How to Celebrate California Wine Month

A California winery
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This coming September, the annual harvest season for California’s many wineries will be entering into full swing. With 4,700 vintners and 5,900 growers, the state of California is the fourth largest producer of wine in the world. To celebrate the harvest and the state's rich history of winemaking, many California wineries will be hosting special events, festivals, concerts and tastings throughout the month. Festivities will be taking place all throughout the state; here are some ways to celebrate:

Graphic from Discover California Wines

North Coast

From September 1 to September 3, top winemakers, growers and chefs will be meeting up at Sonoma State University for the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, where attendants can sample a variety of California wines with regional food pairings. Later that week, from September 8 to September 10, wine enthusiasts can get hands-on harvesting experience at 12 boutique wineries for the Sonoma Valley Crush.

Also from September 8 to September 9, the 33rd annual Winesong festival will take place in the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Festival goers can sample various vintages from wineries in Mendocino, Sonoma, and Napa while listening to live musical groups playing jazz, classical, and blues.


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Up in Napa Valley on September 9, the Calistoga Wine Experience invites guests to taste wines from over 35 unique Calistoga wineries, and to meet the owners and winemakers alongside food pairings and live jazz.

On September 16, the Lake County Wine Auction gala will take place under the stars at Cache Creek Vineyard and Winery. After a tasting of food, local wine pairings and a gourmet farm-to-table meal, the live wine auction and dancing will take place—proceeds benefit local arts, health and community organizations.

San Francisco Bay & Santa Cruz Mountains

On September 3 of Labor Day Weekend, the exclusive Livermore Valley Harvest Wine Celebration will be open to ticketholders looking to start the crush season off right with a variety of food and wine pairings. Later that month on September 23, Livermore also hosts a live auction with prizes including wine vacations, private dinners and more. The event will benefit underserved children in the East Bay.

Also on September 23, Eat Drink Los Gatos welcomes restaurant food booths, live music and shopping on downtown Los Gatos to accompany tastings from over a dozen local wineries.

Central Coast: Monterey to Santa Barbara

The Highway 46 West Harvest Block Party takes place on September 2 at Dark Star Cellars; the mini wine festival is one of the more popular events on the Central Coast.

At Santa Barbara’s Taste of the Town at Riviera Gardens on September 10, chefs and winemakers join forces for an epicurean experience; proceeds also go to the Arthritis Foundation. Later that month—September 29—attendees can experience library wines, fall releases and small bites from local restaurants at The Taste of Santa Barbara Wine Country.

Also in the area, the Automotive Concourse at Monarch Dunes on September 24 is a free admission event providing free wine tastings of Central Coast Wines and a car show.

Inland Valleys

From September 14 to September 17, the Lodi Grape Festival celebrates its 80th anniversary, providing live music, activities for both families and kids and a Friday wine tasting of Lodi wines, all for the benefit of community and charitable projects.

Come September 15, guests 21 and over can join the Madera Wine Trail’s California Wine Month Celebration, which also has live music and local wine and food tastings.

Sierra Foothills

On the weekend of September 8, attendants of the Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival can try out cooking seminars and demonstrations, culinary competitions, wine tastings, a Farm-to-Tahoe dinner, live music and a gourmet marketplace.

In South Lake Tahoe, Sample the Sierra takes place on September 16. This festival celebrates local Sierra Nevada talent in its food, wine, spirits, produce and art offerings. The event also hosts the Sierra Chefs Challenge to see which local chef will claim the coveted Sierra Chef title.

Southern California

For the first three days of the month, Los Angeles Times’ The Taste will host five events with leading L.A chefs and wine tastings at the Paramount Pictures Studios backlot. Guests here can learn more about wine, the winemaking process and food during special seminars and live demos.

VINO-Palooza takes place on September 10 at The Marina Del Rey Hotel, providing complimentary tastings from more than 25 wineries.

At the end of the month, on September 30, over one hundred wines from thirty different Temecula Valley wineries will be paired with food from local restaurants and live music at CRUSH. Wine lovers here can purchase a SIP—a Temecula Style Passport—which can net them savings at up to 5 of the 19 participating wineries any weekday during the month of September.

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