing or proposed AVA's in the large Napa Valley AVA-Oak Knoll district on the south, Oakville on the north, Stags Leap district on the east, and Mount Veeder on the west. The Town of Yountville takes its name from George C. Yount (its founding father), who had a large land grant in the Napa Valley and who was the first to plant grapes there. The Yountville AVA is warmer than the Carneros AVA, but cooler than areas to the west and north of it. The area encompasses about 8,260 acres with not quite half of that planted to vineyards. Chardonnay is the dominant of varietals, especially in vineyards to the south where it's coolest. Merlot and Cabernet Franc do well here, as does Cabernet Sauvignon in the AVA's northern portion.
Visitors will enjoy the small town atmosphere, renowned first-class restaurants, luxury hotels and inns, premium wineries and shopping. TOWN DEMOGRAPHICS Population (US Census 2010): 2,933 Total Housing Units (2010): 1,252 Yearly Average Temperature: 59.62 degrees Fahrenheit Average Annual Precipitation: 24.6 inches Elevation: 97 feet
Story by Daniel Dachille