A Visit to North California’s wine region – Napa Valley
Whenever I flick through a Californian Wedding Photographer’s portfolio and see their photographs from Napa Valley – one of the most popular wedding destinations in the U.S – I get envious: Romantic castles, beautiful soft golden light and fancy tasty juicy wine plantations: What more can a wedding photographer wish for?
When I went on a road trip along the North West Pacific in the U.S. past June and Napa Valley was on the way between destinations I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to see this place for myself. Well, here it comes: Never has a place so photogenic disappointed me so much. To be fair, I’m as spoiled as I could possibly be. I’ve spent every year of growing up as a child on family holidays in Italy. Venice is a 4 hour drive away from my home in Munich, the northern South Tirolean and Tuscan wine regions not more than a 6 hours drive. I made the mistake to want the same thing from Napa Valley that I got from holidays in Italy: I wanted to stroll through the wine hills until spotting a shady spot under a cypress tree to have a picnic at. Or something like that. To be honest, I probably didn’t plan this out all that well.
In reality Napa Valley is a valley flanked by large hills with a highway that goes right through the middle of it. On the left and right of the highway are the wineries: French chateau next to Black Forest timbered house next to Neapolitan fortress next to Tuscan villa. All somehow off-looking and scaled down. You can book ridiculously expensive tasting tours, horse rides and other upscale activities.
Napa Valley is a damn theme park for adults who want a weekend of from their Silicon Valley jobs.
That’s great…but so not me. I remember desperately trying to get out of the car – just to go for a walk somewhere – but this proved impossible since every path that diverts from the main highway leads directly to fenced off private estates.
I still took some pretty pictures of course – and if anyone wants to book me for a wedding here I wouldn’t say no. But should you have the luxury to choose between Europe and Napa Valley for your wedding destination there is no real question about the choice.