Harvest season in Sonoma County is a busy time for everyone. For visitors, it’s a chance to see the grape harvest in action and to taste new wines. For wineries
, harvest season means days picking, sorting, and fermenting the grapes. If you’re curious about the winemaking process, take a look at these photos of Sonoma County in harvest time.
There’s no better way to start the harvest season than with a little glass of bubbly. Here, workers at Patz & Hall toast to the start of harvest season with a glass of their winery’s champagne.
Grapes may be the stars of harvest season, but the flowers they bloom from are lovely too. These blooms have a sweet scent that can be smelled throughout the vineyard.
The Cabernet fields at Decoy Wines are green as far as the eye can see. Soon, all of the grapes will be harvested and ready for the pressing and fermentation process.
The Pinot Noir grapes at Walt Wines are being loaded into the optical sorter, where they’ll be de-stemmed and sorted.
Sometimes, you have to get your hands a little dirty during harvest season. It’s all in a day’s work at Sonoma County’s wineries.
The workers at Ram’s Gate Winery’s lab are testing these grapes’ pH, brix, and TA levels to see if they’re ready to be turned into delicious Chardonnay.
Hook and Ladder Winery have all of their barrels lined up, waiting to begin aging their Chardonnay. Now, they just need their grapes to ripen, and they’ll be all ready to make their wine.
For winery owners, the work day begins early during the harvest season. But there is one benefit to this early schedule: getting to see the sunrise over the vineyards.
Before new wine can be put into old barrels, the barrels must be cleaned. This is usually done with a mixture of steam, ozone, and high-pressure hot water rinses.
These workers at Alexander Valley Winegrowers are expertly sorting through newly picked grapes, removing stems and grapes that have torn skin.
Munselle Vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon fields look lovely in the early morning fog. This field is one of the last of the season to be harvested.
A worker at Anaba Wines taste tests white and red wines to see if the grapes are ready to be harvested.
These workers at Iron Horse Vineyards are harvesting Chardonnay grapes, which will be used for a tasty sparkling wine.
Decoy Wine is hard at work early in the morning. Here, they send their Chardonnay grapes down to their crushing pad.
On just the first day of harvest, Taken Wine Company has already harvested and crushed 25 tons of Pinot Noir grapes.
Ram’s Gate Winery has their grapes crushed and ready to be punched down. Punch downs are used to break apart solids like stems and tannins that have risen to the surface of the fermentation tank.
A new batch of Chardonnay grapes are transferred to the sorting table early in the morning at Jordan Winery. Next, they’ll be de-stemmed.
Jordan Vineyard and Winery showcased their newly released wines at a harvest lunch. The harvest season is full of parties, festivals, and events.
During Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, Ram’s Gate Winery offered a special wine and food pairing tasting to members of the media.
Field Stone Winery is all ready for their harvest festival. The Alexander Valley winery offers horse-drawn carriage rides, live entertainment, and wine tastings at their annual festival.
At St. Francis Winery’s harvest party, guests sip on newly released Zinfandel and eat plates of delicious, freshly cooked barbeque.
The Sonoma County Harvest Fair is held annually during harvest season. This fair features the fun—and messy—Grape Stomp World Championship, which anyone can enter.
The harvest is a busy time for Sonoma County, with picking and parties commemorating the success of the season. Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to start planning your trip to this region of northern California during one of the most vibrant times of the year.