It is Mustard Time in Wine Country


Written by:

Joe Becerra

Last updated:

mustard wine country
Mustard growing in vineyards owned by Frog’s Leap next door to the Whitehall Lane Winery in St. Helena

About mustard season in wine country

In the Napa Valley and Sonoma County, and in other wine regions, it is the mustard season in wine country. The Napa Valley once had an annual “Mustard Festival” that ran from January to the end of March. A whole set of events were featured around the mustard plant. The idea of the event was to draw visitors to the area during this beautiful season in wine country.

The Mustard Festival may be long gone, but the mustard plant puts on a show during this time like no other. It is beautiful! Where did the mustard plant originate in wine country? Folklore has it that the Franciscan Missionaries dropped mustard seeds as they walked through the countryside looking for sites to establish Missions.

Today there is some wild mustard growing here and there, but many vineyard managers will plant mustard as a cover crop. Mustard seeds will continue to grow year after year without a need to replant. The seeds sprout after the first heavy rains in December, and usually one month later the plants display their wonderful bright yellow color. At the end of March, when the pruning of the vines is completed, the mustard plant is plowed under. Such is the life of the mustard plant in wine country.

Because of the astonishing rainfall in December 2018 and now in February, mustard is flourishing. Mustard looks it best on any type of day. It is a wonder. 


Additional information on wine country

  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.

1 thought on “It is Mustard Time in Wine Country”

  1. “…but many vineyard managers” — what? Do what? “…consort with local badgers”? “…can’t count to ten without using their fingers”?

    Don’t leave me hanging here!

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