It’s just a little (Sonoma County harvest) crush!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Harvest time in Sonoma County, also known as “crush,” means lots of reasons to drink wine. I mean, I don’t need a reason. But in case you do, there are plenty of events, festivals, wine weekends paying homage to the grape harvest. Not only are the grapes begging to be picked and pressed, but the vines also explode into a rainbow to rival any technicolor dreamcoat out there. Here are the Sonoma County events I’m looking forward to the most this harvest season.
The first harvest party on my radar is happening this weekend. On August 19th from 2-5pm at the Heir of My Dream Winery in Sonoma, check out the 7th Annual Mexican American Vintners Association party. It is a celebration of the Mexican American community’s contribution to the wine industry. Tacos, mariachi music, limited production wines – this is sure to be a unique wine country experience. Presale tickets are $75; $100 at the door.
Are you spending Labor Day Weekend in wine country? Great choice. On September 1, 2, and 3, 2017 head to the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University for a weekend full of wine and food tastings, pairings, seminars and demonstrations at Taste of Sonoma. They’re holding winemaker meals on Friday and Sunday. You can attend lunches, dinners and BBQs with local wineries teaming up with incredible chefs and local restaurants. A pairing not to miss is Davis Family Vineyards and Zazu Kitchen + Farm lunch on Friday – who doesn’t want to drink hard-to-find varietals and eat food from a restaurant that has been putting well-made pork products on everything before this whole “wrap it bacon” craze ever started. Get your tickets ($85 – $225) here, but be sure to use a Visa Signature card if you have one – you get some perks and discounts!
From September 8 – 10, 2017, 12 boutique wineries along Highway 12 in Sonoma Valley offer a harvest experience unlike any other. You’ll try freshly picked grapes, newly pressed juice, check out the crush pads, and meet the winemakers responsible for our obsession with the nectar of the gods. If you want to learn more about the wines you like to drink, this is a great tasting event. One day tickets are $35 advance; $45 at the door while two-day tickets are $50 advance and $55 at the door – click here for tix.
For the last 119 years, yes – since 1897, the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival has been celebrating Sonoma’s culture. 2017 is no different; the non-profit festival will take place in the Sonoma Plaza on September 22 – 24. The Vintage Festival includes a costume gala, a market place, live music, a fire department water fight, a parade; the list really goes on. The gala requires a$125 ticket, but so much of the entertainment and fun is free. You can picnic, grab a bottle of wine and revel Sonoma’s rich heritage.
October 6-8, 2017 brings the Sonoma County Harvest Fair – a 43-year old tradition of showcasing Sonoma County’s farmers, ranchers, vintners and producers. The most unique part of the fair is the World Champion Grape Stomp Competition where teams from all over compete to see who can stomp the most juice for bragging rights and some cash. It’s a fun event to watch (or stomp!) as
everyone dresses up and does some friendly trash talking. For folks wanting to booze it up, you know who you are and you’re probably my friends, there is a tasting pavilion just for you. The pavilion consists of rows and rows of wineries, a couple cider houses and breweries. Plus there are plenty of local caterers and restaurants offering bites of their best dishes. Last year, my friend and I tasted more treats than we could keep track of. We got rides home with blown out palettes, so you know it was a good time. As a kid, I took field trips to the Harvest Fair in school. Those memories are some of the first experiences that helped me realize what a special place Sonoma County really is.