Best time to visit Napa Valley, CA

Napa Valley Harvest Season in Napa Valley, CA

Watch Napa Valley come to life with the thrill and rush of the harvest

Best time: August–December

Fall is a beautiful time in Napa Valley, but it's also the busiest time of the year when workers of the wineries and the vineyards hurry to pick grapes at their peak ripeness. The peak season lasts from August until October, but some grape varieties can even be harvested as late as December. During this period, the whole valley is filled with unbelievable harvest fragrances, and the ideal warm autumn weather is here for you to enjoy.

Grapes used for sparkling wines are the first to be cautiously picked. The first harvest happens in early August and marks the start of the "crush" season. Then, a major part of the white grapes is harvested to be crushed. Harvest progresses through late October and early November—for red wines, just because it takes a bit longer for them to reach full maturity. Harvesting of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in Napa Valley usually starts later and takes more time than other varieties. The production of late-harvest wines requires grapes to stay on the vines longer to allow them to get riper. Harvesting of these grapes can continue well into December.

Here, in Napa Valley, you may also find numerous harvest dinners, parties, grape stomping, and other activities since harvest season is the peak season to visit Napa Valley.

The number of wineries around Napa is impressive, so why not get lost in William Hill Estate, Stags' Leap Winery, Odette Estate Winery, Chimney Rock Winery, Black Stallion Winery, and others?

Practical info

When is the peak season/harvest period in Napa Valley, CA?

In the period between August and October, you will find the harvest season at its peak in Napa Valley. While some grapes require more time and can extend their harvest season up to December, the process of picking grapes is primarily done around this time of year. The process commences with some grapes used in sparkling wines in early August, and the different grape varieties are harvested throughout the following months until the end of October or early November and lingers on until December for some varieties. Show more

Where can we experience grape stomping during the harvest season?

The grape-stomping event is one to look out for during the harvest season in Napa Valley, which is usually from August to December. The Napa Valley Grape Stomp Invitational event is one of the famous venues to participate in grape-stomping. In Grgich Hills Estate, visitors can experience grape-stomping during the harvest season, where they can crush tons of grapes with their bare feet and taste them at the end of each session; this is an enjoyable experience to unite while celebrating the harvest. Show more

What grape variety can be harvested as late as December in Napa Valley?

Late harvest wines are the ones that require the grapes to stay on the vines longer and are unique with specific qualities. In Napa Valley, grapes varieties with high sugar content like Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Semillon, and Gewürztraminer can be harvested until December. The harvesting of such grapes to make the late-harvest wines begins after most of the grapes used in early picks are harvested, and as the season closes, you can pick these late-harvest grapes that require more time to ripen. Show more

How is the harvest period different for grape varieties used for sparkling wines and red wines?

The time of the harvest process is unique for each grape variety, and picking of some grapes used in sparking wines is done in early August. The process continues in mid-August when grapes of other white wines are harvested, while grape varieties used in red wines are harvested from late October until early November. Unlike white grapes, Red wine grapes require more time to mature, so they are left on the vines longer, so, there is a particular time to pick them for sparkling and red wines. Show more

What are some other recommended wineries to visit besides William Hill Estate and Stags' Leap Winery?

There are numerous credible wineries to recommend in Napa Valley worth exploring besides Stags' Leap Winery and William Hill Estate Wines. Odette Estate Winery's unique architectural design you don't want to miss as it fuses contemporary art and nature. You may also want to give Chimney Rock Winery a try as it has an established reputation for making great wines. Black Stallion Winery, Robert Mondavi Winery, and Darioush Winery are other reputable Napa Valley wineries that offer tours to visitors to discover the wine-making process. Show more

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