Best Places to Spend New Year's
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Why Go: While winter is the slow season in northern California wine country, it makes for a more laid-back, less crowded holiday experience. On New Year’s Eve, many larger hotels and wineries offer their own wine-fueled parties in cellars and wine caves, including the Black and White Gala at Etoile at Domaine Chandon, a candlelit multicourse dinner in the Trinitas Cellars wine cave at the Meritage Resort, and a five-course dinner and masquerade ball in the Grand Barrel Room at Castello di Amorosa winery. The Napa Valley Wine Train hosts a Blackjack Ball in its restored Pullman cars as they make their way up and down the valley. For a more low-key celebration, make reservations at one of the area’s famed restaurants, such as Redd, Bottega, or Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc or Bouchon in Yountville, and then retreat to a luxury inn for a private midnight toast by the fire.
Where to Stay: In Sonoma, the Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa (marriott.com) offers an on-site restaurant and a free shuttle to the nearby Sonoma Plaza. Napa’s Hotel Yountville (hotelyountville.com) is an ultra-sexy oasis just steps from the dining options of charming Yountville, including the French Laundry.