Winter in the Wine Country

We have a short winter here in this part of Northern California, generally about 2 months from December to late January before an often stormy spring begins. In Napa Valley, winter offers the benefit of many fewer tourists, better service, and the beautiful color of mustard plants as winter changes to very early spring.

Calistoga, the northernmost town in Napa Valley, has been promoting winter in the wine country for the last few years, offering visitors a “passport” that includes discounts on accommodations and restaurants plus tasting at 10 different wineries for just $50. Even though I didn’t try out this passport, the idea of attracting visitors to Napa Valley in the winter caught my attention as I headed there last week, although as you can see, the transition from winter to spring has just begun.

wine country mustard

Mustard growing in the vineyards–this was everywhere!

I have been to Napa Valley many times but never spent time in Calistoga; fortunately, I just had the opportunity to rectify that situation. My husband and I took a much-needed overnight, without the kids, which we have done only one other time in the last 5+ years (I know!). From the food and wine to the hot springs and beautiful views, we LOVED everything and can’t wait to go back. Next time we actually plan to take the kids to see the geyser, but I’ve already decided that Calistoga will be a favorite place to sneak off to when we need an escape.

More details about this short but sweet trip are coming soon, but I want to share a few images of Calistoga in case you can get there before this “winter” in the wine country comes to a close.

Calistoga view

Calistoga feels more rural than the rest of Napa Valley

Calistoga winery

At Bennett Lane Winery just north of Calistoga

Castello di Amorosa

The view of the cypress-lined lane from Castello di Amorosa

Calistoga winery

The Asian garden at Chateau Montelana winery

boutique winery

Intimate, casual atmosphere and great wines at boutique winery Envy Wines.

Calistoga mountains

The valley is narrow here, just about 1.5 miles, so Calistoga is bordered by mountains.

Silverado Trail

A drive down the Silverado Trail just outside Calistoga

And you? Have you ever spent a winter in the wine country? What do you think of Calistoga?

This trip was made possible by Calistoga Visitors, but, as always, I choose to write my real opinions–my love for this place is my own!

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