Discover what's new in Napa Valley, including new and upcoming experiences, shops, wine tasting opportunities, restaurants and dining, wellness options and lodging.
From November through April, the pace around Napa Valley slows down, but with a wave of hotel openings and new experiences—not to mention, holiday festivities and the start of ‘Cabernet Season’—there’s never been a better time to visit. Wine lovers will delight in just-launched tours, tasting experiences, and promotions, but you don’t need to imbibe to have a great time. Sign up for a weeklong detox retreat, pick ingredients for your farm-to-fork dinner, and celebrate local heroes at a community art exhibition. Whatever you’re looking for, Napa Valley has it. Here’s a roundup of what’s new and notable for the season.
Hotel & Lodging News
The temperatures may be cooler this time of year, but the hotel scene in Napa Valley is just heating up. One of the most anticipated openings is Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley, which opened this month in Calistoga. The 85-key property will be Napa Valley’s first and only resort set within Elusa winery, known for its signature Cabernet Sauvignon. The hotel offers two outdoor swimming pools with vineyard views, a restaurant helmed by Michelin-starred chef Erik Anderson with a 250-label wine list, and sumptuous rooms with fireplaces and private terraces.
In February 2022, Stanly Ranch, an Auberge Collection Resort, will make its debut on the historic Stanly Ranch Winery estate, a 700-acre private ranch that dates to the 19th century. Wellness is a focus—guests can sign up for weeklong detoxes, pick their own ingredients in the fields for a farm-to-fork dinner, and go on bike rides along the banks of the Napa River.
A short walk from downtown St. Helena, the Inn at Salvestrin has recently started welcoming overnight guests in its centuries-old Victorian mansion. Included in a stay is a complimentary wine tasting at the Salvestrin Tasting Room and a tour of the estate grounds and vineyards.
Another inn, the historic McClelland House—one of downtown Napa’s oldest bed and breakfasts—has just unveiled a 20-month, multi-million-dollar renovation. Featuring six rooms with antique four-poster beds, high ceilings, and Hermès bath products, the property blends heritage and luxury.
Four Seasons Napa Valley
Cabernet Season: Why Go Now
On the heels of Napa Valley’s harvest is Cabernet Season, which stretches from mid-fall to spring. During this time, visitors can get a taste of newly released cabernets while taking advantage of the region’s slower pace, lower hotel rates, and wider access to winemakers. (Visitors will also have an easier time nabbing reservations at Michelin-starred restaurants like La Toque and Bottega.)
This year marks the 12th annual Winter in the Wineries Passport program. For $60 per person, guests receive complimentary wine tastings at 14 participating wineries in Calistoga, Lake Country, Pope Valley, and St. Helena. Other perks include complimentary corkage at participating restaurants and discounts at Calistoga hotels, spas, and shops.
Visitors who are especially interested in St. Helena should consider the Little Book of Big Experiences wine passport, a $75 purchase with an $800 value. That gets you wine and food pairings, tastes of rare-batch wines, and private wine tastings at 14 of Napa Valley’s top wineries.
While Napa’s wineries are always a draw, keep in mind that the vines only account for nine percent of the county—in other words, there are plenty of other activities to do beyond wine tasting. With temperatures hovering around the mid-60s, it’s an ideal time for getting outdoors, whether that means hiking the trails that crisscross the Mayacamas and the Vaca mountain ranges, biking the Napa Valley Vine Trail, or lacing up your sneakers for the Napa Valley Marathon on March 6, 2022.
Sips, Snacks, and Sights
This winter, there’s something for everyone in Napa Valley—food, music, art, and, of course, wine.
At Joseph Phelps Vineyards, in St. Helena, visitors can now go on a hike through the vines surrounding the Home Ranch, followed by an outdoor seated tasting of their current releases, paired with seasonal bites from their yakitori grill.
Meanwhile, Active Wine Adventures has launched new “Wine Adventures” tours, which take small groups on journeys around small-production and family-owned vineyards. Tours are focused on specific wine varietals, regions, and themes—from the Eco-Friendly Tour and Cabernet Lovers Tour to the Ghost Winery Tour.
Napa Valley may be synonymous with wine, but its gastronomic scene stands on its own. The family-owned Peju Winery is now offering private four-course lunches with wine pairings amid the vines.
At Calistoga’s Solage Resort, a new restaurant, Picobar, helmed by Executive Chef Gustavo Rios, serves small plates inspired by Mexican street food in an elegant poolside setting. Almost every cook in Chef Rios’s kitchen hails from a different part of Mexico, which explains the diversity and range of the “border-crossing cuisine.”
Guests at Carneros Resort & Spa will be welcomed by new gardens that have been planted with 50 varieties of organic herbs and vegetables and will supply the resort’s signature restaurant, FARM. Later this year, guests will be able to dine in the garden, eating whatever is fresh in the fields, while learning from culinary gardener Marley Dawson and chef de cuisine John Carney.
Who says it can’t be festival season year-round? At the Yard by Feast it Forward, a new genre-defying events venue in Napa, locals, and visitors can now gather to hear live music, play lawn games, sip wine and craft beer, and take part in brand activations and culinary popups.
Speaking of coming together and spreading joy, the St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery will celebrate community leaders with its “Everyday Heroes” photo exhibition (on view now through March 2022). Held in its on-site art gallery, the show comprises 25 large-scale black-and-white portraits of extraordinary individuals who’ve served their communities in the fields of food security, mental health, animal rescue, youth mentorship.
Enjoy a blast from the past - literally - at the new “Dangerous Games” exhibit at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville on display through February 22, 2022. Travel through the world of the wild and wacky wonders that were childhood toys of past decades. (Think creepy crawlers made from plastic goop in searing hot ovens.)
Napa Valley may not be your typical snow-covered wonderland, but its festive spirit has drawn holiday visitors year after year.
Some of this season’s highlights include the Calistoga Tractor Parade (December 4), during which an array of tractors bedecked in holiday lights will roll through the streets of Calistoga, and the St. Helena Holiday Wine Barrel Tour, a scavenger hunt-type experience where residents go hunting for decorated wine barrels around town.
Napa Valley’s only ice-skating rink will be open at Vista Collina Resort from November 12 through January 2. Visitors can work on their figure skating moves, before warming up with hot chocolate and wine around the fire pits. Santa Claus will also be stopping by every weekend from November 26 to December 19 for family photos and reading time.
The new year will kick off with the Napa Lighted Arts Festival, January 8-16, 2022, a free open-air event where local and Bay Area artists will design works of art that will light up downtown Napa.
Find more information on holidays in the towns of Napa Valley here.