After months on end of being cooped up at home, many Bay Area residents are starting to wonder how and where they can venture safely and responsibly outside of their bubble. Our aim in this post is to provide a perspective of what conditions are currently like in Napa Valley, so you can decide whether a trip to wine country feels right for you and have the tools you need to prepare for your visit responsibly.
What is the current situation like in Napa Valley during COVID19?
Napa’s hotels, wineries and restaurants have been open since early-June. Hotels are open with occupancy limits in place to promote social distancing. Most restaurants and wineries are open for outdoor dining and tastings. Most restaurants and wineries have adapted by expanding and enhancing their outdoor seating areas.
A complete and continually updated list showing the current status of of Napa Valley’s hotels, restaurants and wineries can be on the Visit Napa Valley website.
The days of counting on finding wineries where you can “walk-in” for a tasting are over, at least for now. All Napa Valley wineries now require advance appointments for tastings and in most cases, individual appointments are limited to a maximum of 6 guests.
You will need to wear a mask when you first arrive to a restaurant or winery and while you wait to be seated. Masks are not required to be worn while biking, nor once you are seated outdoors at a restaurant or winery.
In aligning our guided bike tours to conform to the COVID19 safety protocols in place at the wineries, our groups are now limited to a maximum of 6 guests. When you sign up for one of our guided bike tours all of the planning is done for you! You won’t have to stress about planning your route or scheduling wine tasting appointments. Care is also taken when we secure appointments at local wineries to ensure space is reserved to maintain social distance between separate family groups within our bike tour group.
If you choose to rent bikes and forge your own self-guided adventure, we recommend the following Best Practices to ensure the most enjoyable experience.
The importance of planning ahead for your visit to Napa Valley during COVID19 cannot be overstated – especially if you’re planning to visit during the weekend. When you confirm a reservation for a bike rental, your confirmation email will include a link to a helpful Planning Guide, which provides an overview of our most popular routes, showing the wineries along the way and also providing a sample timeline to follow for scheduling your wine tasting appointments.
Beat the Heat
Keep in mind, Napa’s ideal grape-growing climate translates to highs in the upper 80s and 90s during the summer. Mornings are typically considerably cooler, so with that in mind we recommend starting your day early to avoid sipping Napa’s signature bold Cabernets in the peak heat of the afternoon.
Emphasize Quality Over Quantity
Even in a pre-COVID world, three winery visits is the most we’d ever recommend in a single day – and then only for the MOST wine passionate visitors. Right now, with the combination of limited appointments and all tastings being hosted outdoors (read: no air-conditioning), we recommend keeping your itinerary between 10:00am to 3-3:30pm and aiming for two winery visits, max.
Three Sample Itineraries to Inspire Your Self-Guided Biking Tour
10 miles • Flat • Car-free bike path (Vine Trail)
- 9:45am Arrive Napa Valley Bike Tours
- 5 miles to Trefethen
- 11:00am Tasting at Trefethen Winery (60min)
- 5 miles to Addendum
- 12:45pm Pickup takeout from Addendum
- ~200 yards to Veterans Park
- 1:00pm Picnic at Veterans Park (45min)
- 0.75 mile to Chandon
- 2:00pm Tasting at Chandon (60min)
- 0.8 mile to Napa Valley Bike Tours
- 3:30pm Return bikes
12 miles • Mostly flat + one short hill • Shared-road riding (bike lane)
35 miles • Mostly flat + some rolling hills • Shared-road riding (bike lane)