Just when summer seems to be coming to a close, the excitement of harvest is getting started in Sonoma Wine Country. That’s right, harvest is around the corner and with it comes plenty of fun ways to experience the convivial spirit surrounding the season. From grape stomping and parades to blending seminars and tours, here are six fun and unique events fit for celebrating harvest in Sonoma County.
September 8-10, 2018, 11 AM – 4 PM
Cost: $35-$45 for One Day Pass, $50-$55 for Two Day Pass
Ten boutique wineries from Sonoma Valley participate in this educational, hands-on harvest experience that takes place at various wineries throughout Kenwood and Glen Ellen. A one or two day pass will get you access to a variety of immersive activities and wine tastings, from sampling grapes picked right off the vine to tasting freshly pressed juice and touring custom crush pads with the winemakers. There’s really no better way to learn about harvest than from the people who live it each vintage.
September 28-30, 2018
Cost: Free, $125 for Friday Gala, $30-$40 for Grape Stomp, $45-$70 for Sunday Races
As the oldest festival in California, the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival has been attracting wine lovers to Sonoma for an astounding 121 years. The festival kicks off with an opening night gala on Friday, with live music and dancing alongside wine from 50 wineries and regional food from local chefs. The fun continues well into the weekend with a lively grape stomping competition fit for all ages, free live music in Sonoma Plaza, and an entertaining “Get Your Glow On” evening light parade. On Sunday, don those sneakers and join the 5k, 12k, or Tiny Tots race for an enjoyable way to close out the weekend.
453 1st Street E, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 996-2109
September 30, 2018, 11:00 – 4:00 PM
Cost: $150, $120 for wine club members
On Sunday, September 30, Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens will welcome guests for its second annual harvest event, toasting to the bounty of harvest and the people behind it all. Expect live music, plenty of wine, and delectable food from some of the area’s most renowned chefs and restaurants, such as Single Thread and Two Birds/One Stone. Educational seminars and demonstrations add to the overall experience, including wine blending, mozzarella stretching, garden pickling, and even truffle hunting. You’ll not only leave with a new skill, but also a newfound appreciation for all the hard work that goes into producing the wine and farm-to-table fare that Sonoma has become known for.
5007 Fulton Road, Fulton, CA 95439, (707) 571-7500
October 5-7, 2018
Cost: $5 for Gate Admission, $60 for Grand Tasting, $125 for Harvest Fair Dinner
Often recognized as one of the best annual festivals in Sonoma County, Sonoma County Harvest Fair offers a chance to celebrate the region’s top winemakers, growers, microbrewers, and artisans throughout this multi-day event held in Santa Rosa. Expect plenty of opportunities to taste award-winning wine, savor thoughtful wine and food pairings, and get inspired by people dedicated to their craft. Don’t miss the Grand Tasting, featuring regional cuisine, craft beer, and wine from over 100 wineries, or the Wine Country Marketplace, offering live chef demonstrations and wine tasting seminars. In addition to wine, the marketplace will also showcase handcrafted jewelry, soaps, olive oil, clothing, and other luxury goods.
1350 Bennett Valley Rd. Santa Rosa, CA 95404, (707) 545-4200
October 6, 2018, 11:00 – 3:00 PM
Cost: $50, $35 for members
Located at the foothills of the Mayacama Mountains in Sonoma Valley, Landmark may be known for its selection of small-production chardonnay and pinot noir — many available only at the winery — but they also draw crowds for their fun, yearly events. When harvest rolls around, Landmark invites guests to help them honor this special time of year with their annual Harvest Festival, a celebratory event that includes oysters, bbq, live music, and a fun selection of new release wines.
101 Adobe Canyon Rd, Kenwood, CA 95452, (707) 883-0053
October 13, 2018
October is a beautiful time to visit the Sonoma Coast, where cooling temperatures and fall colors make it easy to get into the spirit of the harvest season. Pack a picnic and head to Fort Ross State Historic park for the Fort Ross Harvest Festival, an annual event which celebrates the Old World charm of this 19th century Russian settlement. You’ll start the day picking heirloom apples in the historic orchard before singing and dancing to Eastern European music.
19005 Coast Highway, Jenner, CA 95450, (707) 847-3437
Image courtesy of Facebook: Sonoma Valley Wine