Boasting, mountainous scenery, redwood forests, and gorgeous lakes and rivers, Napa Valley offers so much more than world-class wine—but there’s plenty of it to go around, that’s for sure! From walking to cycling and exploring historic villages to soaking in mineral-rich spas, Napa Valley is one of the USA's top destinations for a wine-filled adventure. But when exactly is the best time to go?

When is the best time of year to visit Napa Valley?

The best time to visit Napa Valley really depends on what you'd like to gain from the experience. If you like wine (and we're guessing you do if you found yourself here), September through October is the best time to visit as it's harvest season. The days are warm, the evenings are balmy and there are loads of harvest parties and events around the region. Harvest season coincides with the peak tourist season, but if you plan your trip at the very end of harvest season around late October you should just miss the big crowds. But the best part? You'll be treated to amazing views as autumn arrives and transforms the vineyards and country roads into gorgeous golden scenes. The other shoulder season (March through May) is another great time to visit as the influx of summer tourists is yet to arrive, wildflowers add bright splashes of colour to the landscapes, and mild temperatures make for pleasant cycling and hiking around the region. 

Weather in Napa Valley

So what makes the weather in Napa Valley perfect for growing grapes? Napa Valley is nestled beneath the Vaca Mountains to the east and the Mayacama Mountains to the west, so it's sheltered from extreme heat from the desert and cooler maritime weather from the coast. This Mediterranean climate means Napa Valley summers are long, hot and dry with average highs lingering in the low 30s (mid-80s°F), while winters are short, mild and wet with average lows sitting at 3°C (38°F). Spring and autumn are temperate with warm days and cool nights.

Average temperatures in Napa Valley

MONTH

AVERAGE HIGH (°C)  

AVERAGE LOW (°C)  

January 

13

2

February

15

3

March

18

4

April

21

6

May 26 9
June  30 12
July 34 14
August  33 13
September 31 11
October  25 8
November  18 5
December  13 2

 

When to visit Napa Valley: a month by month guide

January

The buzz of the festive period might be over, but a visit to Napa Valley in January could be a great way to dodge the winter blues. The weather is cool and wet and there aren't many people around, but things pick up slightly when the Lighted Art Festival kicks off – an eight-week celebration of creative arts, technology and lights, and free outdoor immersive experiences. There's also the Napa Valley Restaurant Week where you can experience the best of the region's thriving food and wine culture, and the Napa Truffle Festival in Westin Verasa where you can learn about truffle hunting and harvesting, do truffle tastings and eat truffle-inspired dishes. 

Key events:

February

Average highs in February hover at 15°C but there might be an occasional warm spell towards the end of the month. Overall, it's a good time to enjoy the wineries without pesky crowds. February sees the highest amount of annual rainfall so don't forget your umbrella, however, all the rain does wonders for nature and you'll be treated to colourful scenes along the country roads when yellow mustard flowers begin to bloom. If you love beer – wine might steal the show, but Napa's craft beer scene is gaining speed – you might like to align your trip with the Napa Beer Mile on 26 February. Spend the day exploring all six of the region's craft breweries with special deals on beer and a commemorative cap if you reach the end of the mile.

Key events:

March

The arrival of spring brings higher temperatures and more sunshine. Mustard flowers are in full bloom so it's a really beautiful time to explore the country trails and admire the bright yellow hills. If you fancy treating yourself to a festival while you're here, the Yountville Live is a popular festival with locals and visitors where you can eat delicious food, drink fine wine and listen to Grammy award-winning musicians at VIP events dotted around Napa's towns. The marathons are also on in March, and Napa Valley has to be up there with one of the most picturesque settings to run.

April

Come April, the weather really starts picking up with average highs of 21°C. It's a great time to make the most of the sunny weather before summer crowds start arriving in May by hopping on a bicycle and exploring the wineries dotted along the Russian River. Events-wise, art lovers can enjoy Arts in April, an annual month-long celebration of the arts and cultural community where toy can see locally produced and presented arts, and take part in cultural programs and events. There's also the Vineyard to Vintner event in the Stags Leap District where you can meet with local winemakers and vintners, and learn about (and taste) esteemed wines.

Key events:

May

May offers warm daytime highs that linger in the mid-20s. It's not as quiet as April, but you should still get reasonably affordable hotel deals, especially at the beginning of the month. One of the biggest drawcards for visiting in May is the annual BottleRock festival, a three-day music, wine, food and brew festival at the Napa Valley Expo. Expect big international names, wine tastings from some of the most heralded producers in the world, and a Culinary Stage where you can enjoy tasty acts from top artists and famous chefs. 

Key events:

June

Hello, summer! Sunshine and wine go hand in hand, and there's plenty of it to go around in June. Daytime highs average a balmy 30°C and nights are manageable with a jumper or light jacket. June is an awesome month for jazz lovers with the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, a five-day festival celebrating all things jazz, food and wine. There's also the St. Helena's Annual Summer Concert Series in Lyman Park and the Calistoga Concerts in the Park where you can enjoy great music and a picnic on the lawn.

Key events:

  • Jazz Getaway
  • St. Helena Summer Concert Series
  • Calistoga Concerts in the Park

July

July is the peak of the summer in Napa. It's hot with average highs of 34°C, so it might not be the best time to visit if you don't like the heat. It's also a very busy time with people visiting on summer vacation, especially on weekends. That being said, there's nothing like walking through the vineyards when the skies are clear and the weather is warm. The events calendar also heats up with the annual Festival Napa Valley, the Porch Festival (a unique one-day event showcasing local talent playing on historic porches in town), and the Napa Country Fair. 

Key events:

August

Welcome to harvest season! It's a lively time here in the valley as hundreds of pickers are out picking the juicy grapes. August is usually a very dry month and temperatures average a sizzling 31°C, though it's often higher. As well as soaking up the lively atmosphere in the wineries and attending parties to kick off harvest season, there's also the nationally-acclaimed Napa Valley Chamber Festival which showcases world-class musicians from the United States, Canada and Europe. Listening to music overlooking the vineyards at sunset? Don't mind if we do.

Key events:

September

September is slap bang in the middle of the harvest season. It's also the peak of the high season, but it's an awesome time to be here if you don't mind big crowds, paying more for rooms and having to book restaurants and tours well in advance (we're talking months). You can expect harvest festivals, parties and heaps of fun events hosted by the wineries. Because it's so busy bookings (and prices) for accommodation and restaurants go through the roof so you'll need to book in advance if you want to get in anywhere. 

Key events:

  • Harvest parties and events 

October

Harvest season also dips into October so it's still very busy until things die down at the end of the month. The weather is ideal in October with average highs of 25°C and cool nights that'll make you appreciate rugging up with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. If you love cycling, food and wine, you might also be interested in the Crush Challenge, an awesome ride-cum-event organised by deLeuze Family Charitable Foundation and ZD Wine. 

Key events:

November

The crowds have thinned and Napa has returned to its peaceful state after the hustle and bustle of the harvest season. The colours of fall are spectacular at the beginning of the month and it's a great time to go walking or cycling, or enjoy a glass of vino overlooking the rust-coloured vineyards. As fall foliage disappears, festive decorations appear and holiday events like the annual Christmas Parade make it a fun time to be in town. November also attracts film and art lovers with the annual Napa Valley Film Festival, a world-class cultural experience immersed in the art of film, food and, of course, wine. 

Key events:

December

The vines are bare, the weather is cold and there's hardly anyone here. If you're looking for a bit of peace and quiet, December could be calling your name. What better excuse to cozy up around a roaring log fire, grab a glass or two of Cabernet and enjoy comforting local food. Christmas in Napa is very pretty as the towns are all lit up with festive lights. You'll also get to enjoy the holiday season celebrations from the elaborate storefront contests to the Calistoga Lighted Tractor Christmas Parade. Many of the wineries and restaurants also do festive-themed tasting experiences.

Key events:

  • Holiday celebrations

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