Find Napa Valley wineries, restaurants and activities open with special hours during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Winter can be a great time to visit Napa or Sonoma. All the crowds associated with the harvest are gone and, although the vines are bare until the following year, the lack of people means you'll find empty tasting rooms and quiet tours. As an added benefit, California's winter weather is still much milder than in many other destinations.
While this is the rainiest time of the year, temperatures often still range between 50 and 60° F. Olive oil harvesting takes place in November and December, and if you visit in February, you're likely to see the vibrant yellow mustard flowers blooming in the valleys. Spring in Napa and Sonoma can be variable, with a mix of rainy and sunny days, but overall, this is a beautiful time of year to visit, as long as you don't mind the bare vines. A free public event that takes place during the holiday season is the Napa Illuminated Art Festival, where light installations are displayed throughout Napa at dusk for nine days.
You might think it would be easy to sample wine in the Napa Valley almost any time of the day, but while there are many bars and restaurants that offer great wines by the glass and bottle, “the last call for guided tours and wine tastings at most Napa wineries is long before the sun sets over the vineyards. From intimate boutique inns to full-service luxury resorts, and everything in between, Napa Valley properties are ready to welcome you with first-class hospitality. Offering world-class wines, winemakers and wineries, the Napa Valley is ready to welcome you with a taste of the good life. This year Napa is celebrating its third year with the hope of having light art installations in approximately 16 locations in Napa.
While the harvest season varies from year to year due to weather and other factors, most wineries start harvesting grapes in August and continue through October. Thanks to the general good weather throughout the year, California's Napa and Sonoma Valleys welcome visitors year-round. It's truly an idyllic experience in the Napa Valley, especially when paired with caviar, fresh cream and chips. Over a two-month period in winter, you can use your Winter Passport at wineries to gain access to 14 wine tastings at a variety of exclusive and well-known wineries in Calistoga.
It's offered Thursday and Friday nights, and there's only one reservation, so you'll really have the Napa Valley property to yourself. But if you want a genuinely idyllic experience in the wine region, the best time to visit is in late summer and early autumn, approximately late August to mid-September, when the vines are still burdened by huge bunches of grapes and the wineries are bustling with harvesting activity. Most wineries in the California wine region are open for tastings throughout the year, during normal business hours. The latter is located inside one of the most recognizable buildings in the Napa Valley, a copper-roofed, stone-fronted building with a 50-foot tower at the end of a sycamore tree-lined driveway and surrounded by beautiful gardens with meandering walkways and outdoor sculptures.