Starting in mid- to late-October, the grape harvest crush winds down as the leaf pageant begins its debut. Autumn colour in the wine country isn’t limited to trees—the verdant grape leaves of summer transform into radiant foliage in autumn, with crisp coppers and ruby reds accentuating any grapes left on the vine. Witness the beauty by driving the Silverado Trail from Napa to Calistoga. Take your pick from dozens of wineries, including Frog’s Leap, Rombauer Vineyards, and Reynolds Family Winery, all worth a stop for autumn scenery and wine tasting.
Many Napa vineyards have planted specimen trees like silver maples and liquidambars that dazzle in Technicolour. Make an appointment for a tour at Far Niente Winery in Oakville and you’ll get to admire its 40,000-square-foot wine-aging caves, plus its stately double row of ginkgo biloba trees. Hailing from China, these autumn foliage kings are revered for their fan-shaped golden leaves that hang on long after oaks and maples have gone bare.
To see California’s native trees in autumn regalia, head to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, south of Calistoga, and take a walk on the Redwood Trail alongside Ritchey Creek. Black oaks and big-leaf maples form a canopy over the creek that runs year-round. The big-leaf maples bear massive leaves—many bigger than your head—that turn a brilliant yellow in autumn. Ferns, wild grape, and spice bush add to the colour show. Climb to the top of Coyote Peak to get a birds-eye view of the entire forest.