IF WE WERE TO BE PERFECTLY HONEST... and we rather want to be, we'd call it "California Wine Month" every month, thanks to our state's robust and complex wine industry. (In fact, one can really describe our wine industry in the way one can describe an excellent glass of wine.) But September is special in the Land o' Grapevines, because that's the heart of harvest. The bustle and hustle heat up at vineyards, the production cranks into higher gear, and oenophiles? Well, they're not left out of the action. Wine fans are very much included in the forward-march of the wine industry's September, so much so that September is the official Wine Month for our state. Nope, this is not simply a clever marketing ploy to get wine lovers to purchase an extra bottle or two. It's a real party, in dozens of ways, at dozens of destinations, so all the fan needs to do is find the winery they like, or one close by they need to know better, and land on something lively to do, from Sept. 1 through 30.
LIKE..? Well, no lie: The list is lengthy. But a quick pick-and-choose reveals a truckload of tasty stuff, from the big-scale Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, which starts things off in that partic region over Labor Day Weekend, to a Grand Tasting in Lodi near the end of the month, on Sept. 28. And in-between? Too much too much (which means just enough): A dog rescue fundraiser at Big White House & John Evans Winery in Livermore, a Fall Wine Walk in Los Gatos, a Barn Bash in Rutherford, some 10th anniversary celebrations for the film "Sideways" (including parties in Solvang and Lompoc), concerts, and grape stomps. So. Many. Grape. Stomps.
WHERE TO BEGIN? Probably in your own neck of the state, though if you've been wanting to take in a new wine-y area, from Santa Ynez to the Russian River Valley, September is just about the ideal time to do it, if you like action, sparkle, and go. Here's your list of Wine Month happenings, go-and-doers.