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Top 10 California wine month last-minute celebrations

Wine aficionados sample the vintages in the vineyards at a winery in SoCal, on a perfect California day. || (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

September has almost come and gone but this year’s California’s wine month is still going strong. Here’s a quick list of our selection of top 10 activities for your enjoyment.

10. “Fall for our mountains” on the Summit to the Sea wine trail
The “Fall for our mountains” promotion includes two-for-one tasting at each of the four wineries on the Summit to the Sea wine trail, custom fall-themed chocolates and special fall discounts on wine.

9. LoCA Road Trip
In celebration of California Wine Month, Lodi vintners and The Lodi Winegrape Commission invite you to embark on the LoCA Road Trip. You can buy an all-access pass to exclusive discounts from 50 participating Lodi wineries including: free tastings, discounted  wine buys, gift giveaways & more! Pass holders can select from over 60 engaging and unique activities to enjoy like vineyard hayrides, bicycle tours, port blending & cheese-making classes, and winemaker dinners under the stars.

8. Hands-on harvest tours 
Experience the wonders of harvest with fresh grape juice fermenting in the winery and vineyard truck tours through a 710 acre estate where you can look closely at the vines and sample the grape berries. Afterwards, you are guided through a flight of four finished wines. Hands-on harvest tours are by appointment, and they welcome picnics or can arrange lunches.

7. California wines road trip – San Francisco (9/22)
Take a virtual road trip of California wine country at this tasting where wines are organized region by region, celebrating diverse and delicious offerings from throughout the state during September. Taste more than 60 California wines with artisan cheeses and salami and meet the winemakers and growers behind them. Attendance is limited and guests must be 21 years or older. Part of the proceeds from this event will go to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture and California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.

6. New England style clambake & wine release party (9/22)
Bring the gang out for a good ole fashion New England style clambake! Michael David Winery will be toasting the evening away with the newest vintage of 7 Heavenly chards plus many more!

5. 8th Annual Blessing of the Wines Grape Stomp & Harvest Festival  (9/23)
This is a fun-for-everyone “blessing” you won’t want to miss! South Coast Winery Resort and Spa offers dinner, including Chef’s B B Q, tractor rides through the vineyards, live musical entertainment, dancing, and of course, grape stomping contests!

4. Wine Lovers Boot Camp
Wine classes, offered by the Culinary Institute of America, can enrich your knowledge and your life. If you’re fascinated about wine—swirling it in your glass, enjoying a rich Cabernet with a meal, getting a taste of the world through its wines, then wouldn’t it be great to take that wonderful feeling to the next level?

3. Cool wine bike tour
A self-guided tour that’s geared toward you. You get all the tools you need to have a great day in the peaceful Calistoga vineyards and wineries and then sends you out on your own to explore. No strangers, vans , or schedules to adhere to.

2. Meet the winemaker on a yacht (9/21)
The 70-foot luxury yacht Chardonnay II regularly features a different local winery Friday evenings, April through September. On September 21st, in celebration of California Wine Month, you can drink in stunning views of the California coastline, meet the winemaker from Ahlgren Vineyard and entice your palate with delicious appetizers. Learn about local wines and the art of wine making. Watch the sunset, raise your glasses, and give a toast to wine tasting at its finest!

1. Tour a castle in California
As all good winemakers know, great wine starts in the vineyard. This tour will introduce you to some of the complex factors that are balanced before a grape is even crushed. Learn about the importance of micro climate, even within the same vineyard, discuss crops and soil types as well as what makes Napa Valley and the Castello di Amorosa vineyards so special. Best of all, visit this modern castle whose parts where rescued from the rubble of European buildings to form a unique winery and massive cellar.

And since 10 reasons to celebrate California Wine Month is not enough, here’s three more!!

Valley of the Moon vintage festival (9/28 to 9/30)
A 3-day festival in its 115th year, celebrating the Sonoma Valley harvest. Join the longest running festival in CA for wine tastings, live music, food and frolic.

Wine blending boot camp (9/28)
Get the insider’s view on what it takes to develop a blended wine. Learn the basics of winemaking and the “ins and outs” of wine varietal blending with B Cellars’ Assistant Winemaker, Derek Taylor. ‘Campers’ start their day with a walk through the estate’s vineyard, escorted by a wine educators, followed by a tasting of future and current release wines from the cellar. After the tasting, couples will concoct their own proprietary blend, to be judged by the group in a blind tasting. Winners will be rewarded with a magnum bottle from the winery.

Sonoma Valley Crush (9/29 to 9/30)
Have you ever romanticized about getting involved in a wine harvest and crush? Find out what it’s like this September in the Heart of Sonoma Valley. Join the 2012 Sonoma Valley Crush and experience harvest, hands-on.

Information in this news bulletin was provided courtesy of Sullivan Says and The Wine Institute.


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