Experience Harvest First Hand with Nearly 100 Events Around the State
SAN FRANCISCO — September is California Wine Month: an exciting time of year for wine lovers! With the grapes ready for harvest, the aroma of fermentation filling the air and nearly 100 great wine events to choose from, there’s never been a better time to visit California’s wine regions.
During California Wine Month, wineries and festivals across the state will extend a warm California welcome to wine-loving consumers, who can mingle with their favorite winemakers and get in on the harvest action themselves. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, California’s diverse winegrowing regions—encompassing more than 122 unique viticultural areas—offer plenty of ways to explore wine, from picking and crushing grapes to festivals, events, VIP tours, tastings and concerts.
This September marks the 10th consecutive year that California’s Governor has proclaimed September California Wine Month. “We appreciate the recognition of the wine industry’s contributions to our state’s economy, culture and lifestyle by Governor Brown,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute, which created California Wine Month a decade ago. “As the leading wine and food destination in the U.S., we look forward to sharing California’s excellent wines and innovative cuisine with both our neighbors at home and visitors from around the world.”
Following are just a few of the exciting events and activities in September. For a complete regional listing of the nearly 100 California winery events in September, click here.
Kick off the California Wine Month celebration on Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29–31, with the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, named one of the “10 Best Wine & Food Events in the U.S.” (Celebrated Living). 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, decadent days, you’ll experience Sonoma’s full bounty of flavors. Enjoy the Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch, as well as a wine auction, seminars, cooking demonstrations, vineyard tours and multiple winery parties. New this year, Starlight Sonoma reserve ticket holders can wine and dine in the newly completed West Tower of Francis Ford Coppola Winery. The events benefit more than 30 Sonoma County charities that help students, children, farm workers and people in need.
|Mendocino Winesong Tasting. Jim Birchard photo|
Up in redwood country, Mendocino’s 30th Annual Winesong 2014 Charity Auction & Tasting begins with the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Celebration on Sept. 5—a chance to mingle with winemakers and savor the offerings of 25 wineries paired with culinary delights, all overlooking the ocean at the Little River Inn. On Sept. 6 the Winesong Food & Wine Tasting offers guests a lush Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens setting paired with regional vintages, as well as 50 Mendocino County food purveyors and nine diverse music groups. That same day is the Winesong Charity Auction, featuring the chance to bid on incredible trips, wine, art and food—all benefiting local health services. This year guests can enjoy the new Art Salon, where attendees can mingle with the artists at the silent auction and ask questions about their work.
Lodi vintners and growers are excited to announce the launch of SIP SAVOR LODI—a premier, three-day harvest celebration held Sept. 26–28. The festivities include an alfresco Harvest Dinner downtown; Cellar Tours where you can enjoy barrel tasting, food pairings, live music, and special discounts; and a Grand Tasting finale at the beautiful Wine & Roses Hotel.
The Madera Vintners Association’s California Wine Month Tasting Reception on Sept. 12 will offer wine tasting from local wineries, food by a variety of local restaurants and live music. Guests will also have the opportunity to participate in the People’s Choice Award by voting for their favorite wine of the evening. Proceeds from this event benefit scholarships for Viticulture & Enology students.
Livermore and Santa Cruz
|Guests at the Livermore Valley harvest wine festival.|
A great kickoff event on Labor Day weekend is Livermore’s 34th Annual Harvest Wine Celebration, where wine lovers can take complimentary shuttle buses to more than 40 Livermore Valley wineries sharing their finest wines, and take in local music, art and food. For the first time the event will include a Sunset Sip and Shop event at the Livermore Premium Outlets.
In the Santa Cruz Mountains, the 32nd Annual Capitola Art and Wine Festival will bring together wineries, local restaurants, artists, crafts and music for a fun weekend Sept. 13-14—all just steps from the beach in Capitola.
In Paso Robles, get an early start to California Wine Month on Aug. 30 at the 46 West Wineries Harvest Block Party, a casual mini-wine festival with tastings from member wineries along with great food and music.
Step into the pages of Sunset magazine and savor the unique California Central Coast wine country lifestyle Sept. 25-28 at the 5th Annual Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast—one of the premier wine and food events in the West. This four-day wine and food immersion event takes place at the renowned Santa Margarita Ranch and throughout San Luis Obispo County and features celebrity chefs, winemaker seminars, a sunset dinner at Hearst Castle, more than 200 regional wine tastings and much more. The event boasts many new elements this year, including expanded adventure tours, new VIP hotel and ticket getaway packages, signings and workshops with California celebrity chefs Fabio Viviani and Tanya Holland.
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.
Those looking to enjoy Labor Day weekend in South Lake Tahoe will want to visit the 5th Annual Sample the Sierra Festival on Aug. 31, a farm-to-fork event celebrating the best art, wine and food of the Sierra Nevada. The festival pairs local farmers with chefs who produce delicious tastings, which are then paired with the appropriate regional wines. Other activities include farm tours, winemaker dinners, live entertainment and art—all culminating with a fireworks extravaganza over Lake Tahoe.
Over on the north side is the 29th Annual Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival Sept. 5-7, featuring grape stomps, wine and food pairings, celebrity chefs, wine seminars, cooking demos, the Blazing Pans Mountain Chef Cook-Off, a “winemaker for a day” immersion class, hikes, gourmet marketplace, culinary competition and grand tasting, farm-to-table dinner, winemaker dinners, Grand Tastings and live entertainment.
Headed for Gold Country? On Sept. 6, enjoy Nevada City Uncorked, a walk-about-town style festival that includes 20 different venues throughout downtown. This year’s theme is “farm-to-table from grapes to zucchini” and 18 wineries from Nevada and Placer Counties will be pairing up with local chefs and farmers for a delightful culinary experience.
At Paramount Pictures Studios on Labor Day Weekend August 29-31, wine lovers can experience the Los Angeles Times The Taste, where top wineries, restaurants and other purveyors share samplings of great wine and food.
|A Temecula Valley winemaker roundtable.|
Enjoy California wines at CRUSH: Temecula Valley Wine & Culinary Showcase, a multi-winery harvest festival with wine, food and live music on Sept.13. You can also purchase a
SIP, Temecula Style passport, which offers savings at your choice of four out of 30+ wineries anytime during the month of September. This year features a new VIP Winemakers Reception (Sept. 13) boasting some of the region’s renowned artisans and wines.
California Wine Month is supported by hotel, restaurant, retail, media and association partners in California, New York, throughout the U.S. and internationally including:
National: Safeway/VONs, Vino Volo, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Fleming’s Steakhouse, Marlow’s Tavern, Ocean Prime, Tavistock Restaurant Group, Giant Eagle Grocery Stores, Napa Technology and We Olive.
California: Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant (San Diego), Bella Mia Restaurant (San Jose), California Restaurant Association, Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar (Sonoma), Farmhouse Inn (Russian River Valley), Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant (San Francisco), Giordano Brothers (San Francisco), Hock Farm Craft & Provisions (Sacramento), Marina Kitchen (San Diego), Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill (Southern California) and Visit California (State Tourism Commission).
International: Cheers Wine Merchants (UK), Chester Beer & Wine (UK), DeFine Food & Wine (UK), hangingditch wine merchants (UK), Harper Wells Wine Merchants (UK), The Guildford Wine Company (UK), The Wine Shop (UK), Vino Wine Shops (UK) and Wassy’s (Japan).
Other U.S: PJ’s Coffee of El Dorado (AR), Wine House Lake Nona (FL), The Cork Boutique and Gifts (GA), Meritage Restaurant and Wine Bar (GA), The Winston-Salem Wine Market (NC), Buy Rite Wines & Liquor (NJ), Super Buy Rite Wines and Liquor (NJ), California Wine Merchants (NY), and Vinostrology Wine Lounge & Merchant (WA).
To learn more about California wine country, go to www.discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wine regions, wines and winery amenities to plan your trip. Additional wine and food trip ideas, from great restaurants to agritourism experiences, are also at Visit California’s Wine and Dine page.
Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the association of nearly 1,000 California wineries and wine-related businesses that initiate and advocate state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. For information, see www.wineinstitute.org.
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