Your 2016 Guide to Sonoma County Harvest Parties

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Harvest time in Sonoma County, known to the locals as “5th Season,” is perhaps the most celebrated time of year in wine country. Wineries bring out new wines, throw parties, and host delightful farm-to-table feasts prepared by celebrated chefs in idyllic, autumnal locations. We’ve compiled a group of events custom tailored to the Sonoma wine enthusiast.

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

Image Source: Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

Various Locations
September 2 – 4, 2016
Sonoma County, CA

Perhaps the premier harvest event of the season, Sonoma Wine Country weekend is your opportunity to bump elbows with the who’s who in the Sonoma wine making industry, while sampling edible masterpieces presented by local chefs. In addition to being a great time, the event is also the county’s largest charity event with proceeds going to helping Sonoma County citizens in need. General admission is $165, while Grand Reserve access is $195.

Insider tip: Visitors looking to try a little bit of everything will enjoy the Taste of Sonoma event, while those interested in a planned meal and wine pairing should try a Winemaker lunch or dinner.

Harvest Celebration at Matanzas Creek

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Matanzas Creek Winery
September 10, 2016
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
6097 Bennett Valley Rd
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
(707) 528-6464

Tucked away in the outskirts of Santa Rosa on a Bennett Valley hillside, Matanzas Creek Winery is one of Sonoma County’s hidden gems, offering world class Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc made from grapes grown nearby. Matanzas Creek hosts its annual Harvest Celebration on September 10th, featuring appetizers, live music, and of course, fabulous wine. Entry is $25.

Insider tip: Enjoy the celebration, then head over the hill and treat yourself to a delicious meal at the Fig Café in nearby Glen Ellen. The Pan-Seared Flounder pairs well with the Tangent Viognier.

2016 Sonoma Valley Crush

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Various Locations
September 16 – 18, 2016
11 a.m. – 4 p.m. , $10-$35
Kenwood & Glen Ellen, CA

Head over to the Sonoma Valley for a weekend of immersion in enology and viticulture. Wine lovers will get the opportunity learn all about how wine is made, can sample fermenting wine, and get hands-on experience with wine making equipment. Wine makers will be onsite to answer questions, and each ticket garners a souvenir wine glass. Tickets run from $10 to $35

Insider tip: Let someone else drive. With so much fabulous wine to taste over three days, we recommend putting up the extra $10 for a designated driver.

Sonoma County Grape Camp

Image Source: Sonoma County Grape Camp

Various Locations
September 18 – 21, 2016
Schedule TBA
Sonoma County, CA

Serious wine enthusiasts and amateur winemakers will not want to miss Sonoma County Grape Camp. This intensive three-day course puts guests up close and personal in the vineyard for an actual harvest, where they’ll learn from winemakers, sample Sonoma County’s best varieties, and eat gourmet meals prepared by top chefs. It’s the ultimate wine lover’s getaway. The schedule has yet to be announced, but tickets will run $2,000 per person, or $3,700 for a couple.

Insider tip: The daily schedule moves “campers” along at a quick pace, so bring along a notebook and keep a journal. You will want to remember favorite wines and wineries when you get home.

Kendall-Jackson 20th Annual Heirloom Tomato Festival

Image Source: Yelp

Kendall-Jackson Winery
September 24, 2016
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
5007 Fulton Rd
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
(707) 571-8100

Come celebrate the “other” favorite fruit at Kendall-Jackson’s 20th Annual Heirloom Tomato Festival. Celebrity chefs will prepare tomato-based edibles and compete for the Critic’s Choice, with guests acting as the benefactors of the contest. Other highlights include fantastic food and wine pairings, seminars, and live music. General admission is $95; premier access can be had for $175; and dinner costs $225.

Insider tip: Show up a day early and get tickets to the Friday evening farm-To-table dinner prepared by “Top Chef Masters” winners and served in the Kendall-Jackson Estate Gardens. Proceeds from the dinner benefit the “No Kid Hungry” foundation.

Sonoma County Harvest Fair

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September 30 – October 2, 2016
Friday 4 p.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday/Sunday 10:30 a.m – 5 p.m.
1350 Bennett Valley Rd
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
(707) 545-4200

2016 will mark the 42nd year that Sonoma County celebrates the harvest of rich bounty that this special part of the world is known for. Get a ticket to the Grand Tasting and sample delicious food creations along with award winning wines and craft beers. Attend one of the chef demonstrations, and then check out the Wine Country marketplace where you can shop for locally made products and wares. Gate admission is only $5, and access to the Grand Tasting is $55.

Insider tip: Wine enthusiasts looking to learn something new about the tasting experience can attend free daily tasting seminars taught by local experts.

18th Annual Wine & Food Affair – Wine Road

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Various Locations
November 5 and 6, 2016
11 a.m – 4 p.m
Sonoma County, CA

Every year in late fall, thousands of wine travelers descend upon Sonoma County’s Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys to taste their way along the Wine Road. At the 18th Annual Wine & Food Affair, tasters can visit scores of wineries and delight in a unique food and wine pairing at each location. Happen upon a dish that you really like? All of the participating wineries make the recipes available on the event website. Weekend tickets are $80; tickets to Sunday’s activities are $60

Insider tip: Bring along a collapsible cooler and a Ziploc bag of ice to keep wine purchases from spoiling in a hot car or tour bus during your Wine Road adventure.

Landmark Vineyards Harvest Festival 2016

Image Source: Landmark Vineyards

Landmark Vineyards
October 1, 2016
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
101 Adobe Canyon Rd
Kenwood, CA 95452
(707) 833-0053

Jump on scenic Highway 12 and cruise through the “Valley of the Moon” to Landmark Vineyards for the 2016 Harvest Festival. Sample delicious Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and other current releases accompanied by tasty bites from local vendors. Stay after the party and tour the vineyard with a complimentary horse-drawn carriage ride. Tickets run $30 to $60.

Insider tip: Bring the kids. Landmark has bocce ball, cornhole, and other fun games to keep the little ones entertained while mom and dad enjoy the event.

Harvest Party at Matrix Winery

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Matrix Winery
October 8, 2016
3291 Westside Rd
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(888) 884-1288

Cross the river and mosey down gorgeous Westside Rd. in the Russian River Valley AVA to Matrix Winery for their 2016 Harvest Party. When you visit, hang in the Sip Sip Lounge overlooking the valley floor for a chance to savor bold Zinfandels and crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

Insider tip: Why not make a weekend out of it? Matrix Winery is just minutes from the famous Healdsburg Plaza, and luxurious digs such as Hotel Healdsburg provide the perfect launch for a harvest celebration weekend.

Harvest is a highly anticipated time of year in Sonoma County, and 2016 promises to be one of the best seasons yet. Whether you are a foodie, a wine lover, or are looking for a beautiful place to spend an autumn weekend, Sonoma County harvest events are sure to excite the senses.