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Q: How to see Harvest and Miss the Crowds?

by David on June 12, 2006

Question from Daniel: My wife and I are making our second trip to Napa from NYS this fall. We know that the area is very crowded at harvest time, so when would you suggest is the latest time to visit with lower numbers and still able to enjoy the season. Thank you.

Answer: Hi, Daniel! Harvest is a wonderful time to visit, but you’re right – it can get very congested. Our visitor traffic has begun to increase and will get heavier and heavier until it peaks in August and September, and it will even be rather busy through October.

If you want to be sure to see some of the harvest, you should probably come by the end of September or early October. Every year is different, and if we have a lot of hot weather we may finish early, but there’s nearly always something going on into early or mid-October.

If you are more interested in enjoying the beauty and tasting than in seeing the harvest, then come in late October. The weather is usually still pretty good and if the leaves begin to turn color by then, it becomes a beautiful patchwork. And – we may still be harvesting if the summer is cool (and so far it is).

The thing to do when you come at a busy time is to try to visit on weekdays. Also, try to schedule your winery visits at wineries that are off the beaten track (like Goosecross!). For instance, on or around the Silverado Trail the traffic isn’t as heavy as it is on Highway 29. Be sure to make reservations well in advance for your hotel and your favorite restaurants so that you won’t be disappointed. Check napavalley.com for what’s going on and to download maps, etc.

Incidentally, we focus our tour specifically to harvest from August through October, and it’s always lots of fun. Even if harvest is over, the wine is still fermenting and there are always some grapes left on the vines so we can taste and check the sugar. Please call 1-800-276-9210 or check our website if you’d like more information.

I hope this was helpful! Cheers! Nancy

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