When the mornings get little crisper and the days get a little shorter I know it means my favorite time of the year in the Napa Valley is here. Harvest is a special time in the Napa Valley. Taking place between mid August and the first of November, the Valley comes alive with the hustle of harvesting grapes off the vines when they are just perfect. Scroll down for some of my tips for visiting Napa Valley during Harvest. If you’re planning any wine country vacations during this time, it’s essential to be prepared!

Book Early 

If you plan to visit Yountville and the Napa Valley during Harvest book your hotels, transportation, restaurants and winery visits EARLY. This is the busiest time of the year making reservations “essential”. If you need help deciding where to stay and what to do visit yountville.com for inspiration. Book your tastings at Napa wineries and Yountville wineries, hotel reservations, tour and balloon rides early!

Visit Midweek

Looking for a good excuse to take a couple days away from the office? Yountville and Napa Valley are much calmer midweek. Book exclusive tastings, such as the famous Shafer Vineyards or the winemaker lead tasting at the newly opened Mira Wines, on a Tuesday or Wednesday for an intimate Harvest experience. Hotel prices also tend to be much lower Sunday – Thursday. I would suggest Petit Logis, Maison Fleurie or Lavender in Yountville for the perfect Midweek getaway. If you are looking for a place to stay with a vineyard view check out Senza, just a few miles south of Yountville.

Stay in Yountville

This might seem like a Yountville plug…and it is! Yountville is the center of the Napa Valley and the perfect place to stay for a Harvest vacation. Bardessono or Hotel Villagio offer 5 star experiences and the opportunity to truly indulge in Yountville luxury. Spend your first day strolling through Yountville, enjoy wine from one of the 15 tasting rooms and dine at one of Yountville’s world famous restaurants.

Get Up Early

Most of the vineyards harvest late at night or early early morning. Wake up before the sun to catch the action in the vineyards. Harvest is also the perfect time to get up early and take a balloon ride high above the Napa Valley. This time of year morning fog is rare (which can delay or cancel flights) so book your flight and enjoy one of kind views. Many balloon ride companies offer wine tour packages too so you can enjoy a great tour of Napa wineries and Yountville wineries.

Stomp Some Grapes

No Harvest trip is complete without some grape stomping! Several wineries host fun grape stomping parties, such as Bell Wine and Peju Winery. If you are unable to make one of the many Harvest Parties, Grgich Hill Estate offers grape stomping every day from late August – late October! You even get a t-shirt with your footprints on it and a bottle of wine to take home as a keepsake.

Take a Vineyard Tour

There is lots going on in the vineyards this time of year and you don’t want to miss out on the excitement. Lots of Napa wineries and Yountville wineries offer vineyard tours but a couple of my favorites are Crocker & Starr, Signorello Estate (you get to ride around on an ATV through the property!), and Hill Family Estate right here in Yountville. 

No matter what you decide to do during your Harvest visit you are sure to leave with some amazing memories.