Harvest Activities in Sonoma County
Autumn is a magical time in Sonoma Wine Country - the culmination of the year-long growing process. The vineyards turn from green to gold to red, providing fall foliage that rivals New England. Fall means the days are mild to hot, but cool nights prevail. Winegrapes are harvested, crushed (more of a gentle press), and loaded into tanks to start the fermentation process.
If you’ve ever visited Sonoma County while the harvest season is in full swing, you know that the air is alive with the electric pulse of myriad hands picking grapes, crushpads wet with the sticky juice of newly pressed varieties, and the heady scent of new barrels and pomace permeating the air.
To experience a bit of this harvest buzz for yourself, consider joining a Sonoma County wine club or two. Club membership often includes special harvest tours of a winery's production facility and/or its estate vineyards, and you might even get the opportunity to handpick grapes on a perfect autumn morning, sun glowing overhead, with the sweet fragrance of ripening grapes lingering in the air.
Harvest Tours & Tastings
To truly immerse yourself in the beauty and complexity of Sonoma Wine Country in autumn, consider the Sonoma County Vineyard Adventures program, offering free, self-guided vineyard tours at Sonoma County wineries. Learn about sustainable grape-growing practices, what goes on in a vineyard during the year, and other interesting tidbits of information.
The vineyard tours are short in length — not more than a mile — and are created for all ages to enjoy. After the walks, you can taste wines from the vineyards. There is no charge for the vineyard tour, but each winery will charge tasting fees.
For a little bit more adventure, take a vineyard hike with a winemaker at West Wines on select Saturdays in September. Pick grape samples, field test sugar and pH, and end with a guided tasting on the vine-side patio. Box lunch and charcuterie are available for pre-order.
Fall in Sonoma County is not just about the vineyards and grapes. With the countywide emphasis on farm-to-table eating, restaurants revise their menus to reflect the harvest of autumn vegetables.
Indulge in Wine Country like a local, surrounded by vineyards, barrels, and harvest at Alexander Valley Vineyards for their pizza pairing on Saturdays in September, or the the farm-to-table interactive cooking luncheons at Jordan Vineyard & Winery.
Participate in a winemaker or farmer dinner series like the open-air feast under the amphitheater of the Sonoma County night at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens or the outdoor dinner series at Bricoleur Vineyards.
For even more autumn options, check our Sonoma County Calendar of Events for current dates and information.