Ben’s Place of the Week
Coordinates: 38° 30 N | 122° 20 W
Area: 754 square miles (1,953 sq. km)
Bavarian beer baths are fine for some, but the more sophisticated may prefer a Chardonnay massage–a truly intoxicating way to de-stress. Popular among the Parisian upper class in the eighteenth century, the long relaxing soak in a barrel of wine thought to reduce the effects of aging has become an exfoliating rub-down in the twenty first. And California’s Napa Valley, famous for its Mediterranean climate and abundance of wineries (roughly 300 altogether) happens to be one of the few places where such a spirited spa treatment can be found. A narrow valley that almost stretches from Mount Saint Helena to San Pablo Bay, the Napa Valley actually only produces about 5% of California’s total wine volume.
Ben Keene is the editor of the Oxford Atlas of the World.