SEPTEMBER IS CALIFORNIA WINE MONTH... which means that cities and towns and central squares and plazas will be setting up the tables and booths and tasting stations and inviting locals and visitors to get to know the regional winemakers. Basically an oenophile, and a just-starting-out oenophile, has her pick of places to deep dive into the wine scene come the ninth month of the year, so finding a fine setting, one that is especially beautiful when early fall starts to show itself, is paramount. We'll say, with a whole bundle of confidence, that Lake Tahoe qualifies in the "especially beautiful" department come September, which is just about the moment when mornings take on a crisp quality and the light around 5 p.m. starts to seem more diffused, as if cast through glass. To visit, then, and sip new wine, and try fresh bites, and soak in the scene before the snowflakes fall is a treat, and one that's made more cuisinely convenient by the Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival.
THE GOODIES GO GOURMET... the weekend after Labor Day Weekend, which means that the resort destinations have officially taken off their busy clothes. Oh, the lake still bustles into mid-September, for sure, but not like the top of summer, or a summer holiday weekend. The three-day party brings the noms at Northstar, though several food-focused happenings will be happening nearby. Highlights on the roster include a Village Wine Walk and Brew Walk, a hike-happy Progressive Picnic at Northstar Mountain, a mozzarella-making demo (you'll be in there, with the cheese, learning and doing), and a marketplace, though cocktail demos and farm-to-table dinners and such are also most excellent additions. Where to start? Well, by choosing what you'll do. How to leave a little time in your schedule, to stand in that crisp mountain air, the kind that belongs solely to September, and take in a little diffused sunshine? That's up to you to not over-pack your must-do list. After all, all of September is California Wine Month, so you'll have more time and more places to connect with cuisine, cabernets, and the people who make both.
THE LAKE TAHOE AUTUMN FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL... cooks/pours it up from Sept. 11 through 13.