The first signs of spring come early in California’s Napa Valley. From late January through March, wild mustard flowers bloom, blanketing the rolling hills of the vineyards with bright yellow flowers —and the peak time to see them is right now in February.
While visitors are bound to encounter the pops of color throughout the region, Visit Napa Valley has curated a map with the most Instagram-worthy spots, stretching from Calistoga to American Canyon. Among the locations are Calistoga’s Oat Hill Mine Trailhead, Oakville’s Oakville Grade Road, Yountville’s Washington Street, and Napa’s Orchard Avenue and Dry Creek Road. Parts of the Silverado Trail parallel to Yountville also offer spectacular views.
Also on the map are plenty of wineries where the vineyards explode with color, like Bennett Lane Winery in Calistoga; Charles Krug Winery, Quintessa, and Beringer Winery in St. Helena; Frog’s Leap Winery and Round Pond Estate Winery in Rutherford; Opus One Winery and Far Niente Winery in Oakville; and Kelleher Family Vineyard, Baldacci Family Vineyards, Regusci Vineyards, Laird Family Estate, and Corley Family’s Monticello Vineyards in Napa.
For a more leisurely mustard flower immersion, the Napa Valley Wine Train also offers views of the bright yellow flowers as it winds through wine country’s vineyards from downtown Napa to St. Helena and back on a 36-mile, three-hour round-trip ride. There’s also a Napa Valley Mustard Celebration kick-off event at Napa’s Jessel Gallery and Bougetz Cellars on Feb. 19 and 20.
Why is the wine region carpeted with these blooms? “Mustard is planted between vineyard rows as a cover crop to protect the soil and replenish it with nutrients, while also attracting beneficial insects, preventing erosion, and warding off grapevine pests,” Visit Napa Valley explains on its site.
On top of that, if you visit now and share your photos, there’s a chance you could win a return trip. Visit Napa Valley is awarding one person who shares their photos on social media with the hashtag #WildMustardDaysContest (or uploads it to the site here) a two-night stay for two at Carneros Resort & Spa, plus a Laces & Limos vineyard tour and $200 gift card to Mustard’s Grill.