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When is harvest time in Napa?

Bridgewater, New...
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When is harvest time in Napa?

We'd like to plan a trip to Napa Valley and want to know about harvest time. Are there limited openings at the wineries during harvest time? What is a good time to go - maybe just after harvest? When is it most crowded? We were there in July 2008 and it was gloriously uncrowded, but we would like to plan more in September. Should we plan on early or late in the month. Thank you. 3 pp Husband, wife, grown son.

Fresno, CA
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1. Re: When is harvest time in Napa?

October is crush season and very popular and prices reflect it too!! Harvest starts in September with the culmination of crush. The weather is very nice too in Napa vs. July!

Napa
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2. Re: When is harvest time in Napa?

They start picking the sparkling and sauvignon blanc in August, and sometimes even late July. The bulk of the picking, and when it's most crowded, is usually mid Sept- mid Oct. The earlier in September, the less crowded - like right after Labor Day.

IMO - the best week to come is the first week of November :)

Edited: 11:38 pm, March 07, 2011
Napa, CA
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3. Re: When is harvest time in Napa?

Segway is right-- Halloween through the first 2 weeks of November are kind of the "best kept secret" for wine lovers:

•The entire valley still smells like new wine (since the grapes are all happily fermenting in their tanks),

•the winemakers are busy, but are finally getting a bit of sleep, and

•the entire valley has slowed down-- the mad rush of crush is over, the lines at the tasting rooms have diminished, you can get into the restaurants without 4-12 weeks advance rezzies . . .

. . . .in short, a more relaxing time. :)

If you want to actually see the grapes being harvested/crushed, then any time between late August (for Sparkling wines) to late October (for late harvest wines and cold climate cabs) is great.

Your innkeepers (where you stay) will be invaluable-- as will other guests at the end of each day. One of the big reasons there are close to 100 B&Bs/small Inns in the Napa Valley is that guests (and innkeepers) constantly share their information-- and the wine scene changes by the hour, esp during crush.

So folks will check in, chat w/other guests at the afternoon wine reception, and find out which wineries were harvesting, or crushing, that day. They'll also find out which wineries are doing special pourings (verticals, or special old vintages), and if there are any other special events (like grape stomps).

Lots and lots of fun.

And your innkeepers/concierge will lay out your schedule and map things out so you don't wind up sitting in traffic, or waiting in long lines at the wineries. That can *really* make a difference!

Harvest time is cool, but wineries do things w/their wines most of the year though: Pump-overs, transfers to barrels, topping off, bottling-- so many things! So there is always something going on, and things to learn and discover.

If you really want to get 'deep' into the experience, check out a barrel tasting at a winery (a few do this). You get to sample the wines directly from the barrels--before they're bottled. An incredible experience for wine lovers!

Hoping this helps. :)

Cheers,

-The Innkeepers

Napa Old World Inn

-The Innkeepers

Napa Old World Inn

united states
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4. Re: When is harvest time in Napa?

If you are open to spending time in Sonoma County too, the Sonoma Harvest Fair is always the first full weekend of October and offers a fantastic opportunity to taste wines from all over the county at one venue.

Its lots of fun and includes other county-fair types of activities besides wine tasting so its easy to take a break and grab a bite to eat or wander among the booths/displays or just hang out and listen to good music.

I don't know if there is a similar event in Napa during harvest.

Fresno, CA
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5. Re: When is harvest time in Napa?

I love wine, but not a big fan of the crowds and high cost of visiting Napa. We enjoy the Paso Robles area of the central coast for wine tasting. They have a wonderful harvest weekend event in October that is low key but very enjoyable.

http://www.pasowine.com/events/harvest.php

This area has a lot of fabulous big reds, my personal favorite.

Napa, CA
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6. Re: When is harvest time in Napa?

muffya-

We totally understand that driving over to Paso Robles is much faster/easier for you (and it's beautiful-- we love the wine country down there!).

Something we didn't mention earlier (but have said a LOT): If you just drive up and down Hwy 29 and the Silverado Trail, you will MISS many of the great parts of the Napa Valley.

So many folks come here and just do the "main drags"-- which is why the wineries along these 2 roads are so crazy busy all the time!

Talking to some locals about off-the-beaten track wineries is the solution-- you will experience many things you love about Paso Robles: Lower cost, more laid back atmosphere, lower (or no) charge for wine tastings . . . all the things that folks love about Paso, Temecula, and other wine country areas. They're all here-- you just need to dig a bit for these hidden treasures!

Hoping you get to experience the "hidden Napa Valley" one day . . . :)

Cheers,

-The Innkeepers

Napa Old World Inn

Bridgewater, New...
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7. Re: When is harvest time in Napa?

Your reply has been wonderfully helpful and I thank you. I do have a few questions, though, if you don't mind. A barrel tasting - is this usually done during the time in early November? My son would be most interested in this, as he is the reason we are traveling to Napa. He has a number of wineries in mind to visit since the last time we were there. We stayed in old town Napa before in a rental home, and would be looking for the same this time except more centrally located, most likely, a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom with a fabulous kitchen. Any suggestions? I will also check out the other post about Paso Robles. Thanks again! AMK

Edited: 3:25 pm, March 08, 2011
Napa, CA
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8. Re: When is harvest time in Napa?

AMK-

Del Dotto does barrel tastings year round. A few other wineries do this, on and off throughout the year, depending on supply.

Look at the vacation rental reviews on this site-- great that you're staying in Old Town Napa-- the town of Napa is the only place in the entire Napa Valley w/LEGAL vacation rentals.

Being LEGAL can really make a difference-- nothing worse than paying for a VR, and getting here to find that it's been shut down by the Napa Sheriff, and you're out all of your money!

Here's a site w/all of the LEGAL Napa vacation rentals:

www.NapaVacationRentalOwnersAssociation.com

Cheers!

-The Innkeepers

Napa Old World Inn

9. Re: When is harvest time in Napa?

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