St. Helena is Napa Valley’s Main Street. Situated in the center of wine country, St. Helena offers sophisticated experiences including boutique wineries, highly-acclaimed restaurants, luxury lodging and spas, agro-tourism adventures, and refined shopping—all with the authenticity of the original Napa Valley. Home to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), one of the world’s most unique and inspiring campuses for culinary education, St Helena today leads food and wine trends in the valley and beyond.
Learning about the history of St. Helena sheds some light on this unique Napa Valley destination, known both for its gorgeous countryside and charming small-town feel. Though not far from major urban areas, St. Helena remains strikingly pristine. Part of that can be explained geographically; in the days of stagecoaches and bad roads, the valley was relatively remote and hard to reach through the hills. But in modern times, preserving St. Helena’s character and countryside was a conscious act. In the 1960s, Napa County adopted one of the first major agricultural land protection policies in the United States, setting in motion a tradition of preservation. Today, that fierce love of the land and strong sense of community live on. You see it in historic downtown, where multi-generational family businesses still thrive, and in the vineyards themselves, 95% of which are family owned. The unique character of the town is evident in annual activities such as the Easter egg hunt, Harvest Festival pet parade, free summer concerts and even the annual wine auction hosted by the Napa Valley Vintners Association. Whether a visitor or a resident, we hope you’ll enjoy learning about this one-of-a-kind city.