When all is done, you’ll have a greater appreciation for the tremendous work it takes to make that beautiful wine you’re sipping. But you’ll also have an insider’s peek into the true fun and joy that goes into it, too. Check out a few of our favorite late September, early October events.
It’s quintessential Sonoma County, dining right in the middle of the vineyards, under the stars, surrounded by flowers and organic vegetables in the Quivira garden. Be an indulgent locavore with these Dry Creek Valley Estate dinners, where you can see the grapes in full ripening mode, ask the winemaker his secrets of the trade, and visit with farm manager Jim Barausky for how the goodies were grown and raised for the four-course wine paired dinners. New this year: meals are prepared by top restaurants including Calavera, Madera, and AQ.
Cost: Get tickets by calling 707-431-8333.
Details: September 18, 2016, 4900 W. Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, 707-431-8354
Sonoma Valley Crush
Experience harvest, hands-on, as you enjoy a one-of-a-kind, behind-the-scenes look at every aspect from picking grapes, to crush, to fermentation. Interactive fun at 15 wineries across Kenwood and Glen Ellen includes grape sampling in the vineyards, crush pad tours, and tasting fresh pressed juices like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cost for a Crush Wine Tasting Pass is $35 ($45 at the door)
Details: Pass gives you full access to harvest activities and wine tastings from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m, Sept. 16-18, 2016.
20th Annual Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival
Tomatoes ripen at about the same time as grapes. So Kendall-Jackson celebrates both fruits, with wonderful harvests. Plan to spend the entire day at the Kendall-Jackson Wine Center for an extravaganza showcasing more than 175 heirloom tomato varieties in a flurry of exotic names like Blue Fruit and Peace Vine, alongside tomato-inspired recipes from some 50 notable chefs plus wine samples of all kinds, drawing from Kendall-Jackson’s expansive collections including Vintner’s Reserve, Avant, Stature, Jackson Estate, and Grand Reserve.
Details: Sept. 24, 2016, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 5007 Fulton Road, Santa Rosa, 800-769-3649
42nd Annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair
This annual event brings so much more than just showcasing award-wining wine and beautiful food. Newer attractions include educational demonstrations, a cooking competition, expanded interactive tastings, and a sharpened focus on local and artisanal products. The highlight remains the Grand Tasting, with three days of sampling from 150+ wineries, including the opportunity to purchase bottles at a Fair-direct discount. Don’t miss the marketplace tasting seminars where you can learn about farming wine grapes, winemaking, and wine appreciation, directly from the winery owners and winemakers. Also new: the World Championship Grape Stompruns three days, instead of two, offering even more opportunity for messy fun and great prizes like $1,500 cash.