Wine Crush and Harvest Festivals 2019
The grapes are hanging heavy on vines all across Sonoma County, as the luscious fruit ripens for its destiny: to be made into fine wine.
Harvest is one of the best times to visit our wineries, to witness the hustle and bustle of sorting, stemming, crushing, and the beginning of fermentation. Some wineries even offer hands-on experiences so in-depth you might feel that you're part of the winemaking team. But fair warning – harvest tours are a very popular adventure, so it's best to plan now for your autumn Sonoma adventure. Here are some great events to keep you in that wine frame of mind:
Taste of Sonoma (Aug. 31, 2019)
Taste of Sonoma sells out each year, as thousands of guests join hundreds of chefs, wineries, and artisan food purveyors, all gathering for a full day of nibbling and sipping at Sonoma State University's prestigious Green Music Center. Besides the chance to sample terrific food and wine, Taste of Sonoma is educational, too. Wine Talks are popular seminars, lively panel discussions, and focused tastings with renowned winemakers, while several VIP lounges offer special reserve wines and chef tastings. Tickets are $180-$255.
Green Music Center, Sonoma State University, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., 707-664-6530; purchase tickets at tasteofsonoma.com.
Harvest Dinner at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards (Sept. 14, 2019)
Go behind the scenes with Winemaker Steven Urberg. The tour includes a food and wine pairing featuring a very special library selection served in the grapevine-covered arbor. Then, tuck into a seasonal harvest-inspired and wine paired three-course supper, with live music. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; $160.
Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, 23555 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, 707-996-7256.
Sonoma County Wine Auction (Sept. 19-21, 2019)
Held at the beautiful new La Crema Estate at Saralee's Vineyard in Russian River Valley, the fundraising gala features fine foods, exquisite wines, and one-of-a-kind auction prizes. And it's for a great cause: the auction has raised more than $29 million for local Sonoma County charitable partners over the years. The auction kicks off with a welcome party on Sept.19 at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, continues with private winery dinners on Sept. 20, and then the auction gala on Sept. 21. Tickets are $2,500 for the weekend.
La Crema Estate at Saralee's Vineyard, 3575 Slusser Road, Windsor; purchase tickets at sonomacountywineauction.com.
Meadowcroft Hands-On Harvest Experience (Sept. 20, 2019)
You go deep into Cornerstone Pinot Noir Vineyard, for a look at what really happens during harvest, guided by owner and winegrower Tom Meadowcroft. Pruning shears, gloves, and a love of adventure and you’re all set. 9 a.m. to noon; $80.
Meadowcroft Wines at Cornerstone Sonoma, 23574 Arnold Dr. (Highway 121), Sonoma, 707-934-4090.
The Harvest Experience (Sept. 22, 2019)
Check in at Muscardini Cellars to and meet your guide: winemaker Michael Muscardini. Then journey to Kenwood’s Deerfield Ranch Winery for a tour of the custom crush facility, the wine barrel cave, and a tasting. Continue on to nearby Alpicella Vineyards for a vineyard tour, winemaker's lunch in the vineyards, and vertical library Sangiovese tasting with vineyard owner and grape grower Dan Sanchez. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; tickets $125.
Muscardini Cellars, 9380 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, 707-933-9305.
Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival (Sept. 27-29, 2019)
It's the 122nd Anniversary of this party on the Sonoma Plaza. The festivities kick off Friday, Sept. 27 with a marvelous costume gala where you can taste great wines and delicious food followed by dancing under the stars to live music. The fun keeps going throughout the weekend with the Sip & Shop, wine tasting, artists' showcase with more than 80 artists, a grape stomp competition, firefighter water fights, a "Get Your Glow On" night parade, live music, and a Kids Zone. Tickets for events vary from free to $100
Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival, 453 1st Street E., Sonoma, 707-996-2109.
45th Annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair (Oct. 4 & 5, 2019)
The annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair brings so much more than just showcasing award-wining wine and beautiful food. Attractions include educational demonstrations, a cooking competition, expanded interactive tastings, and a focus on local and artisanal products.
The highlight remains the Grand Tasting, with three days of sampling from 100+ wineries, including the opportunity to purchase bottles at a Fair-direct discount.
Don't miss the marketplace tasting seminars where you can learn directly from winery owners and winemakers about farming wine grapes, winemaking, and wine appreciation. Another don't miss: the World Championship Grape Stomp for messy fun and great prizes like cold, hard cash. Prices vary per event; $65-$120.
Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa; purchase tickets online at harvestfair.org.
Landmark Vineyards Harvest Festival (Oct. 5, 2019)
One of the delights of this lovely 20-acre estate in the foothills of the Mayacamas mountains is the tours that give you a sneak peek into the wine process. They last about 15 minutes, passing right past the crush pad, with your guide narrating all along the way and explaining everything from the estate grape varieties, to trellising, to winemaking. For this event, you can be the first to try new wine club releases, enjoy delicious barbecue, play a game of bocce ball, groove to live music, or just kick back and smell the rosés. Noon to 3 p.m.; $60
Landmark Vineyards, 101 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood, 707-833-0053.
D'Argenzio Winery 23rd Annual Italian Harvest Party (Oct. 5, 2019)
It's a taste of Italy in downtown Santa Rosa, as the D'Argenzio family celebrates friends, new and old. The fun includes an Italian feast, a grape stomp, bocce, live music, dancing, and tastings. On tap: many newly released wines and limited edition wines. Lots of wine, actually - last year, the winery opened 28 different types. Event time: 4 to 8 p.m.; $45.
D'Argenzio Winery, 1301 Cleveland Ave., Suite A, Santa Rosa, 707-546-2466.
Dutton-Goldfield 21st Anniversary Harvest Party (Oct. 19, 2019)
The celebration features new wine releases, food pairings, Franchetti's mouthwatering wood-fired pizzas and salads, and live music by singer songwriter Sebastian St. James. Join in a toast to the hardworking winemaking team. 11a.m. to 4 p.m.; tickets are $35.
Dutton-Goldfield Winery, 3100 Gravenstein Highway N., Sebastopol, 707-823-3887.
Celebrate Sonoma County Wine Month All October Long
Sonoma County Wine Month is a showcase of the diverse, world-class wine region and wines of Sonoma County throughout the month of October. Autumn is a magical time to visit. Experience the bounty of harvest and indulge in a kaleidoscope of colors in the vineyards. Learn more about Sonoma County Wine Month and take advantage of exclusive deals from the Sonoma County Vintners here.