Napa events are particularly weighted towards food and wine-related activities,
but arts and crafts, music, and philanthropy are the focus of many events on
the calendar as well. There's even a Napa Valley Marathon in March. Some travelers
may wish to time their Napa Valley
visit to coincide with major Napa events and festivals; others may specifically
want to avoid such busy times in order to have a quieter experience in the valley.
Either way, a little advance planning will help travelers schedule their visit
for the appropriate dates and seasons.
One of the major Napa festivals is the Napa Valley Mustard Festival. The festival is held in the late winter through early spring (generally from the end of January through the end of March), which is the time of year when wild mustard plants bloom and cover the valley in yellow and green. This Napa Valley festival features a full calendar of events related to food, wine, art, entertainment, and cultural activities. One of the popular events in the Mustard Festival is the Mumm Photo Finish, which features wine, food, classical music, and amateur and professional photos of Napa Valley and the mustard plants.
In mid-March, a gourmet food festival is held in Yountville. Called A Taste of Yountville, this Napa Valley festival showcases local cuisine and wine, with tastings offered by some fifteen local restaurants, twenty local wineries, and numerous olive oil and mustard producers. Although Yountville is a small town, it packs a major culinary punch, with a total of six Michelin stars for its restaurants. One of the main foodie focuses is The French Laundry, a world-renowned restaurant with a coveted three-star rating from Michelin.
The late spring through summer is a busy time in Napa. The Calistoga Wineries
Spring Celebration falls in mid-May, during which attendees enjoy barrel tastings,
library wines, hot food, and live music at a group of Calistoga
wineries. The annual Napa Valley Wine Auction is held in June, and in July,
the Napa Valley Festival del Sole is one of the major events in Napa Valley.
Expect concerts with celebrated musical artists, receptions, art exhibits, fine
cuisine, and wine-tasting of superb bottles from local vintners. Another one
of the popular events in Napa Valley is Music in the Vineyards, a three-week
chamber music festival held in August. This Napa Valley festival features new
and classic chamber music played in winery settings, enjoyed with wine tastings
and special meals.
If you visit in mid-September, you'll be in time to enjoy the Napa Wine and Crafts Faire. Held in downtown Napa near Main and First streets, this fair attracts more than 10,000 people annually. The attractions include wine tasting, food, and shopping. September is also a great time to visit the local farmers markets in Napa and Calistoga, if you'd like to add some calmer activities to the list of events in Napa Valley for your vacation.
These major Napa events and festivals are a great way to experience the rich and varied offerings of the area. Whether you learn more about the wine-making process, sample the diverse gourmet culinary treats produced in the area, or enjoy music and art, a trip to Napa for a special festival or event will be very memorable.