Visiting Napa / Sonoma in the Off Season

Published Date Author: , February 9th, 2015

Wine GrapesMy favorite time of year to visit Napa and Sonoma are the months of January, February and March. It’s not uncommon to be the only one in the tasting room (hello, library and reserve pours!) or be invited to the cellar or winemaking facility to meet the winemaker. Why? Though the weather — between the 50s and 70s during the day, down to the 40s at night — is considered quite warm for much of the country, Bay Area residents consider it too chilly to visit tasting rooms. Within this window, the golden hue of mustard cover crops in the vineyards from late January through March, and greener grass in March as rainy season begins, makes for fantastically picturesque drives. And it’s all in all cheaper, too. Airfares are lower than in summer months — from JFK to SFO, the major airports serving Napa and Sonoma aside from Oakland, round-trip fares can run as low as $365 over a long weekend; from LAX, it’s just $44 round-trip.

The same goes for wine regions in other parts of the U.S. Out in the Finger Lakes or Long Island, for example, January and February especially offer some of the best hotel rates of the year — while lower flight demand always means cheaper airfare. It’s a no-brainer as far as we’re concerned, but here are a few extra tips for maximizing the experience:

1. Keep an eye out for seasonal hotel deals.

Like we said, during the winter months, you can score a steep discounts at hotels. Using Napa and Sonoma again as an example, the quaint English Tea Garden Inn in Cloverdale is offering 50 percent off the second night through March 30, with first night starting rates from $225. Similarly, Fern Grove Cottages in Guerneville gives you the third night free, with rates between $99 and $289, through February 28. At the luxe Harborfront Inn on Long Island’s North Fork, there are plenty of weekday rates starting from $209 and weekend rates for just $10 more in February — again roughly half of what you can expect to pay in summer.

By Kristine Hansen – Full Story at Shermans Travel | Napa Gay Travel Resources | Sonoma Gay Travel Resources

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