When’s the best time to visit Sonoma Valley or even the best time to visit Napa Valley? For wine country balloon tours, Sonoma Ballooning flies year-round, weather permitting, so anytime is a fantastic time in our opinion!
When it comes to visiting wine country, we’ve broken it down for you. While there is never a bad time to visit and there is always an abundance of things to do in Sonoma wine country in particular, some months are definitely busier than others. Here’s what you can expect:
If you want to avoid peak tourist season, and often find special Sonoma hotel discounts, November through February is a good time to travel. The crisp winter air is invigorating for a hot air balloon ride. The city and local attractions are decorated for the holidays and you can always find local artisans offering a variety of unique, gift-giving ideas. In addition, Sonoma County Restaurant Week typically takes place the last weekend in February-early March, and is a great time to enjoy prefixed menus and food specials from award winning restaurants.
January through the end of March is the famed “mustard season.” The grapevines are surrounded by bright yellow mustard seed flowers, and make for stunning photos from high above in a Sonoma hot air balloon. Tasting rooms tend to be less busy this time of the year, so it’s a nice time to visit a variety of them at your leisure.
The months of March through May is when spring is in bloom – it’s “bud break” and this is when a variety of new wines get released. It’s also a time when Sonoma farmer’s markets start making their appearance and when restaurants serve seasonal, farm to table dishes that highlight the most delectable ingredients that the area has to offer this time of the year.
In mid-summer, the beauty of veraison in the vineyards can be witnessed. Veraison is a French term (pronounced ver-ray-shon) that describes the ripening of grapes used to make red wines, as they visually transform from green to crimson. Summer in wine country is also filled with a variety of outdoor concerts, festivals and outdoor activities, which bring in many local Californians from across the state and visitors from all across the country and overseas. Sonoma Valley hotel accommodations, Sonoma wine tours and winery tastings, outdoor adventures and restaurant reservations should all be made well in advance of your travel dates. You could say this is “peak season.”
One of the most popular times for people to visit Sonoma and visit Napa Valley, is during harvest season. While tending to the beautiful vineyards of wine country is a year-round process, August through October is when wine harvest season takes place. Visitors can enjoy fun seasonal activities such as special harvest dinners and grape smashing. You will definitely want to book your hot air balloon ride well in advance, as well as wine tastings and any other local Sonoma tours. Harvest season is one of the busiest times here!