The autumn colors have faded and the grape vines sit bare, but that shouldn't keep you from visiting California's Napa Valley this winter. If you're looking for a relaxing winter weekend getaway, Wine Country fits the bill. 10Best loves Napa in the off-season, and here are five reasons why:
Mustard blossoms in February — Photo courtesy of Jim Bahn
December and January are the quietest months at even the biggest wineries. You'll find far fewer tour buses full of eager tasters, which means more time and elbow room to savor the year's newest vintages. So bundle up, book a room with a fireplace and get tasting.
Most Napa hotels and wineries are hurting for business during December, January and February and offer significant discounts and package deals for off-season visitors. Room rate discounts often top 50 percent – that means sometimes a hundred dollars per night that can go toward wine purchases or exquisite meals instead.
It may not sound pretty, but when Napa Valley's mustard grass begins to bloom, coating the rolling hills in brilliant yellow blossoms, the scenery rivals the autumn colors. From January until March, Napa's vineyards are mighty photogenic.
January is Restaurant Month in Napa. Throughout the month, Napa's restaurants – the same bunch that racked up 12 Michelin Stars for 2013 – put together special seasonal tasting menus at discounted rates.
Locals lovingly refer to winter as Cabernet Season in Napa, as restaurant fare tends to become heartier and more rustic as the temperature drops. While it may be hard to get excited about sipping on a full-bodied red when it's hot outside, you'll find the opposite is true in the winter. Save the whites for summer, and taste those chocolatey, berry reds.