Yountville: A Little Town With A Lot of Tradition

Yountville is smack in the middle of wine country

Yountville is the perfect base for exploring Napa Valley Wine Country.

Like any first-time visitor to Napa Valley, California, I couldn’t take my eyes off the miles of manicured grape vines lining the fields on both sides of Route 29, the main stretch of road that runs about 30 miles from Calistoga (in the north) to American Canyon (in the south).

Yountville’s backstory

With a rich history of farming, ranching, winemaking, and hospitality, the town of Yountville—which sits almost equidistant from each end—is often called the heart of the Napa Valley.

George Calvert Yount was the first non-native to settle in the Napa Valley, after receiving a land grant of almost 12,000 acres in 1831 from the Mexican Military governor of California. The trapper and lumberjack soon planted pear trees, roses, strawberries, and mission grapes on his land—the grapes originally brought to northern California by Franciscan monks, who used them for sacraments.

When Yount died in 1866, this growing settlement, previously called Sebastopol, was renamed in his honor.

Yountville Visitor Center
Yountville Visitor Center

Since then, Yountville has earned a reputation for being a center of hospitality that George Yount could never have imagined.

Yountville today

The little town he began has mushroomed to a population of some 3000 full-time residents (1500 of whom live within the confines of the Veteran’s Home that opened there in 1884).

Yountville still feels intimate, especially when you sit down for a cup of coffee at the very affordable Velo Deli & Pizzeria. Most townies live in unpretentious-looking but expensive mission-style bungalows with large, inviting porches.

A mecca for food and wine lovers

Entrance to legendary Bouchon Bistro in Yountville
Entrance to legendary Bouchon Bistro in Yountville

Also within walking distance is Bistro Jeanty, a staple in town for more than two decades that serves classic home-style French cuisine.

Jeanty Bistro in Yountsville
Jeanty Bistro in Yountsville\\\\\\\\\\\

Another favorite is the Italian restaurant Bottega. The kitchen has been helmed by celebrity Chef Michael Chiarello before his unfortunate passing. The Yountville town website lists all the  restaurants in town and describes their menus.

Gnocchi at Bottega in Yountville
Gnocchi at Bottega in Yountville
inside the Yountville Deli
inside the Yountville Deli

What to do in Yountville

Yountville has an impressive public art program with more than 38 pieces of sculpture on display outdoors designed to engage passersby.  The Art Walk starts from wherever you are. In addition to docent-led tours, visitors can take advantage of self-guided ones because all the sculptures have identification plaques with QR codes. 

Yountville is also home to the Napa Valley Museum, the Lincoln Theatre, and numerous wine-tasting rooms and parks. 

Each year, in February, visitors can attend the annual  Yountville International Short Film Festival.  The festival includes four days of World Class Short Films at pop-up screenings at multiple downtown venues, paired with offerings of Yountville’s wine and culinary delights.

Yountville International Short Film Festival poster
Yountville International Short Film Festival poster

Where to stay

The town is a great place to stop for a memorable meal or to stay overnight at its one-of-a-kind hotels and resorts. One of our favorite places is the Bardessono Hotel and Spa, a luxurious but energy-efficient LEED Platinum-certified property situated on its own vineyard, only steps away from downtown. Each of the 65 guestrooms and suites at this boutique hotel offer in-room spa luxuries with custom-crafted furnishings.

Other interesting properties include North Block Hotel, a contemporary boutique property, and the Napa Valley Railway Inn, a series of quirky railroad car suites that still sit on their original track.

One of the courtyards at the Bardessono Hotel in Yountville
One of the courtyards at the Bardessono Hotel in Yountville (Photo credit: Bardessono) North Block Hotel in Yountville

North Block Hotel in YountvilleMoreover, Yountville’s location offers tourists a perfect base for visiting other cities and towns at both ends of the Valley. If you are headed a bit further north on Route 29, the Healdsburg restaurants are worth checking out.

All photo credits: Jerome Levine (unless otherwise shown)


  • Yountville Napa Valley (official tourism site)

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  1. We visited the Napa Valley some years ago. We enjoyed the beauty of the area and a charming bed and breakfast I found (of which I cannot remember the name). I wish I had been able to read your blog posts about the area before we went. oh well. Next time. 🙂

  2. We’ve been to that area twice in the last two years. We stay with a friend in Napa. Charming area, with great food and wine–obviously. We’re looking forward to our return trip this year.

  3. With so much wine country here in Washington we’ve gotten lazy about heading south. You’ve reminded me of our trip to Healdsburg – now too many years ago. . .might be time to make a return and visit Yountville.

  4. I cycled through Yountville a few years ago and loved the area. But to see it as shown with your first photo would be even better. I’m impressed with all the public art as well as the art at wineries. Now if only it was closer so I could visit more often.

  5. I realize that it is expensive, but I can’t wait to sample some of these fine restaurants, as I hear they are some of the best in the world.

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