RUTHERFORD, CA - Among Napa Valley’s famed Cabernets, those hailing specifically from the Rutherford area have an especially passionate following. The unique soil in the Rutherford area, once a riverbed, produces wines in which fruit and herb flavors are tinged with a mysterious, almost spicy element known as "Rutherford dust." Experience this distinctive character at any of the wineries in Rutherford, from celebrated names including Beaulieu Vineyard and Caymus to boutique stars such as Elizabeth Spencer.

Wondering which foods pair best with Rutherford dust? Learn all about it during a lunch tasting on the terrace at Round Pond Estate. Or trust the restaurants in Rutherford to know just what to serve with the area's big, bold reds. Owned by a master sommelier, Alex Italian Restaurant offers rustic fare crafted with fresh, local ingredients. For hearty American food, head to the Rutherford Grill for ribs and cornbread or one of the best burgers in the Valley. Or wind up Rutherford Hill Road to Auberge Du Soleil for wine country cuisine at the resort's Michelin-starred restaurant accompanied by breathtaking views of the Valley below.

Purchased by film director Francis Ford Coppola in 1975, Rutherford's historic Inglenook wine estate now houses both the acclaimed Niebaum-Coppola winery and a museum dedicated to the history of Inglenook and the birth of cinema. The antique zoetropes and magic lanterns are fun and fascinating, and the grand old estate is lovely to stroll around.

Cap off a day of tasting with famous wine country hospitality, courtesy of Rutherford hotels, resorts, and bed and breakfasts. Auberge du Soleil offers luxury spa treatments as well as yoga and Pilates classes in a quiet hilltop setting with romantic Valley views. Or relax and recharge by an in-room fireplace at the charming, Spanish Colonial-style Rancho Caymus Inn, right in the heart of Rutherford.

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