POSTED ON December 27, 2017 | IN Travel Tips | BY Joe Becerra

Some very fun Things to do in wine country in January

As the saying goes, “Just Do It,” and head to wine country in January. California wine country is so beautiful and lovely this time of the year. Crowds are few and far between and tasting rooms are quiet. The vineyards with their bare, wild-looking vines are a spectacular sight. Wild mustard and cover crops add another layer of beauty to the rows of vines. Yes, there can be some rainy days but overall January is a very inviting month in California wine country. 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

Visit tasting rooms and take a wine tour – January is best

This is why wine travelers come to the wine country, to sample wines made by various wineries. The difference in January is that the tasting rooms are much less crowded. In the smaller wineries, you might find the winemaker, assistant winemaker, or owner working the tasting room. Chances are you will get more attention and likely an extra taste of something special. If the tasting room offers a tour, take it. The cellar is usually quiet as well. The flurry of harvest is over and now most of the grape juice is resting and aging.

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 find some very nice hiking paths and trails. We like hiking the Napa Vine Trail from Yountville towards Napa. In Healdsburg, we love the Healdsburg Ridge Hike.

Treat yourself to a massage, a mudbath, or a facial

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.

mudbath and hot springs

Shop the boutique shops and art galleries

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.

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 2018

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

Napa Valley Restaurant Week January 20 to 27
Enjoy lunch and dinner with multi-course prix-fixe menus. Lunch $20, dinner is $36 or $46. See details at Napa Valley Restaurant Week

Winter Wineland  January 19, 20 in Healdsburg Area – this can get crowded and hectic, but folks love this annual event. See details

Calistoga’s Winter in the Wineries Passport
The event runs from December 2 to February 4, 2018. Purchase passports and enjoy activities at 17 Calistoga wineries. See details at Winter in the Wineries Passport 2018-2019.

Boutique shopping in Paso Robles around the City Park

Boutique shopping in Paso Robles around the City Park