No matter where you are in the world, there’s probably a grape harvest happening! In Napa Valley and Sonoma County, for example, harvest runs from August through October, while in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are flipped. Whether you’re dreaming of Tuscany or craving a crisp glass of French wine, these eight regions are some of the best in the world.
Napa and Sonoma
August to October
It's harvest season in Napa Valley and Sonoma County, so if you're in the area (and even if you're not), it's time to start planning a weekend getaway. Many types of wines are produced here, from cabernet sauvignon to pinot noir, making it a great destination for groups with different taste preferences. Harvest usually starts in August for lighter wines and runs through October for bolder grapes like syrah and cabernet sauvignon. Peju offers interactive tours and even throws a yearly harvest party. And it’s never too early to start planning your next harvest trip!
End of September to October
Italy is a dream destination for wine connoisseurs and the Tuscan backdrop is like the cherry on top. The region is best known for sangiovese-based wines along with cabernet-based blends. In general, white wines like vernaccia and trebbiano are harvested at the beginning of the season, while the famous sangiovese isn't harvested until October. Galavanting through Tuscany is one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips, so pull out all the stops. Many travelers opt for a private tour for a more immersive experience.
September to October
Known for delicious-tasting rosé, Provence is a must-see for any wine lover. Like any region, the start and end dates for harvest largely depend on the weather. Normally, the process begins in September and runs through October. If you're a fan of French wines and have time to spare, consider adding Bordeaux and Burgundy to your itinerary.
Lavaux might not be on your wine harvest bucket list, but it should be! This UNESCO World Heritage Site features stunning terraced vineyards that overlook Lake Geneva. As a whole, Switzerland isn't really known for its wine, but that's because only 1 percent is exported. If that’s not an excuse to visit, we don’t know what is. You're likely to sample white wines like chasselas and reds like pinot noir and gamay. Although less common, there is a small amount of pinot gris produced in Lavaux, along with pinot blanc and sauvignon blanc.
Douro River, Portugal
Portugal's Douro River has a long-standing reputation of great-tasting ports, but that's not all this wine region has to offer. This is also where many rich red wines, many times made from grapes only found here, are harvested. If planning a trip, September is the month to go, as most of the harvesting takes place during those four weeks. Get in on the action by booking a private tour where you can get your feet wet (literally). We're not saying that picking grapes is easy, but in Douro there's always cause for celebration.
Late February to April
Can't slip away from work until winter? Consider planning a trip to coincide with harvest seasons in the Southern Hemisphere instead. Mendoza's season runs from late February through April, and while there are several other wine-producing regions in the country (Salta and Cafayate, to name a few), about 60 percent of Argentine wine is produced here. If you're partial to organic wine, Mendoza is a must because vineyards here rarely have insect or fungi problems, thus yielding pesticide-free wine.
Stellenbosch, South Africa
February to March
Accounting for about 15 percent of the country's total wine production, Stellenbosch is South Africa's second-oldest wine region and arguably its most picturesque. Plus, it's about a 30-minute drive from Cape Town, making it an easy add-on to a city trip. South African soil tends to drain well and maintain moisture, both of which are ideal for wine harvesting. Take your pick of wines, from cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinotage and shiraz to chardonnay and sauvignon blanc.
Barossa Valley, Australia
Early February to April
There are more than 60 designated wine regions in Australia, and Barossa Valley is one of the oldest. The area was first settled by European immigrants in 1842, and while plenty of time has passed since then, the valley still has a feeling of Old World charm. The region is best explored on bicycle, but if you're in the mood to splurge, book a hot-air balloon ride or a helicopter tour. After a day harvesting wine in the vineyards, relax at a day spa or play golf on one of several championship courses.
Enjoy all the varietals that Peju, a family-owned winery in Napa Valley, California, has to offer. We invite you to explore our website for more information about experiencing our wines and events.