You just arrived in the Napa Valley to a forecast of rain, and you're concerned about your carefully planned itinerary of outdoor activities. Not to worry! Even with rainy weather in the forecast, it rarely rains the entire day and the green grass, rainbows, and crisp, fresh air will ensure your trip will still be beautifully memorable. And even in the wettest weather, there are plenty of fun and delicious ways to fill your days in wine country. A few to consider:
Take a scenic drive. Winter rains bring lush green hills, vineyards blanketed with mustard blooms, and moss-covered forests, perfect for exploring from the comfort of your car on a rainy day. Pack a cooler with snacks, and choose from four of our favorite scenic drive routes. Don’t forget to stop and pick up some wine along the way- each scenic drive includes winery stops in case you want to stock up for a cozy night in when you return to your hotel.
Tackle the Taco Trail. In the mood for a foodie challenge? Grab your favorite hot sauce and see if you can tackle the Napa Valley Taco Trail! The trail explores the best tacos in the valley, from American Canyon all the way up to Calistoga. See how many spots you can hit.
Visit a food hall. Stroll through Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa and spend the morning browsing shops like Napa Bookmine, Whole Spice, Napa Stäk, Hudson Green & Goods, Napa Valley Distillery, or the Olive Press. Don’t forget to stop by Ritual Coffee for a hot pour-over.
Take a rainy day art walk. Embrace the moodiness of a rainy day, grab an umbrella, and see some great art. The Yountville Art Walk features 40 sculptures around downtown Yountville, and Napa’s RAD (Railroad Arts District) is a collection of large-scale murals by local and globally-renowned artists. Are you a fan of contemporary art? di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art offers free site walk weekends, where guests can stroll through the outdoor sculpture garden.
Dine alfresco. Looking for places to dine outdoors while protected from the elements? Many Napa Valley restaurants have installed over-the-top tents, complete with heaters, twinkling lights, and all the ambiance of a traditional indoor wine country dining experience. Pro tip: BYOB - bring your own blanket for an extra layer of coziness. Here are a few of our top alfresco dining picks:
Brasswood Bar + Kitchen
Cole’s Chop House
Farm at Carneros Resort
Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch
Sky & Vine at Archer Hotel
Sam’s Social Club
The Charter Oak Yurt Village
Sip undercover. Think the rains will ruin a perfectly good day of wine tasting? Think again. Even if it’s pouring outside, many wineries can keep guests cozy and dry while sipping and savoring by providing tents, blankets, and heaters. Plan to layer up and put these stops on your wine tasting itinerary:
Ashes & Diamonds
Charles Krug Winery
Hans Fahden Winery
Louis M. Martini Winery
Robert Biale Vineyards
Tamber Bey Vineyards
Rain or shine, it may just be the best day you’ve spent in the Napa Valley after all.
Photo credit: Bob McClenahan