Wine, Spas and Springs in Napa at Calistoga Ranch

It’s crush season in Napa. From now until the end of October, Northern California’s incomparable wine country will be even more bountiful than usual as wineries celebrate harvest season with music, events and much more.


The area is home to many amazing resorts and hotels but for a truly one-of-a-kind experience, I can’t recommend Calistoga Ranch highly enough. Built into a private canyon and comprising 48 freestanding guest lodges, it’s a hidden luxury retreat in the heart of the Napa Valley.


The town of Calistoga has a long history as a charmed destination. Its natural hot springs were a big draw to early settlers who gave the town its name by combining California with Saratoga, New York state’s famous hot springs destination.


The area’s first official spa was on the site of what is now Indian Springs. The original 1861 spa featured amenities that have since been converted into a state-of-the-art spa and resort with a naturally heated Olympic-sized mineral pool. Today, Indian Springs continues to draw guests from all over the world.


What makes the Calistoga Ranch such a standout is that it combines the rugged natural beauty of the area with sophisticated design. Its architects seem to have built luxury right into the landscape. Rather than cut down the exquisite, centuries-old trees which give shade to the canyon, they built the cabins around them. Some cabins have thick tree trunks sprouting up right through the middle of their floors. Indoor/outdoor fireplaces (each cabin has one) complete the seamless joining of the natural with the manmade. Other luxe amenities include Mercedes convertibles available for guests’ use and private outdoor Jacuzzis.


The “Wine Cave” at Calistoga Ranch


The property is home to a spa that does justice to a town that has long been associated with restorative cures. The Calistoga Cure includes a modern-take on the classic “taking of the waters,” including a therapeutic mineral salt body scrub, private outdoor mud or mineral salt bath and massage.


With harvest season in full swing, fall is a fantastic time to visit Napa. Here are some highlights to think about when planning your trip:


October 1: Smaller winery Elizabeth Spencer hosts its Harvest Celebration, featuring tastings and hors d’oeuvres in their beautiful courtyard.


October 9: Peju winery holds its Club Crush celebration, a tune-filled outdoor evening under the stars.


October 22: Join founding winemaker Della Viader and her family for an evening of barrel tasting “future vintages” and nibbles.


October 27: The well-known Cakebread winery will be reaching into its archives to pour flights of vintage Cabernet Sauvignons.


November 9-13: The Napa Valley Film Festival marks the end of the season; take part in tastings, special dinners and screenings.


And of course, there is much, much more going on, including concerts, cooking classes and wine dinners. Click here for a comprehensive list of 2011 Events.