It's hard to have a bad time in the Napa Valley, especially during harvest season—when the vineyards are abuzz with activity (and the temperatures are more manageable). A few places are upping their autumnal game and offering some extra-special events, and others are doing their usual, great thing—but now with fall colors.
1. At the Napa Valley Film Festival this year (November 11–15), expect screenings of over 100 films, as well as culinary demonstrations, wine tastings, and lavish parties.
2. Antica, the Napa location owned and operated by the great Marchese Piero Antinori, he of super-Tuscan fame, is a special place to visit at any time. The by-appointment-only small group tour and tastings in the beautiful property high above the Silverado Trail offer an intimate, friendly experience. But go this fall to see the high valley in full color.
3. Bootcamp: meh, amirite? But this Trefethen Harvest Boot Camp, on September 26, ditches the growling fitness instructor and replaces him with a friendly winemaker, who will guide guests through a morning "working" (quotations theirs) in the vineyard followed by lunch.
4. Luxury resort Meadowood is a destination in and of itself, but they add on some great enticements during harvest season, including experiences (available each day of your stay) at one of the following wineries: Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley; Hall St. Helena; B Cellars; Phifer Pavitt; and Vine Cliff Winery. Or save your trip for after the magnificent, 14,000-square-foot spa opens, in November.
5. This one falls a little beyond harvest, but it's too good to ignore. From mid-November through January, TerraVelo Tours (whom we've mentioned before) will set up luxury safari tents at Pope Valley Winery. The animal life here is more likely to be squirrels and gophers rather than elephants, lions, and the like—but the personal chef and wine education from Pope Valley's David Eakle will make up for the lack of exotic game. Invest in the four-day Napa Weekend Escape ($1850 per person) or a five-day trip over the holidays—they're doing it at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s ($2250 per person).
6. The Conn Creek Barrel Blending Experience is offered year-round, but it's still one of the best things to do to familiarize yourself with the Napa AVAs.
Want more wine and relaxation? Plan your trip with our guide to the Napa Valley!