Wine Country Elopement Guide

Say your vows amid incredible vineyard vistas,

enjoy fantastic wine and unwind at a luxury resort or rustic lodge.

Wine Country Elopement Guide


California’s Wine Country best known for its irresistible Cabernet Sauvignon and idyllic vistas that evoke charms of iconic vineyards of Italy and France. It is also screaming romance. It is usually teeming with visitors this time of year, but COVID-19 has sliced the numbers of tourists and newlyweds flocking there. However, you can have a wedding to remember even if it is just you and your favorite person plus a couple of friends. Many beautiful wineries and restaurants have re-opened now, but they are working with 25% capacity and with safety restrictions in place. All of them are open for outdoor service only, which leaves you plenty of options for a wedding amid the sprawling vineyards and dining under the stars.

Wedding venues in the Wine Country are now focusing on elopements and mini weddings. How to tie the knot during the COVID pandemic? As long as you follow physical distancing procedures, you can enjoy incredible views and fantastic wine. A combination of elopement and an online wedding is the most practical solution. You can host an intimate outdoor ceremony and invite your family and friends to attend the event via live stream.


If you don’t want to delay your wedding ceremony and reception for legal or other reasons, then you can do a COVID-safe elopement by following the new guidelines:      


  • Small gatherings only: call your venue to check what is the maximum number of guests who can attend your wedding (celebrant and photographer included).
  • Outdoor weddings only: the venues allow only small outdoor gatherings and have strict rules on hygiene and social distancing.         
  • Wine tastings by appointment: make sure to book a wine tasting experience before visiting a winery are not allowed at the designated ceremony locations.         
  • Hotels have their own health & safety protocols: familiarize yourself with the rules and restrictions before you book into a hotel; find out how to check-in online and ask which amenities you are allowed to use.         

For more information and COVID-19 updates, visit the website page of CaliforniaDepartment of Public Health and keep an eye on recommendations for visiting Napa and Sonoma here: https://www.visitnapavalley.com/coronavirus/ and https://www.sonoma.com/sonoma-county-businesses-who-is-open-and-closed/


Because it never snows in the Wine Country, any time of year is perfect for outdoor ceremonies and photoshoots. You can capture the most beautiful sunsets and natural landscapes in spring. The rolling vineyards are bright green plus there are carpets of flowers everywhere. The weather is super-pleasant in early spring, late summer and early autumn. Autumn weddings are very popular because the grapes are ripe and it is harvest time while the natural color palette ranges from vibrant orange to yellow and golden brown. Winter is the low season due to cold weather, but this doesn’t mean weddings can’t be very romantic. This is the time of year when you can bag the best prices and still enjoy an outdoor ceremony (with a warm jacket over your wedding dress)plus a cozy weekend of wine tasting, fine dining and unwinding at spas.

PRO TIP: the most popular months to elope in Napa or Sonoma are March to May and August to October.


An hour drive from San Francisco, Napa Valley and Sonoma County are two most famous wine regions where planning elopement is a no-brainer because there are so many gorgeous venues and dream-like photo backdrops. While Napa is renowned for its elegant estates and grandiose tasting rooms, Sonoma feels a tad more intimate and romantic. Due to coronavirus, however, you’ll have a more personalized experience at both destinations. The best elopement destinations in the Wine Country are small wineries, inns, boutique resorts and deluxe cottages adjacent to the vineyards. Here are some of my favorite shoot locations:

Castello di Amorosa reminiscences the beauty of Italy’s enchanting wine regions because the castle has been shipped from Tuscany and makes a centerpiece of Napa Valley.

Matanzas Creek Winery in Santa Rosa has endless fields of purple lavender blooms and oozes French countryside vibes.

Sterling Vineyards is perched on a hilltop above Calistoga and offers panoramic views of the sprawling green vineyards.

Caymus Vineyards provides postcard-like backdrops in autumn months with leaves dyed in vibrant shades of red, yellow and orange.

Ferrari-Carano Winery comprises five acres of gardens are boasting over 10,000 tulips and daffodils are flanked with waterfalls, fish ponds and beautiful bronzed sculptures.

Artesa Winery is perfect if you want to capture some of the best vistas of Napa Valley and make epic photos in front of intriguing water features and outdoor sculptures.

Armstrong Redwoods in Guerneville feels like a true fairytale with misty waterfalls surrounded by lush greenery and flowers.

Riverfront Regional Park is one of the favorite photoshoot locations in Sonoma County because of its beautiful river banks and pathways.

Taylor Mountain boasts ancient oak trees, open grasslands and never-ending pathways which make this location ideal for daytime and sunset photoshoots.

From January to March, the mustard fields all over Sonoma are covered with vibrant yellow blossoms which make a fantastic backdrop for your wedding photos.