The FINANCIAL — September is the height of harvest season when a wine lover’s thoughts turn to all things wine. California Wine Month is a great way to celebrate with more than 50 amazing events and immersion experiences—from wine festivals and winemaking classes to winemaker dinners, VIP tastings and tours happening around the state, according to Wine Institute.
This September marks the 11th consecutive year that California’s Governor has proclaimed California Wine Month, honoring America’s largest wine producing state. “We appreciate Governor Brown recognizing the contributions of vintners and growers to our state’s economy, culture and lifestyle,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute. “Whether you’re a novice or an expert, California’s diverse winegrowing regions offer plenty of activities in America’s leading wine destination.”
Event highlights include:
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, Sept. 4-6 over Labor Day weekend, has been named one of the “10 Best Wine & Food Events in the U.S.” As Sonoma County’s largest charity event, it brings together over 200 of Sonoma’s top winemakers and growers, along with a collection of the area’s best chefs. For three delicious days, guests can enjoy the Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch, as well as a wine auction, seminars, cooking demonstrations, vineyard tours and multiple winery parties.
Up in redwood country, Mendocino’s Annual Winesong Charity Auction & Tasting begins with the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Celebration on Sept. 11. Mingle with winemakers and savor the offerings of 25 wineries paired with culinary delights, overlooking the ocean at Little River Inn. On Sept. 12 the Winesong Food & Wine Tasting offers guests the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens setting paired with regional vintages, 50 Mendocino County food purveyors and nine diverse music groups. That same day is the Winesong Charity Auction, featuring bidding on incredible trips, wine, art and food—benefitting local health services.
Finish out the month at the 2015 Sonoma Valley Crush Sept. 25-27, where wine lovers can get their grape on. For three days wineries will be offering a variety of harvest activities including grape sampling in the vineyards, crush pad tours, samples of just-pressed juice and grapes picked fresh off the vine. Guests can sip wine while it’s fermenting and chat with artisan winemakers about harvest.
Napa Valley boasts many fantastic events and immersion experiences, from barn bashes and winemaker tours to harvest balls. An intense immersion experience is the Trefethen Harvest Boot Camp on Sept. 26, where guests can spend the morning “working” in the vineyard followed by an al fresco lunch under the canopy of an ancient walnut tree.
Lodi vintners and growers will host SIP SAVOR LODI—a three-day harvest celebration held Sept. 25-27, showcasing the region’s agricultural bounty through its boutique wineries, varietal wines and local farm-to-fork restaurants. Festivities kick off on Sept. 25 with an alfresco Harvest Dinner in historic downtown Lodi with some of the region’s finest wines. Guests will return to downtown Lodi for a Grand Tasting on Sept. 26, highlighting Lodi’s wines alongside savory bites from the region’s restaurants and artisan vendors. The weekend culminates with Cellar Tours on Sept. 27 where guests can visit vintners in their cellars.
The Madera Vintners Association’s California Wine Month Celebration on Sept. 18 will offer wine tasting from local wineries, food by a variety of local restaurants and live music. The association will be announcing special awards for wine industry professionals, and guests will have the opportunity in the People’s Choice Award to vote for their favorite wine of the evening. Proceeds benefit the Community Food Bank.
San Francisco Bay Area
A great kickoff event on Labor Day weekend is Livermore Valley’s 34th Annual Harvest Wine Celebration on Sept. 6, where you can visit more than 40 Livermore Valley wineries sharing their finest wines and take in local music, art and food.
In the Santa Cruz Mountains, the 33rd Annual Capitola Art and Wine Festival brings together 23 wineries, local restaurants, 160 artists, crafts and music for a fun weekend Sept. 12-13 near the beach in Capitola. A Kid’s Art Area offers ongoing craft projects while local dance, music and performing arts groups and street performers perform all weekend.
South Central Coast
Santa Barbara’s Santa Ynez Valley Wine Month Sept. 1-30 features various wineries offering fun events, classes, winemaker dinners, tastings and special wine and hotel packages in the towns of Buellton, Ballard, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and Solvang. Another delicious bet is Taste of the Town Santa Barbara on Sept. 13, with tastings from 80 of the finest local restaurants and Central Coast wineries at the beautiful Riviera Park Gardens.
Step into the pages of Sunset magazine and experience the 6th Annual Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast on Sept. 24-27, one of the premier wine and food events in the West. This four-day wine and food extravaganza takes place at the renowned Santa Margarita Ranch and throughout San Luis Obispo County. Enjoy celebrity chefs, winemaker seminars, more than 200 regional wine tastings, adventure tours and attend a new opening night event, Strings at Sunset at the Vina Robles Amphitheatre.
In South Lake Tahoe, Sample the Sierra on Sept. 6 is the area’s only farm-to-fork festival, giving guests the chance to taste the creations of Sierra Nevada talent—from food, wine and spirits to fresh produce and art. Each dish is prepared with local ingredients and then paired with a complimentary drink to create a unique local experience.
The 30th Annual Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival on Sept. 11-13 offers wine and food pairings, celebrity chefs, wine seminars, cooking demos, Farm-to-Tahoe Dinner, the Blazing Pans Mountain Chef Cook-Off, kids cook-off, a “winemaker for a day” immersion class, hikes, gourmet marketplace, culinary competition and grand tasting, winemaker dinners and live entertainment.
At The Los Angeles Times’ The Taste, wine and food are the stars Sept. 4-6. Celebrate Southern California’s vibrant culinary scene at Paramount Studio’s iconic backlot, presenting five events with leading chefs and restaurants in L.A. and unlimited tastings. Guests can learn more about wine and food during special seminars and live demos.
Enjoy California wines at CRUSH: Temecula Valley Wine & Culinary Showcase, a Sept. 19 harvest festival featuring 100-plus wines from over 30 Temecula Valley wineries, paired with food from local restaurants and farms, and live music. Wine lovers can purchase a SIP Temecula Passport, offering savings at four out of 30-plus wineries anytime during the month of September.
California Wine Month Partners
California Wine Month is supported by restaurant, retail, hotel, media and association partners in California, New York, throughout the U.S. and internationally including:
National: California Pizza Kitchen, Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Ocean Prime, Safeway and Tavistock Restaurant Collection.
California: Albertsons, California Restaurant Association, Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar (Sonoma), Farmhouse Inn (Russian River Valley), Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant (San Francisco), Giordano Brothers (San Francisco), Inn on Randolph, Pavilions, San Francisco Wine School, Vallarta Supermarkets, Visit California (State Tourism Commission) and VONs.
Georgia: Savannah Wine Cellar.
Montana: Montana Restaurant Association, Montana Retail Association and Glacier Restaurant Group (MacKenzie River Pizza).
New York: Acme Wines & Spirits, Astor Wine & Spirits, Back Label Wine Merchants, Bed-Vyne Wine, Bottlerocket Wine and Spirit, California Wine Merchants, Eastside Cellars, Flatiron Wines & Spirits, Frankly Wines, Honor Wines, Smith & Vine, Square Wine, Vinyl Wine and Waterfront Wines & Spirits.
International: Caviste Independent Wine Merchant, Field & Fawcett, The Oxford Wine Company, Talking Wines, The Sampler Wine Merchant, Tom l’Anson Wines, Vino Vero and The Wine Reserve.