Vintner's Holidays Basics:
- The Vintner's Holidays are held annually, early November through early December at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park (but not during Thanksgiving1 weekend)
- Each session features four to five wineries. Admission includes a Meet the Vintners reception, afternoon wine-tasting sessions with the general managers and wine makers of each winery and a Gala Vintners' Dinner.
- Sessions run Sunday through Tuesday or Wednesday through Thursday. Two- and three-night packages include lodging at the Ahwahnee or Yosemite Lodge.
- Yosemite Vintner's Holidays website
Yosemite Vintner's Holidays Venue:
The Vintner's Holidays are held in Yosemite's Ahwahnee Hotel. Wine tasting sessions are set up in a large public space and the dinner is held in the dining room.
Crowd Factor at the Vintner's Holidays:
Vintners Holidays are popular, but you can find space in many sessions even on short notice.
Tips for Enjoying the Vintners' Holidays:
- Drink a lot of water. The altitude dehydrates you more than at sea level.
- You'll have free time in the mornings. Bring warm clothing if you want to explore outdoors or bring a book to read by the fireplace.
- Stay at the Ahwahnee Hotel if you can. The gala dinner includes much wine and it's nice if your room is close.
Likes and Dislikes:
There's little to dislike about a couple of days spent in beautiful surroundings, tasting excellent wine and eating great food.
We rate the Vintner's Holidays 4 stars out of 5 for the excellent opportunity to meet winemakers and sample wines that might be hard to find elsewhere.
Vintner's Holidays Reservations:
The Vintner's Holidays website has information about how make your reservations.
1 Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
Vintner's Holidays activities include one wine-tasting session for each winery, each about an hour long. At each session, the wine maker or winery owner describes their wine-making philosophy and gives insights into the wines you'll taste.
During the session we attended, we sampled wines not yet released to the public, some in very limited production and one which some call an urban myth. By far the highlight was a two-way "flight" of Ravenswood Zinfandel wines from four vineyards, some of them new vintages and others over 15 years old, provided from owner Joel Peterson's personal collection.
In the mornings, you'll have time on your own. You'll also attend a reception where you can meet the winemakers if you like. However, the culmination of the event is the Gala Dinner. Each course is created to complement a wine from one of the participating wineries, a task Ahwahnee executive chef Percy Whatley excels at. The Ahwahnee dining room makes a beautiful backdrop for the occasion.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary admission for the purpose of reviewing this event. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.