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Napa Valley - Facts for the traveller, when to go, events

Facts for the traveller for Napa Valley

Time: GMT/UTC -8

When to Go to Napa Valley

Spring and fall are the best times to visit. Summers tend to be hot and dusty, as well as decidedly crowded. Fall (September-November) combines fine weather with the grape harvest and the 'crush,' when the wine-making season gets under way with the pressing of the grapes.

Napa Valley Events

Summer and fall in the valley mean weekend farmer's markets in most of the major cities and towns; in addition to fresh produce, you'll find excellent deals on wine. Annual events that pack 'em in include the Napa Valley Mustard Festival in February and March, with events all over the valley that include mustard tastings, cooking contests and art shows. Also in February, the Napa Valley Barrel Auction offers sweet deals on small lots of handcrafted wines, sold to the highest bidder.

This is an area that prides itself on upscale elegance, hence the Napa Valley Classic, a semi-formal equestrian event that takes place in July. If horseplay doesn't interest you, try the Napa Valley Shakespeare Festival, with theatrical performances all month long, or Movies in the Vineyards, Napa's film festival, both held in July. There are dozens of winery-sponsored events during the fall crush, but do-it-yourselfers meet at the Home Winemakers Classic each August to show off their homegrown prowess. In September, the Napa Valley Wine & Crafts Fair makes sure you're just tippled enough to appreciate the work of local artisans.

The Napa Valley Wine Festival, held in November, brings out more than 50 vintners pushing their product on vast crowds eager for a sip or ten. Come December, the Yountville Festival of Lights proves that you don't have to be tasteful all the time, even in Napa Valley. Carols in the Caves takes advantage of the acoustics in all those wine cellars just before Christmas.

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