It’s the most magical time of year! You heard us correctly; we’re not leaning into December but August – October when harvest’s wonder — and wine — is upon us here in Napa Valley. And 2023 is off to a fantastic start as Calistoga preps for our famed Harvest Table on September 10th. But, that’s just the beginning! Let us delight you this fall, from our annual events to epic wines to Calistoga’s healing waters.
If you’re just tuning into the lifecycle of the vineyards, let us give you a quick rundown. Harvest is when the grapes are at the peak and ready to be plucked off the vines and begin their journey toward becoming wine. The time of year is lively, and fermentation is in the air. It’s an incredible time to visit Napa Valley with its temperate weather and celebratory festivities.
Where to Stay
If relaxing with a personal touch is your mainstay, consider booking your sleep sessions at one of Calistoga’s charming bed and breakfasts or sweet inns, each with something unique to share with guests. The Craftsman Inn offers period-perfect private rooms in a delightful, you guessed it, Craftsman home right at the edge of downtown. Great for easy access to all Calistoga has to offer and architecture enthusiasts alike. When you want the charm of a B&B but with modern amenities, look no further than Embrace Calistoga. There is nothing small about their five rooms with grand windows letting in California sunlight and a thoughtful breakfast included with your stay, served daily in their cozy dining room or front porch.
Lean into luxe being your middle name and reserve a room at one of our top-notch resorts. The new kid on the scene is Resort at 400 Silverado Trail, a Four-Seasons Resort. The picturesque property sits at the edge of a vineyard and the eastern Vaca Mountains, so not only do guests receive incredible Napa Valley views, but they also can experience innovative and elevated dining and spa services without leaving the premises. If modern and private is preferred, climb into bed at Solage, An Auberge Resort. Another A+ choice for those living la vida luxe, this hotel is also eco-conscious, meaning you can feel good about where you sleep, snack, and relax alongside their new takes on the renowned Calistoga mud and mineral water therapies.
And we could not forget classic Calistoga’s spa-cial hotels that offer fantastic rooms and suites alongside pools and services that refresh. Take a dip at Roman Spa Hot Springs. Located just off Lincoln Avenue, this Mediterranean-inspired resort is a haven with lush gardens and a naturally heated hot springs pool, a great place to start or end the day. Or book with the recently reinvented Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa with its chic, retro-inspired decor. Sleep and play when not wandering Calistoga in their spacious rooms and three mineral pools, and enjoy complimentary access to bocce, board games, and puzzles for added joyful moments with family or friends.
Where to Eat
When hunger hits during harvest, let us lead you where your stomach desires. Napa Valley is known for its culinary prowess, and Calistoga does not disappoint. From small bites to fine dining, we’ve got the menu covered. And psst, a little secret for you — harvest season is the perfect weather for al fresco dining, so grabbing that reservation on the patio is a great choice.
Let’s start right at the beginning with breakfast, and a classic diner meal is always welcomed to fuel adventure, and Cafe Sarafornia is ready to serve. They have all the beloved choices but also have mixed it up with Napa Valley style with options like their Palisades Omelet and Brannan Benedict. Sitting right on Lincoln, diners get a front-row seat to the hustle and bustle of town while nibbling breakfast and lunch and plenty of coffee.
For fast movers or late risers, pop on by Calistoga Depot for that latte fix and grab-and-go options. They’re serving up breakfast burritos and avocado toast along with delicious sandwiches and wood-fired pizzas. Enjoy at one of the surrounding tables or pack up with some of their impressive selection of cheese and meats and other vittles for a vineyard-side picnic so you can be close to all the action.
Mid-day munchies are not to be overlooked when there are so many delicious places to sit and soak in the sun with snacks. A new local and tourist favorite is Picobar, located at Solage. This outdoor eatery is poolside and has impeccable views of our surrounding mountain ranges. The restaurant is plating contemporary Mexican cuisine in a gorgeous, yet casual, setting and celebrates local produce and ingredients in their craft. They also offer great sharing options — we see you whipped avocado — so you can try it all alongside an impressive line-up of mezcal and tequila cocktails.
Big and bold flavors will meet you at Evangeline. You’ll find those bistro favorites but aligned with the freshest, seasonal ingredients on their rotating menu. And their grand patio is a must for incredible sunsets surrounded by citrus trees and getting in the last sips of wine before calling it a day.
And when a newly minted Michelin-star option is on your list, Auro has a table with your name on it. The fine dining restaurant, located in the luxurious Four Seasons, offers a 5-course tasting menu that shines with seasonally-inspired dishes that are absolute works of art.
Where to Sip
Harvest = wine, so let us guide you to just a few amazing wineries and tasting rooms in the Calistoga area for vineyard-side sipping and downtown people-watching with glass in hand. There’s no shortage to go around, and there’s a chance you may see some of the seasonal magic in action, from picking to crush.
Situated off the beaten path here in Calistoga, Bennett Lane Winery offers impeccable vineyards views under its floral-encrusted pergola and expansive lawn. It feels like you’ve been transported to Europe – and with due reason. Founders Randy and Lisa Lynch were inspired on a trip to Italy and as they grew more passionate about food and wine, planted vines in Napa Valley. The winery offers spectacular surroundings, and beyond a tasting, their Private Blending experience should be on your to-do list. Step into the shoes of their winemaker by using the same tools and techniques and craft a bottle of Maximus Red Feasting Wine of your own.
There’s a reason that wine has been enjoyed for centuries, and Tedeschi Family Winery leans into doing things the old-fashioned way. All their farming is still conducted by hand, meaning every grape is carefully selected to perfect their Old-World styles of Pinot Noir, Primitivo, Viognier, and more. And while a seated tasting overlooking their vineyards is top-notch, lean into harvest and book their Vineyard and Crushpad Tour for an insider’s look at how their fruit moves from vine to bottle.
And while sitting close to the action is a lot of fun, downtown Calistoga’s tasting rooms offer up a unique experience of their own. Picayune Cellars recently moved to a bright, airy spot. Here you’ll find a handful of ways to get a taste of Napa Valley inside and on their front patio overlooking our main drag. Owner Claire Weinkauf not only curated an impressive blend of reds and whites but she also has created an extraordinary boutique with home goods, clothing, wine gear, and more. It’s one of a kind and so are the tasting opportunities, like their 4-course seasonal tasting and luncheon or hat bar.
Calistoga is just different than the rest of Napa Valley, and we love this. Where else would you find a gas station turned winery right in the heart of it all? Tank Garage Winery is located in a 1930s-era filling station and now lubricates with big pours of their uniquely crafted wines. Never making the same blend twice, once you try you must buy, and bonus points for their use of creative names for every wine their craft.
What to Do
Wine may be the more readily known showstopper in Napa Valley, but here in Calistoga, we’ve got water, mineral water, that is, and this natural occurrence makes our corner of wine country special when it comes to spa services that rejuvenate. Beyond the typical harvest activities you’ll see popping up over town, pencil in a spa experience, like a Mudslinger at Dr. Wilkinson’s, which consists of a healing mud bath and then Epsom-salt mineral bath along with time in their steam room and ending in a soothing blanket wrap. Definitely a bonus that the hotel/spa was recently awarded a spot on 10 Best’s best ways to enjoy wine in the US list as the best wine country hotel. Or dive in for a couples or friends’ mud or mineral experience at Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa, where they can accommodate groups of up to four to zen out and have the uniquely Calistoga treatment together.
If mud is not on your must-do list, enjoying the mineral water should still be on the books with local spas and hotels offering day passes to use their enriched pools. Calistoga Spa Hot Springs allows hotel guests to extend their time on their property to use the pools on their final day or add on to a massage with a premium pool package that grants spa guests access to their four geothermal mineral pools. Similarly, Indian Springs offers all hotel guests access and a limited number of spa visitors to their iconic, Olympic-sized mineral pool. Their outdoor, poolside cafe also serves up food and drink so you can spend the day soaking in the healing water and Calistoga sunshine.
Outside of our wonderous waters, Calistoga is a bevy for activity year-round, but exploring during harvest can lead to a deeper understanding of the ins and outs of winemaking. How about a bird’s eye view of the green vines below at sunrise with Napa Valley Aloft, or an extended and guided bike ride along our downtown streets and Silverado Trail with Getaway Adventures? And we cannot leave out our iconic Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most visited places in the “American West.”
Calistoga is a must with any trip to Napa Valley but there’s special enthusiasm here during harvest season that is not to be missed. This is just a speckling of what our town has to offer, and we recommend checking out our events page for up-to-date information on what’s on the table — the Harvest Table — for the next few months of our favorite season in wine country. Check out our events page for more!