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How to Experience Wine Harvest Season in the Napa Valley

How to Experience Wine Harvest Season in the Napa Valley

Tours of world-renowned Napa Valley wine country are often a highlight of a stay in the San Francisco Bay area. There are myriad ways to experience the picturesque vineyards set against a backdrop of rolling hills, from the luxury of a private limousine to a hot air balloon ride. Here is everything you need to know before you go.

   

When to Go

From early August through October, summer transitions to crisper temperatures, leaves turn to gem colors, and Napa Valley becomes a frenzy of grape harvesting. The “crush” starts with grapes for sparkling wines, while late-harvest varietals linger longer on the vine. Whether you choose to partake in festivities that celebrate the harvest or simply join a food and wine-tasting tour, there’s really no bad time of year to sample the vintages of this premium wine region.

How to Go

Gain insight into the winemaking process on a group tour, or opt for a private wine-tasting with friends and receive the undivided attention of your guide. Excursions may include top wineries and tasting rooms such as Beringer and Castello di Amorosa in St. Helena; Madonna Estate Winery and Hagafen Cellars in Napa; Robert Mondavi in Oakville; and Domaine Chandon in Yountville. The Napa Valley Wine Train serves gourmet meals and lets you hop off at Grgich Hills Estate, Charles Krug Winery, or Raymond Vineyards, while the Wine Trolley makes a scenic journey aboard a replica San Francisco cable car. Sunrise hot-air balloon rides usually include breakfast and a sparkling toast.

Things to Know

  • The Napa Valley is located about 60 miles (100 kilometers) north of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Guided tours typically provide round-trip hotel transport, leaving you to consume alcohol safely without the worry of navigating city or highway traffic.
  • Michelin-starred, farm-to-table restaurants abound in Yountville; oysters, gourmet cheese, and artisan-made chocolates stand out at the Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa. Many tours pair food with wine tasting.
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6 Tours and Activities

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Small-Group Wine-Tasting Tour through Napa Valley
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Small-Group Wine-Tasting Tour through Napa Valley

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Discover the Napa Valley at a relaxed pace on a 6.5-hour small-group tour. Comfortable transportation collects you from your hotel and carries your group to three distinct wineries, where you can enjoy tastings at your own expense. Listen to live commentary and ask questions at any time. Your experience also includes a complimentary picnic lunch, complete with cheese plate, at a charming winery.
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  • 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$129.69
From
$129.69

Napa Valley Wineries Tour Including Picnic Lunch

Napa Valley Wineries Tour Including Picnic Lunch

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Let a professional driver-guide chauffeur you around Napa Valley in one of our specialty vehicles. After a convenient pickup from your hotel in downtown Napa, American Canyon, you’ll be transported in style up to three premier Napa establishments, such as Madonna Estate Winery, Hagafen Cellars and Domaine Chandon.
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  • 5 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$124.99
From
$124.99

Wine Country Hot-Air-Balloon Ride

Wine Country Hot-Air-Balloon Ride

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Experience world-famous wine country from the air on an early morning hot-air balloon ride. Then climb into a comfortable basket to take to the skies as the valley below you awakens. Enjoy a bird’s-eye perspective of rolling hills, expansive vineyards, and elegant estates during your flight. Your pilot will offer insights on ballooning and the landscape as you float above it all! * Wine Country Hot-air balloon ride * Learn about the world famous Wine Country as your soar above it all
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  • 3 to 4 hours
From
$310.12
From
$310.12

Napa Valley Open Air Wine Trolley Tour with Lunch
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Napa Valley Open Air Wine Trolley Tour with Lunch

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Make your day in wine country memorable on a fun tour aboard the Napa Valley Wine Trolley. The open-air cable car is a replica of the historic trolleys seen in San Francisco and offers gorgeous views of the vineyards as you travel to three wineries to sample the local blends. An expert guide will accompany you along the way, providing entertaining and factual commentary about Napa’s rich history. Midday, stop for a lunch at Ottimo Napa Valley, a local favorite.
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  • 5 hours
From
$115.00
From
$115.00

Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley Including Lunch
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Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley Including Lunch

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Embark on a unique wine country experience with a trip aboard the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley. Modeled after the famed cable cars of San Francisco, the trolley shuttles you through Sonoma’s picturesque winemaking region with stops at three different wineries. Taste regional varietals at each estate, and enjoy a delicious lunch from local winery VJB Cellars. Learn about the history of Sonoma from your spirited guide as you roll past a handful of historic landmarks throughout the day.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
From
$119.00
From
$119.00

#1 Small Group Sonoma Walking Food Tour
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#1 Small Group Sonoma Walking Food Tour

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Savor the best of Sonoma’s cuisine on a food tour in the heart of California wine country. Sample locally-made wines and artisanal cheeses as you stroll Sonoma’s historic downtown with a foodie guide, then try fine chocolates and olive oil at chic, cutting-edge boutiques. Soak up the latest flavors at six curated tasting stops along a relaxed, route and get an insider’s perspective on Sonoma’s gourmet culture. Learn the stories behind the region’s culinary legends, thriving vineyards, and remarkable artisanal renaissance.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$148.00
From
$148.00