Photo courtesy of www.visitcalistoga.com
Harvest time in Napa Valley is a time for hard work and celebration. Finally, the product for all those months of painstaking effort and tender loving care has come.
From late summer to November, the harvest is a time of breathless anticipation, long hours, and hard work to make the most of another annual Napa Valley crop.
For visitors, Napa Valley hosts hundreds of harvest parties, wine tasting events, celebrations, cultural activities, and music as at least one iconic hot air balloon Napa Valley floats gently across the sky above all the activity.
As happens with important annual events, traditions develop. Some grape harvest celebrations have been occurring for over a century, and the local citizens, businesses, and communities will replay those important annual events again.
Toasting and Blessing the Grapes (and the Workers)
Harvest time is approaching. Activity swings into full gear in the vineyards, crush pads, and the wine cellars. Hope is high each year as everyone anticipates another high-quality yield.
Blessing of the Grapes is a complimentary event when the harvest begins. It is an important ritual, one that no cautious vineyard owner would dare skip. The tradition began in Europe hundreds of years ago and Grgich Hills Estate began the tradition in Napa Valley when the winery opened in 1977.
As those iconic Napa Valley balloons drift above carrying delighted visitors, the winegrowers ask local religious leaders to bless the grapes. This is followed by rounds of champagne toasts to celebrate the season’s hard work.
Blessings ask for the continued safety of the crews and a continuation of good weather during the harvest.
T-shirts commemorating each new vintage are another Napa Valley tradition. Each year, winemaking crew members don a uniquely designed t-shirt to commemorate the new season’s vintage. The t-shirts create camaraderie among the harvest, crush, and winemaking teams.
Dogs are sent into the vineyards to ward off pests, detect disease, and to just have fun. These days, while they wear GoPro cameras, humans can catch a sense of the sights and sounds of the harvest as the dogs meander through the rows. Importantly, the canine assistants keep the crew members company in the fields and cellars.
The work is hard, and 12-hour days in the vineyards are long. A delightful break is having lunch among the rows, a great way to recharge. Watching Napa Valley balloons float serenely above adds a soothing respite from all the hard work.
The culmination of all the hard work happens when each vineyard presents their annual harvest party for employees and guests to celebrate the new harvest. These lavish events involve excellent food and wine, grape stomping, music, and much more.
Hot Air Excitement in Napa Valley Balloons
Our Balloons Above the Valley hot air Napa Valley balloons excursions are safe, fun, exhilarating, and the best way to see Napa Valley during harvest season.
Check out our Balloons Above the Valley website to see the Napa Valley balloon packages we offer.
Harvest season is here, so make your reservations for an unforgettable hot air balloon Napa Valley ride and enjoy all the traditions of the season.