September is California Wine Month and an early harvest has already begun. Why not get in on the action yourself? With 122 unique viticultural areas up and down and all around the state, you won’t have far to go to reach a gorgeous vineyard and discover a new favorite region and its local wines. Picking, crushing and — best of all — tasting festivals, events, VIP tours and concerts are in full swing in September. The grapes won’t mind too much if everyone takes a moment’s break to celebrate. Here are 10 of the 100-plus wine-centric happenings in various getaway locations.
1. Three full days during Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 4-6, 2015 is the annual Sonoma Wine Country Weekend at MacMurray Ranch, named one of the “10 Best Wine & Food Events in the U.S.” by Celebrated Living. White tents are sprawled across a big field where over 200 of Sonoma’s top winemakers and growers join along with a collection of the area’s best chefs. The demonstration stage is a hub of activity, while folks mill about enjoying paella with IPA beer and heirloom tomatoes with sips of bubbly.
2. Mendocino’s Annual Winesong 2015 Charity Auction & Tasting begins with the Pinot Noir Celebration in partnership with Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association on Sept. 11, 2015. Meet 25 winemakers while enjoying culinary treats in a lovely setting overlooking the ocean at the Little River Inn. The following day, the action shifts to Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, when the Winesong Food & Wine Tasting offers guests a tasting event with 100 wineries and 50 restaurants. Original California artworks are auctioned as well as international trips and wine country getaways to support the Mendocino Coast District Hospital.
3. Sip Savor Lodi is a fun, three-day harvest celebration on Sept. 25-27, 2015 to showcase the region’s boutique wineries, unique varietal wines and local farm-to-fork restaurants. It’s quite a sight when the length of Pine Street is taken over by a long table as everybody gathers in the historic downtown for an al fresco Harvest Dinner on Friday evening. At Saturday’s Grand Tasting, get ready for some surprise and delight as Lodi vintners pour everything from Albariño to Zinfandel to accompany savory and sweet bites from the region’s best restaurants and food purveyors. Sunday is for cellar tours in intimate groups to visit with participating winemakers.
4. The Madera Vintners Association’s celebration on Sept. 18, 2015 features an evening of wine tasting, food live music at Toca Madera Winery. The occasion marks special awards for wine industry professionals while guests select the People’s Choice Award by voting for their favorite wine of the evening. Proceeds from this event benefit the Community Food Bank. The Madera Wine Trail is between Fresno and Merced.
Livermore and Santa Cruz Area
5. Celebrate the crush. Livermore Valley’s 40-plus vintners get together to throw parties at wineries throughout Livermore for the 34th Annual Harvest Wine Celebration throughout the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015 to share their best wines, music, art and food.
6. Right beside the beach at Monterey Bay, the 33rd Annual Capitola Art and Wine Festival has 23 wineries, 160 artists, food, crafts and music for a fun weekend Sept. 12-13, 2015. A Kid’s Art Area offers ongoing craft projects while festival-goers enjoy blues, jazz, rock, soul and a marching band.
7. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into the pages of a magazine at Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast, the sixth annual wine country lifestyle event on Sept. 24-27, 2015. Four days of wine and food experiences are on the robust program at one of the West’s premier events. Meet celebrity chefs and wine experts, join adventure tours throughout San Luis Obispo County, attend winemaker seminars, choose from among more than 200 regional wine tastings and attend a new opening night event, “Strings at Sunset” at the Vina Robles Amphitheatre. The renowned Santa Margarita Ranch is the center of all the activity.
8. Santa Barbara’s Santa Ynez Valley Wine Month Sept. 1-30, 2015 focuses on happenings in the storybook wine towns of Buellton, Ballard, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang. Various wineries are throwing fun events, classes, winemaker dinners, tastings and special wine and hotel packages so visitors can discover the Santa Ynez Valley and its great wines.
9. For 30 years, the annual Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival has been circled in red on everybody’s calendars in North Lake Tahoe. A full schedule is in place for Sept. 11-13, 2015, with wine and food pairings, celebrity chefs, wine seminars, cooking demos, Farm to Tahoe Dinner, the Blazing Pans Mountain Chef Cook-Off, a kids cook-off, a “winemaker for a day” immersion class, hikes, a gourmet marketplace, a culinary competition and grand tasting, winemaker dinners and live entertainment.
10. This region joins in the California harvest wine party at CRUSH: Temecula Valley Wine & Culinary Showcase. The Sept. 19, 2015 festival features 100-plus wines from over 30 Temecula Valley wineries, paired with food from local restaurants and farms. Live music is part of the vibe. Wine lovers can save as they sip with the purchase of a passport at local wineries anytime throughout September.
About Wine Institute: Are you a California wine expert? To learn more about California wine country, go to www.discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wine regions and their varietals to plan a visit to any California wine region. 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.