12 Ways to Taste California Wine Month

California wine

California produces whopping 85 percent of the wine made in the United States and this September you can experience the sheer scale and diversity of the wine scene with California Wine Month. September lets wine connoisseurs and amateurs savour the very best of the Golden State’s winemaking during dozens of events – including regional festivals, special dinners, vineyard tours, grape stomps and intimate tastings with the winemakers themselves.
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Gold Country
Travellers can also get hands-on (or really, feet-on) in Amador County at the Annual Grape Stomp, at Scott Harvey Wines in Plymouth (22nd September). A competition to collect the most juice where teams consist of a “stomper,” who stands in half a wine barrel with the grapes and a “swabber” who stands outside the barrel and reaches in to help flow the juice out of a drain spout. Also be sure to stop by the Lodi Grape Festival  – offering the chance to taste the deep inventory of good wines from Lodi Wine Country, including entertainment, food, a carnival and exhibits (13-16thSeptember).

Discover Murphy’s Under-the-Radar Wine Scene and explore the wineries that give this part of the Golden State its own flavour – especially in the quaint town of Murphys, which is dotted with welcoming tasting rooms.

Sonoma County
Just over an hour north of San Francisco, Sonoma County is one of the major players taking part in California Wine Month, with activities at individual wineries and region-wide annual events. Sonoma Valley Crush (Date TBA) is a hands-on harvest experience taking place at over a dozen boutique wineries. Enjoy a one-of-a-kind behind the scenes look at every aspect from picking grapes, to crush and to fermentation. Meet the winemakers, learn about harvest and sample the fresh pressed juice and grapes picked fresh off the vine.

Winesong Wine & Food Tasting (8th September) lets visitors stroll through the lush Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens while enjoying vintages poured by world-class wineries from Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa and beyond while  trying food from nearly 50 of the finest regional food purveyors.

Paso Robles
Vina Robles is the result of a unique personal adventure that led winery founder Hans Nef from a rural village outside Zurich, Switzerland to the rugged terrain of California’s Central Coast. Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery highlights different summer wines each weekend throughout September. Also hosted at its onsite amphitheatre will be an exclusive line-up of live music all month, including the Gipsy Kings on 9th September.

Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara hosts Taste of the Town (9th September) in the Mediterranean-style Riviera Park, a gathering featuring top restaurants and prominent wineries from around the country. Spend the next day at the source and explore the Santa Ynez Valley, the heart of Santa Barbara wine country. After your visit, be sure to stop by Santa Ynez to spot the locations of 2004 film, Sideways.

Napa Valley
The Napa Valley Harvest Ball (15th September) is a highlight of California Wine Month, taking place in one of the most coveted wine region’s in the state. Now in its 34th year, visitors are invited to explore the manicured grounds of the V. Sattui Winery, dine on a gourmet dinner, dance the night away to a live band and of course, sample a number of different wines produced by the vineyard.

It’s also easy to pair Wine Month celebrations with trips to major California destinations. On the way to Yosemite National Park from the Bay Area or Sacramento, follow the Madera Wine Trail into one of the country’s oldest grape-growing regions. Here you’ll find small, family-owned wineries, including the recently renovated Birdstone Winery, which will host a party on 15th September to feature local vintners, chefs and live music.

Temecula Valley

Crush (29th September) presents culinary creations from over fifteen Temecula Valley wineries, local restaurants and caterers. Mix and mingle with winery owners and winemakers at this most anticipated walk-about tasting of culinary delights and award-winning Temecula wines. Alongside live music and entertainment, it is a great way to experience over 30 different wineries in one location.

Out of California Wine Month there are still ample of opportunities to enjoy tasting sessions, vineyards and some of California’s finest wine:

San Diego
San Diego is also home to over 115 wineries producing various blends and flavours. The city has a Mediterranean climate – regular sunshine with a cool ocean breeze – which allows grape growing to thrive. San Diego has two recognised American Viticultural Areas, Ramona Valley and San Pasqual Valley, the latter of which is one of the oldest American Viticultural Areas in the nation. There are a number of different tours in the city where visitors can learn about wine growing, taste different products and purchase bottles as souvenirs.

Yosemite Tuolumne County
Gianelli Vineyards & Winery is located in the Sierra Foothills, this family owned winery stretches back through countless generations, captures that same essence of place and tradition with their wines. Today the vineyard boasts a total of 18 different estate grown varietals, from Vermentino to Fiano and Primitivo to Agliancio, the vineyard has varietals that are not only uncommon in the United States, but some that have never been produced before outside of Italy.

Santa Cruz
Mountain Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains is one of the oldest wine growing regions in the United States and well known for their exceptional wines. With over 70 boutique, family-owned wineries all offering personalised tasting experiences, the region offers a truly unique variety of wine due to the area’s varying climate and the Corralitos Wine Trail is countryside wine tasting at its finest.

Sacramento is a hidden gem on California’s wine map, with many of its vineyards and tasting rooms undiscovered but offering tastings for no cost or a minimal fee, where visitors can gain intimate access to the wine making process. Sacramento is nestled in the centre of more than 200 wineries and is home to 13 American Viticultural Areas. The region is best known for its full-flavored Chardonnay, which is the leading varietal. Visitors can experience the taste of a wide variety of wines from the Sacramento region at the Old Sugar Mill, surrounded by vineyards and home to 15 different tasting rooms.

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Naomi Isted
Editor in Chief, Naomi Isted is known as The Ultimate Lifestylist to her readers and viewers. She is a TV Presenter and Columnist. Ranked in the Top 100 LFW Social Media Influencers AW14 & SS15, Brand Ambassador for Pears Soap UK. Her Celebrity beauty TV Series currently airs to 27million homes on Physique TV in UAE, previously on Wedding TV in the UK. She brings fashion and beauty advice to her readers and viewers on a daily basis. She is Fashion and Beauty Columnist for Herald Scotland and has a Fashion and Beauty Bridal Blog for HELLO. She can usually be found attending celebrity fashion and beauty events in and around London and sharing the latest fashion and beauty trends with her readers.

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