Welcome to Pope Valley
Positioned just north of Mount Howell in a valley of the same name, sits the tiny unincorporated community of Pope Valley. Pope Valley is one of the more isolated communities in the region and it shows in the town’s relaxed atmosphere and lack of formal development. Ancient vineyards, fixture wineries, and historic locations comprise the majority of the community, though it does feature a few amenities with a more modern lean.
Lay of the Land
Pope Valley sits outside of the Napa Valley section of Napa County, just east of Mount Howell. The community manages to be isolated from the surrounding cities and tourist attractions without feeling excluded. While its closest neighbors in terms of developed locations are Angwin in the south and Calistoga in the west, the community does share a border with Lake Berryessa.
Road transportation in the Pope Valley area is limited to several small county roads. Luckily, Howell Road moves west from the city and past Mount Howell before eventually connecting to Interstate 29. Fortunately, travel within the region is simple via Interstate 29 which runs along the base of Napa Valley in a north and south direction. Eventually, it connects with Highway 12 and Interstate 80 in the southern section of the valley.
Public transportation is provided on a county level by the Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency. Unfortunately, none of the county operated bus or shuttle lines connect directly to the community of Pope Valley. The nearest stops for any of the main transportation lines are in Calistoga and St. Helena.
One of the primary attractions in the area is the Aetna Springs Golf Course. Originally, the golf course was a part of the Aetna Springs resort. Open and in constant operation since 1893, many people consider Aetna Springs to be one of the oldest courses west of the Mississippi River, if not the oldest. Regardless, the course is painstakingly maintained and constantly updated for use by visitors and community members alike. The clubhouse, an 8,100 square foot building, is a renovated historic location with several dining and event rooms overlooking the course itself.
Pope Valley is also home to the Northern California Bistronomy Center. At its heart, the NCBC seeks to provide guests with a total culinary experience. Unlike a traditional dining experience, an NCBC event is designed to immerse guests in every step of the culinary preparation process. This includes picking fresh fruits and vegetables from one of the numerous onsite organic gardens, designing menu items through spirited group discussions, practicing culinary techniques, and eventually preparing menu items in a group setting.
The Bistronomy Center offers a wide range of events and gatherings throughout the year. This include two monthly retreats, numerous San Francisco based gatherings for members to sample seasonal dishes, corporate retreats, wine tasting events, and numerous culinary based team building events.
Finally, Pope Valley is home to several wineries. The oldest and most well know of these is the Pope Valley Winery. Originally founded in 1897 as the Burgundy Winery and Olive Oil Factory, the location was purchased by a local family in 1997. The location was then renovated, renamed the Pope Valley Winery, and reopened to the public. The winery currently offers general tasting tours seven days a week. However, several additional packages are also available, by appointment only. Each of the specialty tours provides visitors with the opportunity to select custom wine packages or dining experiences. These range in complexity from fruit and cheese platters, to complex Napa Valley lunch menus, all of the way up to a full service dinner experience.