Let’s face it: ANY time is a good time to visit California’s North Coast wine country.
Even during the summer months, when the traffic on Highway 29 can mirror that of an L.A. freeway at 5 o’clock, only with about 12 fewer lanes, the Napa Valley is like a little slice of heaven on Earth.
(And by the way, it’s not all that difficult to park and then hit three or four tasting rooms on foot, thus avoiding the highway congestion altogether.)
Seasonal differences aside, wine country is much like any other tourist destination: It’s greatly impacted by the overall health of the economy.
And when the economy tanked last year, not only were wineries hurt, but so were the peripheral businesses — including fine restaurants and lavish resorts.
“The faucet just turned off,” said Sean Dempsey, assistant general manager of the Meritage Resort, who has been serving visitors to wine country for some 20 years.
Dempsey was quoted in the Napa Valley Register, and you can read that newspaper’s complete story here:
Fortunately, the economy is showing signs of coming back, at least a bit, and a few more people are scheduling or re-scheduling trips to America’s wine capital.
But they are doing so with heightened expectations. Now accustomed to “kids eat free” offers from the various restaurant chains, consumers are expecting more bang for their buck — and they’re not shy about asking for it.
According to Dempsey, value-added vacation packages are being sought out. At a full-service resort, for instance, booking a room for a couple of nights could bring the guest a free spa treatment or some other perk that normally would incur an added cost.
So, there may be no better time than RIGHT NOW to start planning a wine country getaway. And if you do a little comparison shopping… and use a little friendly persuasion… you may end up getting more and paying less.
Which would free up some cash to buy a few more bottles of wine.