Today I’m sharing inspiration and ideas for what you’ll want to pack and wear in the Napa Valley wine country this summer!
So, you’ve planned a summer trip to Napa Valley, or Sonoma Valley.
It’s a wine country adventure!
Today I’m excited to join my weekend pals Kim and Elizabeth,
plus four more fabulous friends,
to share packing ideas for six popular travel destinations.
WHAT TO PACK FOR NAPA VALLEY IN THE SUMMER
You’ve researched and booked a beautiful hotel, scored amazing restaurant reservations, arranged spa treatments … and booked winery tours and tastings.
Maybe even a balloon ride.
But the most important question remains … what to pack and wear in Napa Valley?
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First of all, take a deep breath, it’s much simpler than it sounds. Summer dresses, white denim paired with sleeveless blouses. That’s it. That’s all you need. We may expand on that a bit … but we’ll start there.
The wine country by day is laid-back and casual … and by night it’s laid-back and casual, elevated casual. And, of course, we want to be casual AND chic. Not to worry, we’ll nail it.
Napa Valley has a reputation for being a little more formal (read stuffy) than it’s more laid-back cousin, Sonoma Valley. Having lived in, worked in, and visited both valleys’ extensively … no matter which side of the Mayacamas you land, what you wear in one valley will work just as well in the other.
It can be quite warm to hot during the late spring and summer. Temperatures will range during the day from high 70’s into 90’s … and can soar even higher. Depending on where you are in the valley, nighttime may bring cooling coastal breezes.
If you’re within driving distance, congratulations … you can pack to your heart’s content. If you’re flying … you may want to edit a bit. And use packing cubes … you’ll get more into your bags that way. Whether driving or flying … you’ll want to be comfortable and warm. This is me headed home from a trip a couple of weeks ago … yes it looks like I’m going to Antartica. I was driving back from the beach!
These are are some of my packing essentials ~
NAPA VALLEY BY DAY
Let’s start with summer dresses. I like a short or mid-length dress for day. Especially for navigating around wineries. Many winery tours will take you from beautiful tasting rooms, through wine caves, damp cellar and barrel rooms and outside through the gorgeous, but dusty, vineyards. There can also be stairs and hilly terrain.
Jenni Kayne’s Summer dress is ideal for daytime in Napa Valley, with a lightweight jacket or sweater tossed over the shoulders.
For a similar look for less, I’m intrigued by this Amazon dupe from The Drop … it comes in a ton of pretty colors.
More summer dress on my packing list …
This midi dress from Rails with a pretty lace detail works for day and casual nights.
Same goes for this fun lime pattern dress from Steve Madden.
Niece Shelby found this cute linen-blend mini-dress at Target. It’s adorable on her and ideal for a day of wine tasting in the late spring or summer. It comes in six colors. And it’s the most popular dress I’ve ever posted on the blog.
Shelby and her friend, Lauren, had their first wine tasting experience recently.
At Hall Winery in St. Helena.
They broke my no-maxis-on-a-winery-tour rule. But they came through the day unscathed.
Cropped white denim is also a good option for day.
Paired with sleeveless tops or tees.
Again, a lightweight jacket or sweater will serve you well.
Pack flat sandals and cute tennies. Sam Edelman sandals comes in many styles and colors and fit my somewhat narrow foot. They’re also comfortable and affordable. My all-white Converse Chuck Taylor’s have seen better days and need an upgrade. I have my eye on these and these.
You’ll want to pack a lightweight jacket … or two. And a breezy, open front cardigan. My new Rails cropped denim jacket goes with everything, as does this Vince shirt-style jacket. I love Cinq a Sept’s ruched sleeve blazers … and recently purchased this one which is perfect over dresses and white denim. And it kicks things up a notch. All these layering pieces can be mixed and matched to do double and triple duty.
In addition to summer dresses and denim, fun skirts, dressier shorts and denim denim are also good daytime options. I bought this leopard print skirt earlier in the year and haven’t worn it yet … how fun would it be paired with a white t-shirt and white tennies. Maybe a chambray shirt tied at the waist. On the more casual side, Bermuda length white shorts and a fun top.
When swanning around the wineries and cute local towns, you’ll want your hands free for wine glasses and other things so carry a crossbody bag or a shoulder bag that doesn’t slip. Big enough to hold your essentials without weighing you down. I love this Clare V. woven crossbody that I bought for niece Sophie’s wedding last summer, and the essential J.Crew woven tote. This cute JW PEI vegan mini bag also makes the cut on my packing list. It became a hot item after being photographed on the shoulders of several big celebrities. I took it wine tasting … but it’s better for night and comes in many colors.
Don’t leave home without a hat. But if you do, make a beeline for Montecristi Panama Hats in Yountville. I’ve had this Panama hat for years. It’s my favorite and it gets a lot of wear. I also like my Eric Javits sunhat with UV protection and it’s packable.
Sunnies and sunscreen are essential.
Don’t skimp on the sunscreen. I’m currently obsessed with SuperGoop sunscreens … for face and body. Remember to reapply. Often.
NAPA VALLEY BY NIGHT
In the evening you’ll be enjoying the amazing culinary experiences that abound in Napa Valley. Some restaurants are fancier than others but your wardrobe need not be. In fact, you can wear many of the same things you packed for day by throwing on a snazzier shoe, elevated jewelry and a more streamlined bag. Have fun!
Maxi dresses are ideal for evenings in Napa Valley. Floaty, slim fitting, slip-style dresses … you can’t go wrong.
AROUND THE RESORT
Whether you’re staying in a large resort, boutique hotel or Airbnb, chances are you’ll be putting in some pool. And, of course, you’ll want to look great traipsing back and forth.
BEYOND WINE TASTING
There are so many activities available in Napa Valley, besides wine tasting. Shocking, right? Hiking, biking, golf, tennis, yoga, even balloon rides. And, of course, exploring the amazing downtowns, boutiques and shops in Napa proper, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga.
If you plan to participate in anything on the sporty side, leave room in your luggage for the appropriate gear.
As for hot air ballooning, I’ve never done it, but you’ll be getting up at the crack of dawn so dress warmly and comfortably. When I worked for the Buena Vista Winery my office was in the middle of the Carneros vineyards (I know, poor me) and more-often-than-you’d-think I’d see balloons blown off course and landing in our vineyards. Not a good morning for our vineyard managers … or the balloon companies.
IN YOUR ROOM
Most hotels provide cozy bathrobes (if in doubt, call to check) and I like to pack a chemise-style nightgown or pajama set. Something for lounging around my hotel room … and to look cute while lingering over breakfast on my deck or patio.
Call me OCD or high maintenance, but there are few things I like to know about my hotel – or other accommodation – before I pack. Will my room have bathrobes, hotel slippers (I love these and bring my own if not provided), a magnifying mirror (preferably lighted), an iron or steamer, a mini-fridge and bottled water.
Napa Valley (and Sonoma Valley) is a popular destination year-round, never more so than during the summer months and harvest (late summer, early fall). Plan ahead to secure your restaurant reservations and winery tour and tastings. Most wineries allow walk-ins, but you’ll have a better experience – and a wider range of tour and tasting options – if you reserve ahead. Way ahead in the case of the most popular restaurants and wineries.
Book a car and driver for wine tasting days. Silverado Trail and Highway 29 are two-lane country roads and they get a lot of traffic. Particularly on weekends. Pulling in and out of winery driveways is not for the faint of heart. And remember, everyone else has been wine tasting too. If you really want to enjoy yourself and be safe, this is the way to go. We love Cinnamon’s Wine Tours (if Cinnamon’s your driver, you’ve lucked out). She offers Escalades seating up to 5 people and Sprinter vans for 7-12.
So there you have it, what to pack for Napa Valley in the summer.
Now let’s see what my friends are packing for their fabulous destinations.
What’s on your travel agenda this summer?
Will you be going to the wine country?
As always, I appreciate your visit and welcome your thoughts in the comments below.
I’ll be back on Saturday, along with Kim and Elizabeth, for Weekend Meanderings.
Until then, Cheers from Snowberry!