When it comes to wine country, harvest is the most anticipated time of the year.
With year-round preparation culminating between late August and early November, every step of the winemaking process is handled with meticulous attention to detail. In Napa Valley, this results in some of the world’s most prestigious wines.
In the months leading up to harvest, warm days greeted by cooler nights allow Napa vineyards to develop with unparalleled complexity. Because of this, wine lovers flock from far and wide to experience harvest— from grape stomping to tasting to celebrating. Whether you’re planning your next visit or are a Napa local, here are 5 harvest activities you want to experience:
Crushin’ on harvest
Observe the first steps of the winemaking process on the V. Sattui crush pad. Freshly picked off the vine, these grapes are going through the sorting, destemming, and pressing process. Visit V. Sattui’s crush pad all season long for a front row view, and don’t be afraid to ask questions! From there, make plans to attend their highly anticipated Crush Party on October 7th. This is a members-only party, so if you’re not a member, become one now!
Time to get your
hands feet dirty
Harken back to the time of ancient winemaking with an old-fashioned grape stomp at Grgich Hills. Anytime before October 29th, hop over to the winery and into some freshly picked grapes. For only $35 a person, sip on a glass of Grgich Hills Chardonnay, Zinfandel, or Rosé while you stomp away, and don’t forget to take an “I stomped at Grgich Hills” souvenir T-shirt with you. Don’t worry, these grapes aren’t used to make wine— all stomped grapes are used as compost in the vineyard. Happy stomping!
Harvest is no cakewalk…
Want to see what happens behind the scenes? Opt for a tasting tour at Cakebread Cellars! Taste through a flight of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon as they guide you through the facilities during this especially exciting time of year. Amongst the whirlwind of forklifts and the aroma of ripe fruit in the air, witness the hustle and bustle of the production team as they begin the first stages of turning grape juice into wine. Be sure to make a reservation before you visit!
Will work for wine
Now that you’ve seen the ins and outs of how grapes become wine, try your hand at making your own. At Raymond Vineyards, you can do just that. Sign up for a Winemaker for the Day class to blend your own red wine. Take home a bottle of your special creation— complete with your own label and the opportunity to order cases for friends and family!
Work hard, play hard
You can’t celebrate a season of hard work without a little fun! That’s why Clif Family Winery is hosting their 9th annual Farm Fest— a family-friendly evening of live music, wine tasting, food and wine pairings, food demos and so much more! Their biggest party of the year, Farm Fest also means the release of their new vintage Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Don’t forget your dancing shoes!
Savor the flavors
After a trip like this, it would be remiss to return home only with the memories of your wine adventures. The ultimate wine country souvenir? The wine itself, of course! Head out with your VinGardeValise® wine travel suitcase and fill it up along your journey. Bring back up to 12 bottles of your favorite wine, or, if you have any, use the extra space for clothes and other belongings!
Know of a fun harvest experience we missed? Share it with us!