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Here’s a Great Reason to Head to Napa This Winter

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Courtesy of St. Helena Chamber of Commerce

It’s about to head into its low season, but the wine region is anything but boring at this time of year.

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Late fall/early winter is always a great time to visit the Napa Valley.

With temperatures dropping and harvest complete, crowds have thinned to a trickle. Restaurants gradually are getting into the winter routine, which means lots of happy hours and a panoply of promotions. Heck, even hotel rates in the region usually drop between Veteran’s Day and Easter; at the very least, you can usually get free breakfast with your stays.

The St. Helena Chamber of Commerce sweetened the pot even more last week, publishing a compendium of 25 quintessential local experiences valued at a total of more than $1,000.

The book, dubbed “The Little Book of Big Experience,” sells for $100 a pop.

Think of the pocket-sized book as a fancy-pants coupon packet; the holder of each coupon has access to activities such as barrel tastings, wine and food pairings, guided tours, lodging specials, and cozy dinners. All of the VIP experiences are in St. Helena, a town in the middle of Napa Valley.

Among the options: a free tour and tasting at Beringer, 15 percent off a two-night weeknight stay in a Vineyard View Collection room at the Harvest Inn, and a free one-hour cooking demonstration at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. We also love the coupon for 15 percent off hourly charter rates with Beau Wine Tours, a luxury transportation company.

Overall, 16 of the experiences are from wineries. 

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Many of the coupons have restrictions; some are only valid Sunday-Thursday; others are available all week long. Coupons in the book are good through March 2017.

Though the coupons technically aren’t reusable, if your contact at the winery or restaurant forgets to tear off that perforated section at the bottom of your coupon, you’re free to use the coupon again.

The Little Book is available at participating venues or the St. Helena Welcome Center, located at 657 Main Street in St. Helena. You also can purchase it on the Chamber’s website.

Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com.