Napa in winter may not seem as sexy as Napa in autumn, but winter just might be my favorite time of year to visit. I often recommend a trip to Napa or Sonoma in January or February and am frequently met with blank or confused stares. So why would I recommend visiting Napa in January or February rather than during peak harvest season? Here are my top five reasons:
- I live in Chicago. January’s are gray, cold and snowy. A retreat to the mid-50s (and often 60s) is a welcome break from “the months that we (Chicagoan’s) put up with to enjoy Chicago summers”. Whether you are traveling from Chicago, or another winter tundra, I’m positive you can relate. And, if you’re traveling from somewhere hot, just think of this as your way to chill out in pleasant weather and an unbeatable atmosphere.
- Everyone has time for you. If your wine tasting experiences consist of glasses quickly being filled by a tasting room attendant blurting out info before hurrying off to fill someone else’s glass, you’re in for a wonderful surprise. You will be one of few people in the tasting room, and not only will you have the staff’s undivided attention during your leisurely tasting, but you may also have the opportunity to tour the winery, speak with the winemaker or speak with the proprietor. You never know who is going to pop in, or what wine will be popped open 🙂
- Napa and Sonoma are beautifully green in the winter! Cover crops are growing between rows of vines to help replenish the soil, turning the vineyards a vibrant green – and often yellow. The stunning yellow hue comes from the abundant mustard growing on the valley floor, apparently planted by Spanish friars in the 1700s. It’s a beautiful backdrop for enjoying delicious wine.
- As if these reasons weren’t good enough, your hotel is going to be much less expensive in January or February, meaning you can splurge and stay somewhere a bit nicer! Or, save that money to buy more wine. Whichever you fancy, prices are much more reasonable in the winter. If you’re curious about hotels in Napa Valley, just shoot us an email. We will gladly share our favorites!
- Enjoying Gott’s with the satisfying knowledge that it’s winter, when ‘once on the lips, forever on the hips’ is trumped by wonderfully forgiving sweaters. Order your own garlic fries, I’m eating all mine.