POSTED ON December 30, 2019 | IN Travel Tips | BY Joe Becerra
fun in january in wine country
A spa in winter is ideal – in Calistoga

Some very fun Things to do in wine country in January

There are plenty of fun activities to do in January in both Napa Valley and Sonoma County. January is very quiet in the wine country. There will be days of inclement weather but, then comes sunshine, clear air, and spectacular views.

There are lodging deals. We use Travago to find the best rates. In some cases calling the hotel and asking about winter specials will yield the best price. We just found a great room rate of $95 for a midweek room at the newly remodeled Geyserville Inn.

Here are several suggestions for fun things to do in January in wine country.

bare vines and cover crops

Bare vines with cover crops just beginning to grow

Help Wine Country Recover

The Kincade Fire in October of this year was devasting in many ways. Travelers are staying away from wine country because the media has given the impression that Sonoma and Napa have widespread damage. This is not the case, and the wine country needs your support. One winery that did burn to the ground is the Soda Rock Winery. Soda Rock is now serving their wines out of an old barn that did survive the fire. Visit them and buy some wine. Soda Rock is on Highway 128 near Healdsburg.

Joe and Janelle at the Soda Rock temporary tasting room – The old barn is still in service

Take a hike

Yes, it may be chilly, but hiking in wine country is invigorating. Work up an appetite and take in views most travelers do not see in wine country. Check our “Things to Do” in each of our wine regions and you will find some very nice hiking paths and trails. We like hiking the Napa Vine Trail from Yountville toward Napa. In Healdsburg, we love the Healdsburg Ridge Hike.

Winter is Spa Weather

Spa treatments can be found in any of the wine regions. Napa Valley and Sonoma are particularly known for their many spas. Calistoga in the Napa Valley has made the mud bath and hot springs an inviting activity.

Art Galleries in Healdsburg and Napa Valley

Each wine country town has an excellent collection of boutique shopping and art galleries. Around the Plaza in Healdsburg, the Sonoma Plaza, or Paso Robles City Park, you can shop all day long. Antiquing is also a good choice. The bonus in January is that there are fewer travelers and more time to browse and get great deals. If you want to combine wine tasting and art, follow the Art and Wine Lovers Trail in the Napa Valley.  

In Healdsburg, be sure to visit the Paul Mahder art gallery. Not only does the art gallery have spectacular works of art, one can taste wine in the gallery. See the Grapeseed Wine Fund.

Things to do in January in wine country
At the Paul Mahder Art Gallery – GrapeSeed provides wine tasting

Head to Mendocino

Mendocino is a very romantic town on the Pacific Coast, but getting there adds to the experience. The Anderson Valley is on the way to Mendocino. It is the land of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Alsatian white wine varieties. Highway 128 to the coast is breathtaking. The town of Boonville in the Anderson Valley is a delight. We love what we call the Big Three wineries. Pack a lunch and, even in cold weather, picnicking among the vineyards is rejuvenating.

taste wine in Anderson Valley

Head to romantic Mendocino, and on the way taste wine in the Anderson Valley

Events in January 2020

Because January is the quietest month in wine country, several wine regions schedule planned events. Here is a list:

Napa Valley Restaurant Week January 21 to February 1
Enjoy lunch and dinner with multi-course, prix-fixe menus. Lunch $20, dinner is $38 or $48. See details at Napa Valley Restaurant Week

Winter Wineland  January 18 and 19 in Healdsburg Area – this can get crowded and hectic, but folks love this annual event. See details

Calistoga’s Winter in the Wineries Passport
This event runs from December 7 to February 9, 2020. Purchase passports and enjoy activities at 17 Calistoga wineries. See details at Winter in the Wineries Passport 2019 – 2020

Tastemaker Weekend in Healsburg
This is a first ever event intended to bring visitors back to the wine country. The Kincade fire took a toll on local businesses.  This will be a fun packed weekend. Pick and choose among fantastic food and wine activities, plus more.  Tastemaker Weekend in Healsburg

January in wine country what to do
Lunch at Costeaux Bakery in Healdsburg – nothing like freshly baked bread

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