With harvest approaching, there’s still time before it gets crazy busy for a quick trip to wine country to check out new offerings and old favorites.
I’ve put together some suggestions below for specific events in the next few weeks.
A three-day slate of tastings and special events featuring Sonoma County’s best wines is on tap for the Labor Day weekend.
The main event of the 33rd annual Sonoma Wine Country Weekend will be held Saturday (Sept. 1) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at MacMurray Ranch, the winery named after founder Fred MacMurray, the late actor.
More than 170 wineries will be pouring tastes for guests who will also be served by 60 local chefs. Tickets are $150 online.
Many of the wineries are hosting individual winemaker dinners and other events from Friday (Aug. 31) to Sunday (Sept. 2). Here’s a list of the full lineup of events.
Lastly, the long weekend concludes with a charity auction.
if you want to buy a treasured or rare bottle of wine, check out the 20th annual Sonoma County Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean pm Sunday (Sept. 2) from 1-7 p.m.
Winetasting, dinner and entertainment are included in the $500 ticket. Proceeds benefit local non-profits.
On Saturday (Sept. 8), more than 100 wines will be poured at a tasting on Treasure Island sponsored by a group of more than 30 Lake County wineries.
Check out the Rhone-style wines made by one of my favorite Lake County producers, Gregory Graham, at this event.
Hundreds of large, medium, small and micro wineries from across the state will pour tastes of old and new wines from dozens of different type grapes.
The event began with a few dozen wineries pouring samples back in 1991. I find it to be one of the best big tastings of the year and a great chance to try a wide variety of wines in one afternoon.
Be sure to pace yourself. Drink water between tastings and don’t arrive on an empty stomach. There will be food available to help bring your taste buds back to life.
Please use a designated drive or public transit if you overindulge.
Atlas Peak Harvest Celebration
A group of mountain wineries from the Atlas Peak appellation in Napa County will be celebrating harvest with a special tasting in Yountville on Saturday (Sept. 8) from 1-4 p.m. at the V Wine Cellar.
There are at least 10 producing wineries in this area, which is located northeast of downtown Napa, east of Yountville and above the foothills of the Stags Leap District.. Several winegrowing-0nly operations in Atlas Peak also supply grapes to some of Napa’s most prestigious winemakers. About 1,500 acres are currently in cultivation.
Advance tickets are on sale for $25. Click here to order.
I’m learning to appreciate Viognier, the French grape that some call the poor man’s Chardonnay.
I recently enjoyed a terrific bottle of 2010 Loredona Viognier from Lodi, a region best known for big red Zinfandel wines.
The grapes are from Loredona’s Clay Station Vineyard lies northeast of Lodi in the foothills of the Sierras. Warm days and cool nights which are typical in this region help ripen the grapes to maturity.
The wine tasted of peaches with a pleasant honeysuckle nose. This lighter-bodied white wine went well with a crispy rice salad spiked with ground pork.
The Loredona Viognier can be found at Whole Foods and Beverages and More stores on sale for less than $10 a bottle.
It’s a great summertime sipper at a great price!