Harvest Time in Napa Valley

Take a drive anywhere in Napa Valley this time of year and you’re sure to see and smell different things. It’s Harvest in Napa Valley…usually mid-August through October. Since the weather and each winemaker dictates the times for their own vineyards, it can vary from year to year at each winery.

Take a look around and check out the different sites as you drive through the Valley. For one thing, the leaves have turned from bright green to a blend of dark reds, sunshine yellows, neon oranges, and even darker greens. Fat, picture-perfect bunches of purple grapes may still be hanging on the vines at some wineries. At others, those purple beauties are oozing juice as they sit in containers waiting their turn in the tanks.

Now, take a good whiff. What’s that smell? Get close to any winery and the scent of ripe grapes permeates the air. You can just smell the fermentation before you get close.

Traffic…it’s probably worse than it has been all summer. With harvest being a popular time here, you’re sure to encounter traffic and people like no other time of year. It’s all part of the fun. Be patient and drive like a local. That means making right hand turns onto the busy roads. Trust me…you’ll wait in traffic far less if you turn right.

Wineries are bustling with activity, more so now than earlier in the summer. Winemakers and vineyard workers are racing against nature to pick the grapes at the peak of ripeness and get them into their wine-making process.

If you want to visit and taste wine during harvest, check ahead of time to see if the winery hours have changed, or if they allow ‘behind the scenes’ tours, or do barrel tastings. Also, if you’re a member of a wine club, you may be invited to their harvest parties. It’s a special time and wineries often celebrate with parties and festivals.

Hungry? Dining is different this time of year as well. Napa Valley cuisine focuses on seasonal and local ingredients. That means heirloom tomatoes, squashes, figs, and pumpkins will find their way onto many menus.

Whatever you plan to do during Harvest in Napa Valley…you’ll have a great time. If you haven’t been to the Valley during this time, it’s worth a drive to witness the changes and enjoy the process of turning grapes into wine.


Travels and Escapes offers tips, trips, advice, and suggestions along with photos. Read more at http://www.travelsandescapesblog.com/

About Wendy VanHatten

Wendy VanHatten is editor-in-chief for Prime Time Living, a published author, international travel writer, wine, food, and travel editor, and professional editor.