There is something magical about visiting Napa Valley during the grape harvest season. The general excitement in the vineyards, the buzz amongst vintners to clock the perfect time for picking their grapes and the aroma of the ripe grapes being fermented, all add up to wine country’s allure during this season.
Here’s a quick look at the various harvesting stages that you can witness in the valley:
- The grapes that go into making sparkling wines are picked first. Early August is the time for these grapes to be ready and marks the start of ‘crush’.
- The next set of grapes that make their way to the crush pads are used for making the white wines. These are picked after the ones for the sparkling wines.
- For the red wines, grapes are picked between late October and early November as the reds need more mature grapes. In fact, the harvest for the Cabernet Sauvignon begins after most of the other varieties, and their picking time lasts the longest.
- At the end of the season, from mid-November to the end of December, the grapes that have been left on the vine are finally picked. These riper grapes produce more highly concentrated sugars and go into the making of the late harvest wines of the region.
A visit to the valley during the three months of harvest season will allow you to experience activities that are exclusive to grape picking time. Here are a few wineries that you can explore for a truly memorable visit:
- Raymond Vineyards: In their 90-minute ‘Winemaker for a Day’ experience, you can custom blend four different varieties of red wines. Your preferred blend is then bottled, corked, foiled and affixed with your personally created designer label.
- Grgich Hills Estate: Jump into a barrel of freshly picked grapes and crush them under your feet. Later, enjoy a glass of wine from the winery’s select collection, and carry home a souvenir t-shirt and a monogrammed GoVino glass.
- Round Pond Estate: Choose the 90-minute ‘Hands-On Harvest Experience’ for a complete winery tour, barrel tasting and intimate wine-tasting with seasonal food pairing. Round Pond also offers ‘A Day in the Life’ experiences where you can spend the entire day with an in-house winemaker. In addition to a walk through the vineyard, winery and barrel room, you will also learn about the various stages of winemaking. The tour ends with a guided food and wine pairing and tasting session.
Most of these events require a prior booking, so make sure you plan ahead. If you visit the valley towards the end of the season, consider attending a harvest party at one of the wineries. Peju Province, V. Sattui Winery, Rutherford Ranch Wines and Markham Vineyards are known to host some of the best harvest bashes in Napa Valley.
Excited to plan your Napa trip? Book your accommodation at Napa Valley Hotel and Suites. Our quaint, boutique hotel in downtown Napa enjoys a spectacular location amid luxury spas, restaurants, and renowned tasting rooms.
Plan your harvest season Napa Valley visit and enjoy plenty of interesting experiences. Call us at 707-226-1871 or book your room online.