Late summer to early fall in Sonoma Valley has reliably perfect weather. It’s also the time of year when the vineyards become alive with the winemaking process: vintners sample grapes in the vineyards for just the right sugar levels, the lights of late-night harvests fill the vines, interns punch down fermenting wines, and the bottling lines fire up for this year’s vintage.
You’ll appreciate the hard work that goes into each bottle even more as you sample the wines at some of the region’s most gorgeous wineries. In the next month or two, move Sonoma Valley to the top of your getaway list and come visit some of our favorite harvest hangouts.
A Showcase of Wine Country’s Best
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Green Music Center
September 1st-3rd, 2017
Indulge in the best of Sonoma wine and food for the weekend. The Taste of Sonoma wine and food showcase is the heart of the weekend and the area’s premier wine tasting event of the year. With more than 200 wineries pouring and 60 local chefs serving perfect food pairings, you can taste your way through the varied flavors the county has to offer. Get the experts’ perspective when you book a winemaker lunch or dinner or a sommelier-led tasting tour. You can also participate in blind tasting challenges or take in a chef presentation.
The Club Reserve, open to a limited number of guests to sample some of Sonoma County’s most sought-after wines. The winemakers and owners of Sonoma County’s iconic wineries will be on hand to discuss and share their limited production, reserve and award-winning wines from large format bottles, alongside VIP food pairings.
A Sonoma Tradition
Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival
September 22nd-24th, 2017
This year marks the 120th anniversary of the Vintage Festival, the oldest festival in California. The celebration kicks off on Friday with a costume gala, but there’s something for everyone at this three-day event with live music, wine tasting, an art marketplace, a grape stomp competition and the beloved Get Your Glow On night parade. The whole event takes place right downtown on Sonoma’s historic plaza and raises money for local nonprofits that serve the community.
Right before the Saturday night parade relive the raising of the California Bear Flag with a reenactment of the Bear Flag Revolt in front of the historic Sonoma barracks.
Get Away in Kenwood
101 Adobe Canyon Rd
Kenwood, CA 95452
Tel: (707) 833-0053
: 4.5 stars, 84 reviews
Landmark’s beautiful gardens and views of the Mayacamas Mountains are the perfect backdrop for their vineyard designate chardonnays and pinot noirs. Winemaking at Landmark is a careful, time-consuming process that involves whole cluster pressed grapes, fermentation by native yeast strains and aging in French oak barrels. On Oct. 7th, the winery will host its annual Harvest Festival where you can celebrate the bounty of harvest with a tasting of current Landmark releases paired with local dishes.
You can tour Landmark Vineyards in a horse-drawn carriage. This complimentary tour is offered every Saturday afternoon between May 6 and Oct. 7. It’s led by third-generation Sonoma Valley farmer Pat Prather, who will fill you in on the estate’s approach to grape growing and winemaking.
C’est Beau Dans le Château
Chateau St. Jean
8555 Sonoma Highway
Kenwood, CA 95452
Tel: (707) 257-5784
Trip Advisor: 4.5 stars, 287 reviews
Chateau St. Jean offers individual and group tastings in their spacious visitor center as well as in their charming 1920s chateau, surrounded by the stunning estate with stunning vineyard views and impressive mountain backdrop. This winery was a pioneer of single vineyard wines in Sonoma County and its wines celebrate some the finest vineyards in the area. And be sure to try their iconic Cinq Cépages Cabernet Sauvignon blend. The winery celebrates Harvest with regular concerts on their estate.
Insider’s tip: You can book a special tasting in the chateau library that includes a vertical of their Cinq Cépages and Reserve wines. Or plan on bringing a picnic full of creamy cheeses and savory charcuterie, their grounds are perfect this time of year.
Treat Yourself at Kenwood
Kenwood Inn & Spa, A Four Sisters Inn
10400 Sonoma Highway
Kenwood, CA 95452
Tel: (707) 833-1293
Trip Advisor: 4.5 stars, 632 reviews
Tiny Kenwood is at the northern end of Sonoma Valley and the Mediterranean villa-style Kenwood Inn & Spa makes for an excellent base during your visit. Upon arrival guests are greeted with freshly baked cookies or sparkling wine. The private guest rooms and suites are appointed with fireplaces and featherbeds and many include a terrace or balcony. Each evening the inn hosts a complimentary Magic Hour wine and cheese tasting from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. If you like a nightcap, be sure to visit the sitting room and enjoy a glass of port or sherry before heading to bed.
Insider’s tip: Many of the spa’s treatments have are winecentric. You can choose from pinot noir, chardonnay or sparkling for a therapeutic Vinotherapy Bath. If you book this spa treatment you’ll also get to take a gift bag of Vinotherapy products home so you can recreate the wine country spa experience.
The Valley on Wheels
Sonoma Valley Bike Tours
Sonoma, CA 95476
Tel: (707) 996-2453
Trip Advisor: 4.5 stars, 85 reviews
The vineyards and Sonoma countryside are especially lovely during Harvest and one of the best ways to explore the area’s quiet country roads is on a bike. Sonoma Valley Bike Tours offers guided and self-guided bike tours. Their guides know the area inside and out and have long-standing relationships at many of the local wineries. Every year SVBT purchases a new fleet of bikes, which a professional mechanic maintains so everything should be in tip-top condition.
Insider’s tip: A fabulous picnic lunch from local favorite the girl & the fig is included in SVBT’s full-day bike tour. The delicious sandwich options include house-roasted turkey with cheddar and apricot fig chutney; salami with sliced pears, red onion confit and brie; and roasted portobello mushroom with goat cheese and roasted bell peppers.