Ask anyone at Temecula Valley Jeep & Wine Tours about the best time to visit wine country and we’ll all say the same thing: harvest season. While there’s never a bad time to embark on an off-roading adventure through the beautiful Southern California landscape, the annual grape harvest offers a special glimpse into how your favorite wines are made. Not to mention, there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing the vines light up in brilliant shades of gold and red. 

If you’re thinking about joining us for a Jeep Tour through Temecula wine country this fall, here are a few things to know:

Harvest season starts in September

The end of summer signals the start of the busiest time of year for California winemakers. The best growers can walk down a row tasting grapes and intuitively know when to begin harvesting. Sparkling wine grapes are harvested first at a slightly unripe point to help maintain acidity. White grapes like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are harvested next. Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Malbec grapes are typically picked in October, followed by more robust reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

The most beautiful fall colors pop in November

While the vines in Napa and Sonoma turn golden, orange, and red earlier in harvest season, fall colors (and cooler temperatures) make their way to Southern California in November. In our opinion, this is the most beautiful time of year visit Temecula wineries. It can get a bit breezy in the back of our open-air Jeeps, so we recommend bringing a light sweater or jacket on your wine tasting tour.

Man eating grapes during Temecula Harvest Season

Your Jeep tour includes a peek at grape crush

Not only will you visit three local wineries and their tasting rooms on your Jeep tour, but you’ll also receive a guided walk-through of a crush pad and barrel room. The crush pad is where harvested grapes go before they begin the fermentation process. While foot stomping used to be standard practice, modern wineries use automated machines to press the skins, stems, and seeds. This behind-the-scenes look is especially fascinating during harvest season.

Activities in Temecula during harvest season are aplenty

One of the best things about taking a Jeep tour during harvest season is the abundance of activities in Temecula. Many of the wineries have special events going on to celebrate the harvest, including grape stomping, dinner and wine packages, cooking demos, and live entertainment. After touring three local wineries with Temecula Valley Jeep & Wine Tours, you’ll be an expert on what the region has to offer and you can return to your favorite vineyard for the full harvest experience.

Experience harvest season in Temecula wine country on an open-air Jeep tour

Harvest season is one of the most beautiful times of year to experience Temecula wine country. The grapes are fragrant and ripe, the temperatures are cooler, and the vines offer some of the most stunning fall colors in Southern California. Book your Jeep tour of the best Temecula wineries by calling (951) 240-6646 or fill out our online contact form today.