St. Helena, California

St. Helena is a small city situated in Napa County, in the Wine Country region in the US State of California. The city forms a part of the North Bay region and is located about 96.56km north of the city of San Francisco. The city hosts some of the most well-known wineries in California and is currently one of the world’s best wine-tasting destinations.

Geography Of St. Helena

Aerial view of V Sattui Winery and retail store in St. Helena.
Aerial view of V Sattui Winery and retail store in St. Helena, Napa Valley, California. Editorial credit: bonandbon / Shutterstock.com

The city of St. Helena covers a total area of 13.2 sq. km, of which 0.3 sq. km is occupied by water and 12.9 sq. km is occupied by land. The city of St. Helena forms the center of the large American Viticultural Area that includes approximately 416 vineyards encompassing a vast area. The city currently serves as an important commercial center for the wine industry. The most well-known Beringer Vineyards and the Charles Krug Winery have been listed under California Historic Landmarks and in the National Register of Historic Places. The city also serves as the location of the Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College and the Greystone campus of the world-famous Culinary Institute of America. Nicknamed “Napa Valley’s Main Street,” the central portion of the city consists of many shops, fashion boutiques, art galleries, and charming cafes that are set in historic buildings. St. Helena is a General Law City administered under a council-manager form of government where the City Manager serves as the city’s administrative head.

Climate

The city of St. Helena experiences long, hot, arid summers and short, cold, wet winters. The warm season lasts from June to October, with July and August being the warmest months where the average temperature ranges between 32°C to 13°C. The cold season lasts from November to February, with December being the coldest month, where the average temperature ranges between 14°C to 3°C. The city receives an average annual precipitation of 931mm. Although snowfall is quite rare here, the city of St. Helena gets an annual average snowfall of 5.1mm.

Demography

Wine enthusiasts taste wine at a winery in Napa Valley, St. Helena.
Wine enthusiasts taste wine at the Del Dotto Estate Winery & Caves in Napa Valley, St. Helena, California. Editorial credit: Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

As per the 2010 census, the city of St. Helena is home to a population of 5,814 inhabitants. The city has a population density of 446.6 inhabitants per sq. km. About 77.8% of the city’s population are considered White; 1.7% are Asians; 0.4% are African Americans; 0.6% Native Americans, 0.2% Pacific Islanders; 2.5% from two or more races, and 16.8% from other races. The Census also revealed that there are 2,401 households and 2,776 housing units in the city of St. Helena.

Brief History

Beringer Vineyards in the Napa Valley, California.
The historic Beringer Vineyards - a large winery in St. Helena in the Napa Valley of northern California was founded in 1876. 

St. Helena was initially inhabited by the native Wappo people who spoke in the Yukian language and are believed to have originally settled in the area as early as 2000BC. Anakotanoma, the local Callajomanes tribelet village, was located close to the confluence of the Napa River and the Sulphur Creek. It is believed that the town was likely named after Mount St. Helens. In 1834, the area was settled as a part of General Vallejo’s land grant. Several people from faraway lands and all walks of life started relocating here, and the new settlers began planting vineyards and making wine in the 1860s. In 1868, the first railroad was built to transport food, grain, and other mining products. On March 24, 1876, St. Helena was officially incorporated as a town, and by 1886 the population grew up to 1,800 inhabitants. On May 14, 1889, the town of St. Helena was reincorporated as the city of St. Helena. 

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