California Wine Month: Flavorful Festivals

Vino-ologists: Start planning a September full of winery visits, vineyard tours, cool happenings...

HARVEST, as a concept, can play out in many tantalizing ways, but one of the best-known involves the process that begins in the vineyards. September is a packed month for many wineries around the Golden State, but that doesn't mean that winemakers won't make time to celebrate a long-standing tradition, one that's set to return again in just a few weeks: California Wine Month. Like California Restaurant Month, which happens in January, California Wine Month is all about numerous special events at a variety of vine-rich, chard-tastic, foodie-minded spots in several wine countries, up and down the state. A host of vintners are participating, so finding what you'd like to do, and try, and sample, and jump into is as easy as looking at the schedule. Well, that's the easy first step, more accurately; you'll then need to find your way to the winery, and area, of your choice, all to savor the most wine-lovely stretch on the calendar.

SONOMA WINE COUNTRY WEEKEND... starts it all off, over Labor Day Weekend, with Taste of Sonoma, winemaker lunches and dinners, and lots more. Other intriguing events, and there are many, include the Livermore Valley Harvest Wine Celebration on Sunday, Sept. 3, Taste of the Town in Santa Barbara on Sunday, Sept. 10, Lodi Grape Festival from Sept. 14 through 17, and An Italian Wine Tasting in Ramona on the 23rd of the month. The revelry goes right through to the close of September, with happenings like Temecula Valley Crush rounding it all out on Sept. 30. Do it all? Probably can't be done, in one year, in one swing, but toodling into your nearest wine-amazing area to see what's bubbling up could be a possibility. Jumpstart your dream here, and plot your course, and your designated driver, and your overnight stays, and how you'll raise something grapely to a very good month.

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