Fall Wine Tasting: Enjoy Fine Wine and Beautiful Fall Foliage

Fall Wine Tasting: Enjoy Fine Wine and Beautiful Fall Foliage

Wine country pops with colorful grapevines, huge leaves and delightful tastings during the Fall season. Starting in mid- to late-October, the grape harvest crush winds down as the leaf pageant begins its debut. Fall color in the wine country isn’t limited to just the trees, the lush grape leaves of summer transform into beautiful fall foliage, with coppers and reds accentuating grapes left on the vine. Take your pick from dozens of wineries, including Frog’s Leap, Rombauer Vineyards and Reynolds Family Winery, all worth a stop, not just for the wine but for the fall scenery, too.

Silverado Trail

For a relaxed drive that celebrates the beauty of the season drive the Silverado Trail from Napa to Calistoga. This two-lane country road is trimmed with shady oaks and world-class vineyards. It is quintessential Napa Valley covering an area dotted with so many wineries you could travel it for a week and still not visit all of the tasting rooms. Constructed in 1852 as the first permanent road linking the 30 or so miles between the towns of Napa and Calistoga, the Silverado Trail is the bucolic, parallel counterpart to busier State Highway 29. If you are super adventurous, and the weather is good, rent a bike and pedal the route.

Prestigious Wineries

Prestigious wineries with Silverado Trail addresses include Joseph Phelps, ZD Wines, and Signorello Winery, plus the famous Stags’ Leap District collection of wineries, making up Napa Valley’s famous mecca of Cabernet Sauvignon and other big-bodied reds.

Signorello, in the town of Napa, was one of the few wineries to sustain major damage in the 2017 wildfires. Its winery building was destroyed, but will be rebuilt next to the vineyards and barrel room, which were spared. Some parts of the Stags Leap District, meanwhile, experienced limited damage. However, most wineries are up and running with most tasting rooms now open. 

There’s sparkling wine here, too, notably at Mumm Napa, where you can sip the fine bubbly on an elegant patio, in a grand tasting salon, or while wandering the elaborate art gallery.

Resorts

Other turns take you to lavish wine-country resorts, such as Relais & Châteaux’s Auberge du Soleil or the gracious Solage Calistoga. To see one of the most stunning retreats in the entire region, take the long, leafy drive onto the manicured grounds of Meadowood Napa Valley for an alfresco lunch at its garden-sourced The Grill.

And if you’re feeling the need to splurge, enjoy dinner at the three-Michelin-star The Restaurant at Meadowood. Experience impeccable service, meticulous farm-to-table menus and exquisite Napa Valley wines. You might consider a stay at the resort and take advantage of the spa and golf course.

Wine Caves

Many Napa vineyards have planted specimen trees like silver maples and liquidambars that dazzle during the fall season. Make an appointment for a tour at Far Niente Winery in Oakville where you can admire its 40,000-square-foot wine-aging caves, plus its stately double row of ginkgo biloba trees. Hailing from China, these fall foliage kings are revered for their fan-shaped golden leaves that hang on long after oaks and maples have gone bare.

Other wineries with extensive must see “wine caves” include Schramsberg Vineyard and Rombauer Winery.

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park

To see California’s native trees in autumn regalia, head to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, south of Calistoga, and take a walk on the Redwood Trail alongside Ritchey Creek. Black oaks and big-leaf maples form a canopy over the creek that runs year-round. The big-leaf maples bear massive leaves, some bigger than your head, that turn a brilliant yellow in fall. Ferns, wild grape, and spice bush add to the color show. Climb to the top of Coyote Peak to get a birds-eye view of the entire forest.

Where to Stop

Far Niente Winery

1350 Acacia Drive, Oakville, 94562

Info: https://farniente.com

Frog’s Leap

8815 Conn Creek Road, Rutherford, 94573

Info: www.frogsleap.com

Rombauer Vineyards

3522 Silverado Trail North, St. Helena, 94574

Info: www.rombauer.com

Reynolds Family Winery

3266 Silverado Trail, Napa, 94558

Info: www.reynoldsfamilywinery.com

Mumm Napa

8445 Silverado Trail, Rutherford, 94573

Info: www.mummnapa.com/visitmummnapa

Joseph Phelps Vineyards

200 Taplin Road St. Helena, 94574

Info: www.josephphelps.com

ZD Wines

8383 Silverado Trail, Napa 94558

Info: www.zdwines.com

Schramsberg Vineyard

1400 Schramsberg Road, Calistoga, California 94515

Info: www.schramsberg.com

Rombauer Vineyard

3522 Silverado Trail North, St. Helena, 94574

Info: www.rombauer.com

Stags’ Leap Winery

By reservation ONLY

6150 Silverado Trail, Napa, 94558.

Info: www.stagsleap.com/visit

Relais & Châteaux’s Auberge du Soleil

180 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford, 94573

Info: www.relaischateaux.com/us/united-states/soleil-rutherford

Solage Calistoga

755 Silverado Trail N, Calistoga, 94515

Info: https://aubergeresorts.com/solage

Meadowood Napa Valley

900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena, 94574

Info: www.meadowood.com

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park

3801 St Helena Highway, Calistoga, 94515

Info: www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=477

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