The Thrill of the Harvest

Our Favorite Time of Year To Visit Wine Country

Imagine booking a room in a rustic inn with a vineyard view and spending your days visiting local wineries. At each stop, you'll enjoy savoring their reserve selections, taking in the bustle of the first steps of winemaking, and lingering outside in cooler temperatures. That's what it's like in wine country during harvest season, the most exciting two months of the year in most vineyards and the perfect time to visit.

In the Northern Hemisphere—the half of the world that includes the most famous wine regions in Europe and the U.S.—harvest season begins as early as late August, when crisper, lighter white grapes like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are harvested. Full-bodied whites like Chenin Blanc and Viognier are harvested a few weeks later, allowing them more time to ripen and develop their lush flavors.

Red wine grapes follow the same progression, with brighter varietals like Pinot Noir being harvested in late summer. Meanwhile, the grapes that make darker, fuller red wines like Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon can be harvested as late as early November, when the leaves are starting to change and the entire region is awash in brilliant fall color.

Ultimately, September is the heart of the harvest in wine country. In our opinion, this is the most exciting time to visit. We're not the only ones who feel this way, so book your tickets early to ensure a spot at your favorite bed and breakfast.

Planning a vineyard vacation? Fuel your anticipation with the six recent wines in the Harvest Season Selection, featured below.