Welcome to winter in Napa Valley: harvest has concluded, the weather has cooled, crowds have dispersed, and the locals are reconnecting with the land and with one another. Some destinations call these times of year “off” seasons, or “secret” seasons, but in Napa Valley, this time of rejuvenation and celebration is called “cabernet season” and for good reason: Vines have been harvested, wine has been put to rest in the cellars and the region’s famed Cabernet Sauvignons are released. Imagine the best of Napa without the crowds, when the big red wines that helped define this region take center stage in welcoming tasting rooms and on fine dining tables throughout Northern California.
“It’s the time of year when everything slows down,” says Ben Rotnicki, Vice President of Sinegal Estate Winery in St. Helena. “It’s a great time of year to bump shoulders with the locals and find your way into your favorite restaurants. In many ways you have the keys to Napa Valley during Cabernet Season.”
With a visit to Napa Valley during Cabernet Season, Exclusive Resorts members also have access to an exclusive tasting experience at the Sinegal estate. The winery was founded by retired CEO of Costco Wholesale, James Sinegal, and his son David, who lives on the property and leads the company as vintner and general manager, translating his family’s passion for wine into their own label.
“This time of year, the temperature is cooler, things are slowing down. It’s a wonderful time to experience Napa at this slower pace and access the things that might be in high demand during peak seasons,” says Rotnicki. “And its perfect weather to drink Cabernet. Expect sunny, crisp days and cool nights. Things get cozy in Napa during this time.”
According to Rotnicki, Exclusive Resorts Members are treated like Sinegal wine club members during their visits. Private tastings led by ambassadors provide access to special wine tasting venues, preferred pricing on wine, access to member-only wines, and more. “We pull back the curtain at the estate for Exclusive Resorts Members with a behind-the-scenes tour of our winemaking facilities, as well as the caves," Rotnicki says. "Overall we just love providing them with the chance to be immersed in this oasis of beauty and nature.”
Not surprisingly, much of Napa is awash in beauty during Cabernet Season. During the months of February and March, Napa Valley vineyards are glowing with carpets of wild mustard. Wild mustard serves as a cover crop that enriches the soils, helps prevent erosion, decreases nutrient runoff, retains soil moisture, recycles nitrogen, reduces weed and pests, and attracts a variety of pollinators.