Bringing together three of life's greatest pleasures—music, wine, and food—Napa's BottleRock Music Festival has unsurprisingly exploded in popularity over the last couple years. But luckily, you don't have to wait until next Memorial Day weekend to get your fix. Plan a trip now around these Wine Country concerts happening through October.
At the foot of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the century-old Mountain Winery pairs live music with far-reaching mountaintop views in a Colosseum-esque venue. There's still a month left to the 2017 concert season, with acts including Michael Franti & Spearhead on Sept. 19th, The Beach Boys on the 22nd, and TheMavericks (country meets Latin meets rock) on Oct. 7th. Tickets start at $30, and some options include fine dining while you rock out. // 14831 Pierce Rd. (Saratoga), mountainwinery.com
If you go: The beauty of Mountain Winery is that it isn't surrounded by, well, anything. While it's not the easiest place to plan an overnight, The Hakone Gardens, one of the oldest Japanese gardens in the Western Hemisphere, is a popular nearby attraction that you can visit before the show.
Rock the Rails
The Napa Valley Wine Train has launched a mini concert series at some of Napa Valley's oldest wineries. For each concert, you'll hop aboard one of the train's antique cars, built in the early 1900s, and ride due north as the sun begins to set. During the journey, you'll be served a three course dinner, starting with a glass of bubbly and a cheese and charcuterie plate. There are four options for the main course, like cabernet-braised short rib, and then you're served a choice of dessert with coffee on the return trip. Once at the winery, you'll disembark for a night of music and even more wine and food. On Sept. 21st, catch Sheila E. at Grgich Hills Estate, and on October 5th, see David Pack's "Legends Live" at Charles Krug. // 1275 McKinstry St. (Napa), winetrain.com
If you go: The concerts take place on Thursday night's, so why not call in sick on Friday and make a weekend of it? Grab a room right next door to the train station at the Westin Verasa Napa. This will also place you just a short walk from the Oxbow District's diverse array of restaurants and wine tasting rooms, like our favorites CRU @ the Annex and Mark Herold Wines.
Every summer, Gundlach Bundschu puts on the Huichica Music Festival, with 30-plus indie and folk acts on four stages. But if you missed it this year, you can still get a taste during their fall concert series, which has a pun-tastic name: (((folkYEAH!))) (Sept. 26-Nov. 12). GunBun is putting on six shows in their historic red barn, each paired with a local food truck, including Conor Oberst on Oct. 4. Tickets range from $30-$45. // Gundlach Bundschu Winery: 2000 Denmark St. (Sonoma), gunbun.com
If you go: The shows take place on both weekends and weekdays, but either way, we suggest making it a day trip. Grab a hearty lunch at The Fremont Diner on the way over, and make an appointment ahead of time to chill on the hillside at Scribe Winery, right next door to GunBun. Even if you've been before, Scribe recently opened up their newly-renovated Hacienda, once a pre-Prohibition winery, for tastings.
(Courtesy of The Safeway Open)
Safeway Open Concert Series
If you're a golf fan, plan a Napa trip October 4-8 for the Safeway Open and watch Phil Mickelson and other PGA Tour golfers duel it out on the green. As a bonus, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday finish with an outdoor concert (free to pass holders) in front of the Silverado Resort & Spa's historic mansion. This year's competition brings the Goo Goo Dolls, Weezer and Gavin DeGraw to Wine Country, and like BottleRock, promises the best food and wine Napa Valley has to offer (but without the hefty price tag). Single day tickets $40, 5-day pass $100. // 1600 Atlas Peak Rd. (Napa), safewayopen.com
If you go: Try first snagging a room at the Silverado Resort & Spa. It's where all of the action takes place and you'll never even need an Uber. Otherwise, post up in downtown Napa at one of the many hotels, like the Andaz or Napa River Inn. You'll have your pick of dining, bars, and tasting rooms all within walking distance. Some of our favorites: Basalt, Brown Downtown, and Cadet Wine & Beer.
Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery
Start your Wine Country weekend at Sebastiani for their Friday Night Music Series, with tunes in their courtyard or stunning tasting room from a different local band or artist (Poyntlyss Sistars and T Luke and the Tight Suits, anyone?) each week. For the final night of the season, Sept. 29th, food trucks will roll into Sonoma for Sebastiani's famous Food Truck Friday. On the other weeks, you can choose from a selection of Italian sandos and salads, or pack your own picnic. This event is family and dog-friendly. Free admission, wine and food available for purchase. // Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery, 389 Fourth St. East (Sonoma), sebastiani.com
If you go: Settle into Sonoma for the weekend at the uber-charming MacArthur Place, just a mile from Sebastiani and a 10-minute stroll to the Sonoma Plaza. All within walking distance, you can grab lunch at The Girl & the Fig (we're obsessed with the Mano Formate BLT with pickled green tomatoes), sip bubbly from all over the world at Sigh, a classy bubble bar that just opened in a new location, and reserve a tasting at the country-chic Sojourn Cellars, best known for their stellar, single vineyard pinot noir.
(Courtesy of B.R. Cohn)
Take your Sunday Funday to B.R. Cohn where an afternoon of wine, oysters, and live music will take the edge off Monday's inevitable return. Founded by Doobie Brothers band manager Bruce Cohn, the winery has a reputation for producing great outdoor concerts under the olive trees planted on the estate's 90 beautiful acres. There are still a few weeks left in this year's lineup to groove to local musicians, shoot back fresh Tomales Bay oysters (served raw or barbecued), and wash them down with a glass of wine. The series culminates on Saturday, Sept. 30 with the 50th anniversary of their Summer of Love Celebration (groovy dress encouraged). Free admission, wine and oysters available for purchase. // B.R. Cohn: 15000 Sonoma Hwy. (Glen Ellen), brcohn.com
If you go: Make an early appointment at Hamel Family Wines, about a mile south of B.R. Cohn. You'll have a hard time deciding what you love more about this place: the gorgeous, modern architecture, stunning vineyard views, or the fantastic wine (the unique Isthmus blend is our favorite).
The oldest continuously operated, family-owned winery in the country has just one outdoor concert left in its annual summer series, which earlier this season featured throwback acts like Toto, Joan Jett, and Seal. The final performance on Sept. 19th is perfect for classic rock fans—titled "Rock Party Tour 2017," it's sure to be a nostalgic night of greatest hits performed by George Thorogood and the Destroyers. Tickets start at $89, but if you're willing to splurge, your evening can include a four-course meal from the Wente Vineyards Restaurant. // Wente Vineyards, 5050 Arroyo Rd. (Livermore), wentevineyards.comIf you go: The concert is on a Tuesday night, but if you can beat the traffic and get over to Livermore early, you should have time for dinner, a glass of local wine, and a game of bocce ball at Campo di Bocce.