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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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8 Tours and Activities | All Napa & Sonoma Tours

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Small-Group Wine-Tasting Tour through Napa Valley

Small-Group Wine-Tasting Tour through Napa Valley

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313
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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$129.69
From
$129.69
Taking safety measures

Napa Valley Wine Train with Gourmet Lunch

Napa Valley Wine Train with Gourmet Lunch

star-4.5
312
Roll through Northern California’s famous wine country on the renowned Napa Valley Wine Train. Pass charming towns like Rutherford and St. Helena, and soak up the scenery of rolling hills, vineyards, and estates through large picture windows on the trip. Explore the restored vintage train cars, and then take a seat for a gourmet lunch or dinner freshly prepared by the train’s acclaimed on-board restaurant.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$150.00
From
$150.00
Taking safety measures

Napa Valley Wineries Tour Including Picnic Lunch

Napa Valley Wineries Tour Including Picnic Lunch

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132
Let a professional driver-guide chauffeur you around Napa Valley in a limousine, limo van or party bus. After a convenient pickup from your hotel in downtown Napa, American Canyon, Fairfield, Vallejo or the Vallejo Ferry, you’ll be transported in style to four or five premier Napa establishments, such as Madonna Estate Winery, Hagafen Cellars and Domaine Chandon. This 6-hour winery tour with local vintners includes a picnic-style lunch.
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  • 5 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$124.99
From
$124.99
Taking safety measures

Wine Country Hot-Air-Balloon Ride

Wine Country Hot-Air-Balloon Ride

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407
Experience world-famous wine country from the air on an early morning hot-air balloon ride. Start the day with a complimentary pick-up from local area hotel. 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! Post-flight we will return you to your Hotel with memories that will last a life-time. * Wine Country Hot-air balloon ride * Learn about the world famous Wine Country as your soar above it all * Complimentary pick-up & return from Local area hotel
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$310.12
From
$310.12
Taking safety measures

Napa Valley Open Air Wine Trolley Tour with Lunch

Napa Valley Open Air Wine Trolley Tour with Lunch

star-4.5
106
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 picnic lunch catered by French-country bistro The Girl & the Fig, a local favorite. Savor a gourmet spread of sandwiches, side salads, and desserts, served family style so you can pick and choose among the tasty offerings.
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  • 6 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$107.89
From
$107.89
Taking safety measures

Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley

Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley

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484
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 savor a gourmet picnic lunch catered by top-rated local bistro The Girl & the Fig. 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
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$107.89
From
$107.89
Taking safety measures

Napa Valley Wine Train with Gourmet Dinner

Napa Valley Wine Train with Gourmet Dinner

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53
Leave the designated driving to the train conductor during this dinner ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train. Sit back in your seat on the refurbished Pullman train car from 1915-1917 and dig in to a meal crafted by Executive Chef Donald Young at your private table. You'll get scenic views of Napa towns such as Yountville, Oakville, and Rutherford on the way to St. Helena.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$160.26
From
$160.26
Taking safety measures

Napa Valley Wine Train: The Legacy Winery Full-Day Tour

Napa Valley Wine Train: The Legacy Winery Full-Day Tour

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68
Discover three of Napa Valley’s most prestigious wineries on a 6-hour train tour. The three distinct wineries range from opulent to traditional and each provides a variety of wines for your tasting pleasure. In between stops, enjoy delectable food on the train, including a triple brie with balsamic fig glaze. The comfortable and decadent tour leaves you with a full stomach, enhanced palate, and memories of the unrivaled scenery.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$340.00
From
$340.00
Taking safety measures