What to Do in Napa Valley: Harvest Time to Cabernet Season
Ginger Martin + Co
There’s more to Napa Valley than Harvest. Though that’s the most popular time of year to visit for a reason, there are joys following it. Whether you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the busy harvest season or the more relaxing Cabernet Season in the area, there are so many appealing aspects drawing visitors to Napa Valley during the next few months. Here is everything you need to know about these crucial times in the winemaking process.
Harvest Season Events in Napa
Harvest in Napa Valley is a truly remarkable time of year. The weather is starting to cool, the leaves are changing colors, the area’s grape growers are busy harvesting their crop and wine production is in full swing. The celebratory atmosphere during this time of year is contagious. Luckily, Napa Valley provides more than modern homes for sale in California, as harvest time offers a variety of festivities throughout the season that are not to be missed.
Crocker & Starr Winery
700 Dowdell Lane, St. Helena
The harvest season unofficially begins with the annual Carivus Maximus at Crocker & Starr Winery in St. Helena. In addition to celebrating this year’s grape harvest, this party also welcomes the addition of the winery’s newest offering, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon “Stone Place.” The event will include delicious food from a variety of local restaurants, such as Hog Island Oyster Co., The Fatted Calf Charcuterie, Pizza Politana, Cafe ZUZU and Paradise Shaved Ice along with some fun games and prizes throughout the afternoon. Sow Belly Trio provides musical accompaniment for the festivities, which kick off at noon on September 2.
Calistoga Harvest Table
Lincoln Street, Calistoga
Enjoy the flavors of the season from a dozen local restaurants and more than 40 area wineries at the annual Calistoga Harvest Table. This unique event features 1,000 feet of dining tables stretched across Lincoln Street in downtown Calistoga, where diners can feast on seasonal cuisine from participating restaurants and drinks from area wineries. The event, on Sunday, September 9, kicks off with a social hour at 4:30 p.m., which is open to the public. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. to ticket holders. A portion of the proceeds from the dinner will be donated to Calistoga Cares food bank.
V. Sattui Winery
1111 White Lane, St. Helena
One of the most highly anticipated events of the season, the Harvest Ball at V. Sattui Winery is an exclusive private event with a sense of fun. The evening begins with a beautiful sunset over the rolling hills near the winery’s picturesque grounds, followed by a gourmet dinner curated by the vineyard’s Michelin-starred chef. And, of course, the evening wouldn’t be complete without a selection of the winery’s award-winning wines and live music for dancing the night away. The annual harvest ball will be held on September 15 this year, starting at 5:30 p.m.
Rutherford Hill Winery
200 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford
Celebrate this year’s harvest by enjoying a special selection of Rutherford Hill and Terlato Vineyards wine at the seventh annual Barn Bash release party. This fun event will pair delicious wine offerings with wood-fire grilled pizza and smoky BBQ dishes in the rustic barn at Rutherford Hill Winery. The event will also feature live music in the winery’s beautiful oak grove. The barn bash starts at 11 am. on September 16.
Harvest Party and Grape Stomp
1010 Big Tree Road, St. Helena
Enjoy one of the most entertaining aspects of harvest season—grape stomping—at this annual bash at Benessere Vineyards. The Harvest Party and Grape Stomp will include a grape stomping competition, in addition to live music from the Bueno Brothers. Local food truck favorite, Mark’s the Spot, will fire up their wood oven for delicious appetizers and pizza to pair with the vineyard’s selection of wonderful wines.This year’s event will start at 11 a.m. on September 22.
Cabernet Season in Napa Valley
Following the busy harvest season, Napa Valley begins to slow down and relax, giving grape growers a chance to take in their harvest and celebrate a successful growing season. Known as “cabernet season,” the time between November and April is another great time to visit the area. In addition to less traffic and tourists, visitors can also take advantage of the opportunities to interact with local vinters and learn more about the winemaking process.
As life begins to slow in the area during this time of year, the weather also cools and the foliage throughout Napa Valley takes on a beautiful new shape. The area’s trees begin to change color and the creeks start to swell from winter rains, making the entirety of Napa Valley a sight to be seen. And as the weather grows colder, area restaurateurs are prompted to change their menus once more, offering heartier fare to complement the season.
The pace is slower during Cabernet Season, the crowds are smaller and Napa Valley is just as stunning. Whether you chose to travel to your favorite winery for the first sip of a new sauvignon release or decide to pair your wine with a delicious meal at one of the area’s many Michelin-rated restaurants, you’re sure to enjoy yourself.
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