Forget Champagne at midnight—this New Year’s is all about vino in the vineyard.
Ready to make a toast to 2016? For wine lovers, there’s no better setting than a winery. These eight estates are offering New Year’s events specifically tailored to wine lovers in the United States. Whether you spend the evening wining and dining at one of Napa’s toniest tasting rooms or fill up on (lucky) black-eyed pea dishes on the historic grounds of a Texas Hill Country vineyard, these New Year’s celebrations will make you want to paint the town red (or white).
Long Meadow Ranch Winery & Farmstead, St. Helena, California
Wine lovers can ring in the New Year on Tuesday, December 31 with a special, multicourse farm-to-table wine dinner at Long Meadow Ranch in Napa—there will be plenty of vino, cocktails, the Ranch’s own Cabernet Sauvignon grappa and live music, along with a prix-fixe menu of wine-friendly dishes created by Executive Chef Stephen Barber, like Dungeness crab salad with celery root and shaved fennel and Long Meadow Ranch’s own grass-fed beef filet served with Matsutake mushrooms. Tickets are $85 per person (includes wine pairings).
William Chris Vineyards, Hye, Texas
In the South, eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is supposed to ensure a prosperous year ahead—and the folks in Texas are quick to follow tradition. That’s why William Chris Vineyards’ two black-eyed pea-centric contests are a Hill Country hit: Taking place on New Year’s Day at the historic vineyard, one contest caters to the cooks (the winner gets a $300 cash prize), the other to the competitive eater (who earns a bottle of wine and bragging rights). The winery’s tasting rooms (including inside the 100-year-old farmhouse) are open during the contests, with live music by Jim Thomas. Tickets are $40 to compete in the black-eyed pea cook off, $10 to taste wines at the event.
Robert Hall Winery, Paso Robles, California
Fans of AMC’s Mad Men will love the throwback celebrations at Robert Hall Winery this New Year’s Eve. The Four Seasons Event includes appetizers, estate wines and Champagne in the cavern, a four-course meal in the Meritage Room, followed by live music and dancing to a DJ as the clock strikes midnight. For the Stork Club Event, guests can nibble on sweet and savory appetizers with vintage appeal (think mini baked Alaskas and upside-down pineapple cakes) with wine and Champagne along with live music in the cavern. Tickets are $155 per person for the Four Seasons Event and $60 per person for the Stork Club Event.
CrossKeys Vineyard, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Boasting stunning, 360-degree views of the mountains in Virginia’s lush Shenandoah Valley, this Tuscan-style winery is the perfect setting for an upscale New Year’s Eve. The winery is hosting a glamorous, roaring ’20s-inspired event to usher in 2014, complete with music by Affirmative Groove, a dinner buffet stocked with luxurious eats (like a cold seafood bar including crab legs and lobster salad), and one bottle of wine per couple. Tickets are $240 per couple.
Domaine Chandon, Napa, California
Known for its sparkling wines, and touting the only fine-dining on-site winery restaurant in Napa, it seems only natural that Domaine Chandon would host the penultimate New Year’s Eve celebration at Étoile Restaurant. The Black and White Gala will offer wine lovers a rich five-course menu matched with sparkling and still wines (pairings include ballotine of Liberty Farms Duck with pumpkin, Brussels sprouts and poached quince, served with Domaine Chandon’s 2011 Pinot Meunier) and music by the Blue Moon Band in the Tasting Lounge. At midnight, guests will ring in the New Year with a bubbly toast—party favours and formal portraits will also be provided. Tickets are $300 per person.
Potomac Point Winery, Stafford, Virginia
Located near Fredericksburg, this scenic winery—a favorite location for Virginia weddings—will throw a Great Gatsby-themed bash filled with award-winning wines, gourmet food and live jazz. At 7 pm, revelers will begin the evening by enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a buffet dinner accompanied by music from the Doug Gately Jazz Band. Guests can sate their sweet teeth at the dessert bar, while coffee and tea service and a sparkling wine toast will be provided at midnight. Tickets are $109 per person.
Napa Valley Wine Train, Napa, California
Instead of spending New Year’s Eve at one winery, consider cruising by several: Partygoers can sail through California wine country with a glass of sparkling wine in hand on the Napa Valley Wine Train for its Blackjack Ball. Say goodbye to 2013 at the station with a caviar and sparkling wine reception, then hop aboard for a night with a Monaco-inspired theme. Executive Chef Kelly Macdonald will prepare wine-friendly multicourse gourmet meals to order in the kitchen car (like pan-seared quail in brown butter with black truffles) during the twilight ride, followed by casino games, dancing to a live DJ, a midnight toast with Chandon Brut Classic and a photo booth back at the Napa Valley Wine Train Station for the after party. Tickets are $240 per person.
Biltmore Winery, Asheville, North Carolina
New Year’s Eve without sparkling wine wouldn’t feel like much of a party—and while the Biltmore Bubbles Tour at Biltmore Winery is just 45 minutes long, it’s a great way to bring on the bubbly before heading out this New Year’s Eve. The ornate property has roots that go back to the Vanderbilt era (William Cecil, George Vanderbilt’s grandson, planted his first vines at Biltmore Estate in the 1970s), making it the ideal setting to start off a glitzy night. Guests will tour the bottling room, learn about the process of sparkling wine production, and taste all six of Biltmore’s bubbly. Tickets are $18.
BY ALEXIS KORMAN