The Sequoia Trees of Napa Valley

Don’t bark up the wrong tree! A common misconception is that Sequoia Grove is named after Sequoiadendron Giganteum – trees indigenous to the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Yet, it actually takes its name from the tall Sequoia Sempervirens or Californian Coastal Redwood. Often called nature’s skyscrapers, these colossal forest beings are the inspiration behind the name of our winery, Sequoia Grove. These magnificent trees only exist along a narrow strip of the California coast and are currently under threat. If you haven’t experienced these iconic trees for yourself, it’s high time for a trip to the Golden Coast!

From Such Great Heights

The Sequoiadendron Giganteum (Giant Sequoias) and the Sequoia Sempervirens have obvious similarities like their thick cinnamon-red bark.  What sets these two giants apart are their trunks and their length. Giant Sequoias are known for being the biggest trees in the world, while Sequoia Sempervirens are known for being the tallest. Sequoia Sempervirens are often called Coast Redwoods, Coastal Redwoods or California Redwoods. No matter what you call them, they are nothing short of majestic. These gentle giants can reach more than 350 feet. That’s about as high as a 30-story skyscraper! Its diameter can reach about 24 feet and each tree can weigh up to 1.6 million lbs. But perhaps the most fascinating fact about them is that they can live up to 2,000 years. That means that some Coastal Redwoods living today were alive during the time of the Roman Empire. Remarkable, right?


Survive and Thrive 

Coastal Redwoods have been on Earth for more than 240 million years. They used to spread across most of the Northern Hemisphere but are now only found along the small strip of coast from central California to southern Oregon. As their name suggests, these Redwoods thrive in a moderate, rainy, coastal climate and are never more than 50 miles inland. Their branches are adapted to trap the most amount of moisture from coastal fog, allowing them to grow up to two or three feet a year. This very impressive pace makes them one of the fastest-growing conifers in the world.

 Their shallow but large root systems often stretch over 100 feet and intertwine with the roots of other redwoods creating incredible underground networks. A part of what makes these Redwoods so fantastical and even mythical are the formations in which they grow. Redwood saplings often sprout in a circular cluster around their parent tree. They can grow bigger and stronger by feeding off the nutrients from their parents’ roots. These circular clusters are sometimes called ‘fairy rings’. 

Save the Sequoias

Incredibly, Sequoia Grove is home to one such special fairy ring. Planted around 1910, it carries spectacular significance for our farm. Not only is it the origin of our name, but it signifies the essence of Sequoia Grove. This circular grove symbolizes our holistic approach to farming and our never-ending commitment to sustainability. 

After all, the fact is that both the Sequoiadendron Giganteum (Giant Sequoias) and the Sequoia Sempervirens (Coastal Redwood) are under threat today. Unsustainable logging practices, climate change, and raging fires have claimed the majority of these lofty lumbers. Only 5% of redwood forests have survived the logging of the 19th and 20th centuries. Although many of California’s redwood forests are now declared as parks, it’s the younger groves that are most vulnerable to forest fires and other threats. 

That’s why at Sequoia Grove, we support the Save the Redwoods League through our membership in 1% For the Planet. Through its mammoth efforts, they have protected over 200,000 acres of Redwood forests and helped create 66 Redwood parks and preserves since 1918. If you’d like to play your part in helping to save the Sequoias, you can also donate to the Save the Redwoods League here. As one of the leaders of sustainable practices in Napa Valley, we take our role seriously. In the end, our full circle approach means we are mere custodians of the land and want to leave it in better condition than we found it.

See the Sequoias 

Experiencing a forest of Redwoods is a bucket-list item. The awe, the magnificence, and the sheer size simply do not translate well into words. You’ll have to see it for yourself. Take a drive and visit these Sequoia spots: 

Muir Woods

The Coastal Redwoods steal the show at Muir Woods. Protected as a National Monument since 1908, the Muir Woods Forest is a primeval showcase of the splendor of Sequoias. Take to the trails with qualified rangers and learn more about the history and inner workings of these trees. Since Muir Woods is a mere 12 miles from San Francisco, it’s a very popular spot for tourists. Our tip: Go in the off-season to get an uninterrupted view of the tallest Coast Redwood at Muir, towering at 258 feet high! 

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

For a more peaceful trip with fewer crowds, Big Basin near Santa Cruz is a good option. This said, Big Basin was devastated by the CZU wildfire in 2020. In May 2021, a small portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park reopened to the public for the first time. Even in this small, reopened portion of the park, many trails remain closed because of dangerous conditions, namely damaged trees. But it’s enough access to get a first-hand look at what the fire did to this landscape, and the importance of preserving the land for the future.  

The Petrified Forest

For a different kind of Redwood experience, visit the 3-million-year-old Coastal Redwood fossils. At the north end of the Napa Valley, you can see the relics left from a bygone era. Just before the start of the Ice Age, these Coastal Redwoods were toppled during a volcanic eruption and covered in a thick layer of ash. Come and see the largest petrified trees in the world. 

Sequoia Grove Winery 

If you’re in the Napa Valley, we invite you to pop in at Sequoia Grove in Rutherford. Voted ‘The Best Tasting Room in Napa Valley’ 2020 & 2021 by Napa Valley Life Magazine’s People’s Choice Award, visitors are welcome to sip on world-class wines under the shade of the Sequoia grove. Reservations recommended. Book here

Sequoia Sempervirens are at the root of our Sequoia Grove story. These Coastal Redwood trees are more than just our brand icon – they are a symbol of our history and our commitment to preserving these natural giants for generations to come.