You’ve spent all last year watching movies at home. Now is the perfect time to bring that magic to life with a visit to Napa Valley. Whether it is a romantic love story like Walk in the Clouds or a fun girls’ trip like Amy Poehler’s comedy Wine Country, the scenery is never more beautiful than when the mustard is in bloom during what we call Cabernet Season. In early January to mid-April, this riotous yellow flower blankets the vineyards, filling every space between the vines with color. The mustard isn’t just beautiful; it plays an important role in the great wines made in the vineyards. Read more about this history here.
You’ll most definitely need a couple of days at the least to enjoy the beauty and experience of Napa Valley this time of year. Book a stay in one of the vineyard lodging properties like the Harvest Inn just blocks from downtown St. Helena. Or the Inn at Salvestrin, a beautifully restored B&B with all the modern luxuries and their tasting room right out your door. North of downtown the Wine Country Inn & Cottage’s romantic and secluded property delivers the quintessential wine country experience with spectacular vineyard views. To explore all the lodging options, click here.
Once you establish your home base, you’ll want to plan your routes to explore wine country with the mustard presenting the perfect spring backdrop at every turn.
Drink in Cabernet Season’s colors and wines with some of our favorite wineries with incredible views. Take note of these stops for camera-ready spots that’ll make the prime location for your Napa Valley movie moment: Provenance Vineyards, HALL St. Helena, Grgich Hills Estate, Corison, Whitehall Lane, and Young Inglewood, are a straight shot south from our little hamlet down the vineyard edged Hwy 29. Or you can take a turn and head north to Charles Krug Winery, Duckhorn Vineyards (film location for Walk in the Clouds), Trinchero Napa Valley, AXR Napa Valley, and Vineyard 29 for Cabernets and rolling views from anywhere you sit. If you decide to traverse Silverado Trail, Mending Wall Wines, Miner Family Winery, and Titus Vineyards are all must-stops.
Many of these world-class tasting rooms are part of our Little Book of Big Experiences. A wine passport with 14 wineries for $75 that includes uniquely curated tastings valued at over $800. Good through June, so you’ll want to come back time and again to experience them all.
As much as the wine draws visitors year over year, our culinary scene keeps you all happily satiated with the best of farm to fork dining. St. Helena has a curated selection with everything from good old-fashioned comfort food to innovative culinary art. Consider starting your adventure by the patio fire at Brasswood Bar + Bakery, a culinary boutique serving handmade baked goods and picnic provisions. After you’ve had your fill, stroll over to their tasting room, Brasswood Cellars, with beautiful views of the Valley. Nestled in the heart of Napa Valley farmland and endless vineyards, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch doesn’t make you choose; you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner at this comfort food-style restaurant. They have several dining options as well as on-site provisions for you to take away with organic produce from their farm, heritage meats, local cheeses, dairy products, and a selection of beers, spirits, wines. (Get there early for their daily fresh baked breads) You’ll want to linger a little longer and enjoy one of their wine tasting experiences. Check out more culinary goodness at Pizzeria Tra Vigne, The Bruschetteria Food Truck, Cook St. Helena, Gott’s, Market and, The Charter Oak. See all the dining options here. During this season, we’d be remiss not to highlight Mustards Grill. Named for the wildflowers, Mustards specializes in “deluxe truck stop” fare. Enjoy New American fare with an upscale twist; you must try the grilled stone fruit with burrata and the homemade potato chips with blue cheese dip.
There is no better way to appreciate Cabernet Season than to get out and get IN it! St. Helena has outdoor adventure opportunities that will take you to places to pause and breathe it all in. Explore the hiking and mountain biking trails here. With Mount St. Helena in the background, a gently turning road through the vineyards, a picnic in your backpack… here’s your guide to bike tours in St. Helena and Napa Valley. Do you want to really see it all? The glorious aerial view of the valley at sunrise in a hot air balloon will take your breath away in awed sky-high silence.
Get yourself camera ready with a new outfit from the charming downtown shops in St. Helena. Shopping in St. Helena is unhurried, elegant, and fun. Before you leave, pick out a work of art depicting the wine country landscape from one of the galleries to bring home and hang on the wall to remind you of your cinematic escapades.
So what do you say, will we see you soon? Cabernet is calling!