It's California Wine Month; Got Pinot?

Paso Robles Vineyard

Paso Robles Vineyard. Image courtesy of Ron Bez

From special tastings and harvest tours, to wine education classes and major wine festivals, California is celebrating la vida vino throughout September.

Home to more than 3,000 wineries that account for approximately 90 percent of the entire wine production in the United States, it’s only natural that California would celebrate all things vino as we approach the fall crush season, when ripened fruit is harvested to create some of the world’s best-loved wines.  California Wine Month features more than 200 award winning wineries and Golden State chefs showcasing their talents, as well as wine seminars, cooking demonstrations and vineyard tours. The statewide celebration kicked off Labor Day weekend with the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, and although some events, such as the Santa Cruz Wine Trail to the Sea took place earlier in the month, there are still plenty of amazing varietals and vintages to be sipped before October.

Events still on the calendar include the first-ever Temecula Valley Wine & Culinary Showcase (Sept. 17), where wine lovers can enjoy local wines and mingle with winemakers, growers and chefs.  On the 18th, the Ultimate Sierra Foothills Wine Tasting Experience in Danville presents several regions with more than 40 participating wineries from Amador, El Dorado and Calaveras counties.  The 7th Annual Taste of the Central Coast (Sept. 19) in Arroyo Grande near Pismo Beach offers the wines of more than 40 leading restaurants and wineries, as well as live jazz music. Towards month’s end, check out the Taste of Lodi Wine Camp (Sept. 25) and the 9th Annual Taste of Lodi festival (Sept. 26) just south of Sacramento.  The wine camp is a rare opportunity for consumers to immerse themselves in the winemaking process from grape to glass.

If you care to pour some more, the California Travel & Tourism Commission has posted more than 100 special accommodation offers and deals for Wine Month so you can create your own private wine tour. Visit your favorite wineries from the mist-shrouded North Coast to the sunny “Sideways” wine country of Santa Barbara County. Takeaway: This month the wineglass is absolutely half-full in California.

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