Toast! Drink Up During California Wine Month

Sampling local wines at Adelaida Cellars during California Wine Month.
Sampling local wines at Adelaida Cellars during California Wine Month.

California is known for many things — golden sunshine, picturesque beaches and world-class wine. Wine is a treasured part of Californian culture, and visiting local wineries is a highlight of many California vacations.

This September, the Golden State celebrates its love affair with grapes during the eighth consecutive California Wine Month. More than 80 events are planned throughout California Wine Country, from tastings and hands-on wine immersion to yoga and fun festivals.

Here are some event highlights throughout the state:

Northern California

On Labor Day weekend, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend will feature more than 170 award-winning wineries and 60 chefs showcasing their talents at Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch, as well as a wine auction, seminars, cooking demonstrations, vineyard tours and parties at other wineries. Also that weekend is Livermore’s 31st Annual Harvest Wine Celebration, where complimentary shuttle buses take guests to more than 40 Livermore Valley wineries sharing their finest wines, as well as local music, art and food. For more information, see

Lodi wine country rolls out the red carpet from Sept. 1–Oct. 6. If you purchase a LoCA Road Trip Passport, you’ll have an all-access pass to exclusive events and discounts from over 45 participating wineries, such as vineyard hayrides or bicycle tours, cooking and cheese-making classes, grape stomps, winemaker dinners and more.

Harvesting grapes in California
Harvesting grapes in California. Photo by the Wine Institute

Central California

Lovers of the film “Sideways,” which celebrated Santa Barbara’s wine regions, will enjoy the community’s 31st Annual Taste of the Town on Sept. 9. More than 40 of Santa Barbara’ restaurants and 40 local wineries serve up their best for an afternoon of wine tasting, great food, and live entertainment. Head further north to the Capitola Art &Wine Festival: Showcase for Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Sept 8-9, where you can shop for fine arts and crafts while savoring local wines and gourmet foods.

Over in the inland valley, Madera Vintners Association’s California Wine Month Reception & Wine Tasting will feature 10 area wineries offering wine and food at CRU Wine Company on Sept. 21. The following week, serious foodies can head to San Luis Obispo County to enjoy Sunset Savor the Central Coast, offering four days of culinary immersion adventures, from an evening at Hearst Castle and celebrity chef seminars to adventure tours and wine workshops. The event takes place Sept. 27-30 and features more than 100 wineries and over 30 chefs sharing their culinary secrets.

Southern California

CRUSH: Temecula Valley 3rd Annual Wine & Culinary Showcase, is a multi-winery harvest festival with wine, food and live music on Sept.15. You can also purchase a SIP Temecula passport, which offers savings to five wineries anytime during the month of September. At Paramount Pictures Studios on Labor Day Weekend Sept. 1-3, you can experience the Los Angeles Times The Taste 2012, where top wineries, restaurants and other purveyors share samplings of wine and food.

If You Go

California Wine Month

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Janna Graber

Senior editor Janna Graber has been covering travel for more than a decade. She has traveled to 38 countries -- and counting.
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