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Best Places to Celebrate New Year's Eve in the Wine Country

This year, while everyone rushes for the city, do something different and ring in the new year in Napa or Sonoma with these midnight champagne toasts, rocking DJs, concerts, and balloon-filled ballrooms:

NAPA

Start your night with dinner at La Toque at the Westin Verasa Napa and then dance the night away at their vintage Hollywood Black & White Ball. Enjoy sweet and savory bites, dance to the sounds of Nor Cal Pro Sound, and toast champagne at midnight. $195/person for the whole shebang or $75 if you’re dining elsewhere.

Long Meadow Ranch Winery & Farmstead is celebrating New Year's Eve family-style with a farm-to-table dinner menu, great wine, creative cocktails, live music, a champagne toast, and a festive celebration into the morning hours. First Seating: $65/person for three-course menu. Second Seating: $115/person for four-course menu, live music and champagne toast.

The Meritage Resort and Spa is having a Napa-style NYE party in their wine caves. The party begins with a four-course dinner and then continues through the night with a DJ dance party, light shows, glitter, balloons, and party favors while you await the champagne toast at midnight. This resort is one of the closest points to San Francisco and you've got three ticket options:

The Cave Dinner is $175 and includes entry into the NYE Party in the Meritage Ballroom.The Siena Dinner is $75 and people can add the NYE Party for $20. Individual tickets (without dinner) for the NYE Party in the Meritage Ballroom are $50.

étoile at Domaine Chandon is probably Napa’s most famous and excessive place to ring in the new year. Their gala is pricey at $300/person, but includes a delicious five-course dinner with wine pairings from étoile, Chandon, and Newton Vineyard wineries. After dinner, the revelry will continue with music and dancing, formal portraits, party favors to commemorate the evening, and of course a midnight toast.

There is always something happening on the Wine Train so it’s no surprise that they are having a New Year's party. There is something cool about being in motion at midnight and their party  – the Black, White, & Pink Ball – benefits local breast cancer patients so you can end this year and begin next doing something charitable. The event includes a sparkling wine and caviar reception, four-hour multi-course gourmet meal, and dancing to a live band until the wee hours. It’s pricey if you do it all at $235/person for dinner and party, but you can hop on board for the after party for just $50 per person.

SONOMA

The young, hip and sustainably-chic Spoonbar at the h2 hotel in Healdsburg is having a NYE party that includes a craft-your-own 3-course menu, sparkling toast, music and dancing in the h2 lounge ($70/person).  Come for the party and enjoy the bubbles and signature cocktails at the street side bar and h2 lounge or make a weekend of it with their New Year’s Party Package, which includes two nights at h2hotel, a bottle of bubbly upon arrival, and all the fun mentioned above ($800 - $1000 for 2 nights).

Nectar, a favorite locals NYE spot (at the Hilton Sonoma), is known for their young yet classy New Year's Eve Celebration. They offer a reasonable package deal that includes a night for two in a deluxe room, a bottle of champagne with commemorative glasses, a five-course dinner, DJ dance party, and midnight champagne toast for $249/person.

For a posh celebration, the Michelin-starred SANTÉ (at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn) has a sparkling wine mixer in the lobby from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m., champagne toast at midnight, and live jazz until 1 a.m. You’ll be spoiled with caviar, oysters, roasted duck, foie gras, butter poached Maine lobster, and more. Seating times are 7 – 9:30 p.m. $195/person.

If you want to keep it down to earth, head to the HopMonk Tavern for an elaborate balloon drop, sparkling ale tastes, and a “high-octane hootenanny" musical performance by Poor Man’s Whiskey. This band is no stranger to SF Venues like the Fillmore and the Great American Music Hall and a great option if you're looking to get out of the city and party down without the ball gown.

Centre du Vin (at the Ledson Hotel in Sonoma)  is hosting an affordable all-day New Year’s Eve celebration.  Lunch with wine tastings will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and dinner from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. with jazz music from Jess Petty Duo until midnight.  All the usual favorites will be on the menu but they’re adding a special Slow Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Prime Rib for just $28.

If you’re looking for something truly intimate, call your favorite wineries and see what they’re doing for NYE as many have lavish dinners, and a few may even let you stay past midnight. Make sure to post comments below with your favorite wine country spots to celebrate the New Year as these will likely sell out quickly. 

Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year!