Let's start by saying this: California's wine country is great any time of year. With mild weather and wineries open year around, you're sure to have a fantastic experience no matter when you decide to make the trip.
There is one month that stands out as being optimal in our eyes, though... October. The region is lively in both work in celebrations, with an atmosphere that is hard to beat. If you're on the fence about planning your trip to Napa, Sonoma, or any of the other wine regions in California this month, read more about why it's time to take the plunge.
CELEBRATE THE HARVEST SEASON
Depending on where you visit, there’s a good chance that you’ll catch the tail end of the harvest season (with less of the crowds!). Harvest typically begins as early as July in the different regions of California’s wine country and vary based on factors that include but aren’t limited to region, weather, and varietal. Grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah tend to be more late-ripening, so you may get to catch a glimpse of the colorful fruit still sitting on the vine in October — and, if you’re lucky, see the fast-moving crew in the vineyard picking the fruit and bringing it into the winery. Many vineyards along the Central Coast are still playing the waiting game; the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are still on the vine at Foley Estates, and many varietals at Firestone Vineyard won't be picked until the last days of October.
THE YEAR’S BEST WINERY EVENTS
Wine country comes alive during harvest, and the celebrations continue through October. With this special time of year comes the tradition of harvest parties and experiences, where winemakers, wine drinkers, and wine country residents & visitors gather to celebrate the season’s bounty. Events like Lincourt Vineyard’s “Cellar-bration!” provide barrel samples straight from the cellar and often pair them with small bites that complement the wine. Looking for something more interactive? There are opportunities throughout wine country to participate in almost every aspect of winemaking, including grape stomping, working the crush pad, and more as the wineries are in full swing with the winemaking process.
ENJOY THE SUNSHINE
October delivers what is arguably the most pleasant weather of the year in California’s wine country, with a majority of the days boasting sun in the forecast and average high temperatures hovering in the 70s. Spend the days soaking in the sunshine on winery patios and lawns; Roth Estate features an expansive outdoor space with lawn games like cornhole and giant Jenga ready to accept challengers, and Sebastiani’s iconic courtyard provides the perfect setting to enjoy a glass of vino. If you’ll be sticking around into the evening hours, make sure to bring a sweater — the Sonoma Valley has a “Mediterranean” climate, which often leads to cooler evenings that can drop into the 40s, even after sunshine-filled days.
WITNESS INCREDIBLE FALL FOLIAGE
As the last of the grapes are brought in, the leaves across wine country begin to turn colors that display an impressive blanket of fall foliage. Color transformations aren’t limited to trees, as grapes leaves that grace the vines turn from their various shades of green to magnificent reds, vivacious yellows, and picturesque coppers. Napa Valley’s winding roads already provide scenic drives, but this time of year steps it up a notch — take in the beauty along the Silverado Trail or from a mountaintop winery such as Kuleto Estate, where sweeping views provide a 360-degree view of Mother Nature’s work in action.
Are you ready to book your trip? Don't forget to include Foley Family Wine properties on your stop! Read more about the fabulous vineyards and wineries located across Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and the Central Coast.