Welcome to Yountville
Yountville is the quintessential Napa Valley city. Not in the overly used cliche sense, or because of the wineries, or the idyllic setting. No, Yountville represents the spirit of Napa because just like the valley is overlooked when compared to its more well-known neighbors in the Bay Area or its wealthier neighbors to the west, it is easy to forget Yountville when compared to the more visible or famous cities in the area. Yountville isn’t the largest city in the area, or the oldest, or the one with the most prestigious wineries. Luckily, just like Napa Valley itself, Yountville real estate is happy sitting in its own quiet excellence.
Lay of the Land
Yountville is a small incorporated city in the middle of Napa County. The city sits on the western side of the Napa River between the city of Oakville and the city of Napa. Yountville is surrounded by open spaces, historical agricultural land, and the ubiquitous Napa Valley wineries. The city is one of the smallest incorporated communities in the area, boasting a total area of just over 1.5 square miles and population of 2,973. Though technically a part of the Bay Area, Yountville is far enough removed from the immediate San Francisco area to not be overly affected by the region’s housing demand. The average home value is therefore a manageable $559,176 while the average household income hovers around $70,701.
The small, secluded nature of Napa County means that unlike most of California, the residents of the county don’t have to deal with a convoluted collection of overstressed roadways and taped together transportation infrastructure.
Road travel in the Yountville area is accomplished via Highway 29, the only major roadway near the city. It moves through the county from north to south and provides access to Highway 12, which runs west into Sonoma County, and to Interstate 80, which meanders into Oakland in the southwest and Sacramento in the northeast.
All public transportation in the region is handled by the Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency. The NCPTA manages all of the various busses and shuttles that connect the cities of Napa County to each other and to the neighboring counties. On a local level, the Yountville Trolley is a free trolley that transports visitors and residents around the city. Additionally, the NCTPA operates bus lines that connect to all of the major cities in the county, to several Bay Area Rapid Transit stations, and to several stops in Solano County.
Given the location, wineries and tasting bars are a given. Yountville has several of each, though none are as famous as many of the nationally recognizable vineyards found in other portions of the county. However, what the city does have is food. Yountville is often described by visitors and Napa County locals as the “Culinary Capital of Napa Valley”. While this seems like a bold claim based on the number of Michelin-Starred restaurants in the area, it’s nonetheless a claim that few of Yountville neighbors would challenge. It’s hard to argue with the fact that in addition to several locally recognized restaurants, the city has more Michelin stars per capita than any other location on the continent.
The French Laundry, operated by internationally acclaimed Chef Thomas Keller, is located in an historic river rock and oak structure that was originally the home of a Scottish saloon. The restaurant serves a menu of traditional French cuisine utilizing a wide range of fresh local ingredients paired with wines from local wineries. Though the menu changes on a daily basis, the commitment to excellence is consistent. The French Laundry has been awarded 3 stars by the Michelin Guide San Francisco for six consecutive years.
Bouchon, also operated and owned by Chef Thomas Keller, is a Bistro style French restaurant operating within the city of Yountville. Bouchon is renowned not only for its authentic menu, which features a rotating seasonal selection, but for its attention to detail with regards to the traditional French cafe decor. Though Bouchon provides a slightly more relaxed atmosphere, with available outdoor dining, the dedication of Chef Keller and his culinary team was still enough to earn it a 1 star rating by the Michelin Guide San Francisco.
Additionally, while the city lacks a traditional commercial or retail district, it does offer visitors access to a wide range of eccentric local boutiques and specialty shops. Finally, the city also boasts several luxury hotels which feature in house spa services and various additional amenities. This is in addition to the numerous bed and breakfasts that provide guests with a traditional rustic setting and charming views of the valley.