Top 5 Reasons to Visit Wine Country this Winter
Winter is the perfect time to visit wine country, there's no crowds and there's plenty of deals to be had.
There really is not a bad time to visit wine country as each season provides something special to behold. There are bright green budding vines and colorful blooms dotting hillsides and vineyard rows in the spring. Summer months bring long sunny afternoons made for sipping rose and lush vineyards dripping heavy with clusters of the year's soon to be vintage. Then there's the excitement of harvest and the changing colors in and around the vineyards in the fall. But what about winter?
We know wine country does not necessarily come to mind as a winter activity, but we'll give you five reasons why it absolutely should.
1. Fewer Crowds
Depending on the region, busy season begins late spring and goes strong through October. This can mean tasting rooms jammed packed with other thirsty visitors, difficult if not impossible to book tasting reservations at most desired destinations, distracted winery hosts and TRAFFIC a whole lot of traffic. In the winter, however, this is not the case allowing you to book that coveted estate and enjoy more engaging experiences as the staff will have more time to spend with you. And, even better, you won’t be stuck in as much slow-moving traffic so you can arrive on time and not be rushed.
Explore seasonal tastings for unforgettable experiences. For just a few weeks in the winter season, Dutton Estate offers a S’mores Winter Winetasting that is sure to warm your heart and please your pallet. Mount Nittany in Pennsylvania is cooking up delicious Soup & Wine Pairing experiences, and Dry Creek Vineyards offers an incredible flight of Zinfandels of Dry Creek Valley. You can book these and more winter wine experiences below.
2. Its Red Wine Season
Yes, there are seasons for wine. Think about it, which would you rather? Sipping a big bold cabernet pool side on a sweltering summer day or a perfectly chilled rose? Not that you cannot enjoy your preferred wines any time, but there is a natural fit for some better than others. Winter leans toward dark red wines. This is the season for getting cozy by crackling fires and indulging in more hearty fare like rich braises, roasts, stews and pasta dishes all of which beg to be paired with bold and complex red wines. Don’t worry, it’s not like all the white wines get locked up in a secret vault somewhere, there will be plenty of whiles for you to enjoy as well.
3. Serene Landscapes
Every season has its beauty and winter in wine country is no exception. While the weather and geography will vary depending on the region, the season brings a peaceful serenity. Colder days may bring snow or at least a little frost to the vines creating a winter wonderland. When the rains taper off, sunshine breaks through dark gray skies creating unimaginably vibrant rainbows. Be prepared for great photo opportunities and pack cute rain boots and a brightly colored umbrella.
4. Bust the Winter Blues
After all the holiday festivities and celebrations, the weeks between New Year’s and Valentine’s Day can seem, well a little dull. Planning a wine country getaway can be just the spark you need whether it be a day trip or a long weekend. In Northern California wine country, late winter is when the wild mustard begins to bloom painting the vineyard rows and open fields a vibrant and cheerful yellow that instantly boosts your mood.
The Yountville International Short Film Festival which takes place February 2nd – 5th is a great reason to visit Napa Valley this February. Four fantastic days filled with a bounty of short films, wine and culinary events. See you there!
5. Upgrade Your Experience
Off season means lodging, dining & even spa specials. Snag a great rate at that posh resort or boutique inn you’ve been swooning over on Pinterest. Many restaurants offer up exciting happy hour menus and specials this time of year. If you’re a foodie, then put this on your calendar now: January 20th – January 29th is Napa Valley Restaurant Week when our favorite chefs create special dishes and menus at even more spectacular prices so you can indulge in culinary magnificence without breaking the bank. Check with local spas to find out about their winter specials too and create a dreamy wine country experience worthy of filling your Instagram with.
Insider's Travel Tip
When touring through wine country this time of the year, be sure to dress in layers. Even if the highs reach the high 60's, morning temperatures can be quite cold and you will be thankful you packed a warm coat and gloves.
As we all know, it's been a fairly wet start to the new year for many of us, so plan on wearing closed toe shoes or better yet boots. Parking lots and pathways may be a tad "squishy" and not ideal for cute strappy heels (save those for your summer visit). In the rainy season, I recommend a wide brimmed hat to protect your tresses from becoming a soggy mess. Unlike with an umbrella, your hands will be free to easily tote all that wine back to your hotel.
Winter Wine Experiences
Messina Hof Estate Winery and Resort
Cooking Party with the Chef - Healthier Comfort Foods
Sunday, January 15, 2023, 1:00 PM
St. Helena Chamber of Commerce
2022 Napa Valley Wine Passport St. Helena's Little Book of Big Experiences
St. Helena, CA
Tuesday, November 1, 2022, 12:00 AM
Mendocino Sparkling Wine Celebration
Saturday, January 28, 2023, 1:00 PM
Yountville International Short Film Festival
6th Annual Yountville International Short Film Festival 2023
Thursday, February 2, 2023, 6:00 PM
Anderson Valley Winegrowers
Anderson Valley White Wine Weekend 2023
Saturday, February 18, 2023, 10:00 AM
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