As the race to harvest — before the wet, cool fall weather settles into the wine countries of Northern California — continues, another kind of race is happening over in the winery. Fermentation, which tends to take its own sweet time, is being coaxed along by winemakers eager to make room in crowded tanks for those last tons of fruit. As the red wine finishes fermenting, it is pressed off the skins and pumped into barrels where it will spend the next months and maybe even years of its life.
America’s Cup racers may have sailed off into the sunset last weekend, but one small winegrowing region in Sonoma County is still looking out to sea. On November 8, 40 different wineries from the Dry Creek Valley appellation will be setting sail for a three-hour sunset cruise — and you’re invited.
It’s no secret that people don’t need a reason to don a costume in San Francisco. It’s only natural then that locals go all out this time of year when Halloween rolls around. USA Today even named San Francisco as one of the best cities to celebrate Halloween. However, beyond the parties, parades, and costume contests, there are unique things to do beyond the city of San Francisco in Wine Country. Today we spotlight a few of the different Halloween activities happening in Napa and Sonoma this month.
While Napa reigns king of wine country, underrated Sonoma skims under the radar. Time passes slowly here. Instead of tour buses, traffic, and crowds, you can stretch out in the town square with an open bottle of red, bike between wineries without getting run over, and have leisurely conversations with local proprietors.
That being said, high-end restaurants, hotels, and boutiques are popping up and polishing up their games. Travelers wanting a more covert experience need to be a bit more intrepid in their journey. Here are a few of our favorite off the beaten path destinations in Sonoma:
Stony Hill Vineyards held out for 60 years. While they may not be the only Napa Valley winery to have made exclusively white wine for six decades, they are certainly one of the finest. Most famous for their White Burgundy-esque Chardonnay, the family-owned Spring Mountain winery has been going about their business making lovely, balanced and age-worthy wines in pretty much the same way since 1952. And now, a Cabernet Sauvignon joins the ranks of their Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewurztraminer.
On Sunday, October 7th from 2-5 pm, join 18 rockstar family wineries from the group that calls itself NG: The Next Generation in Wine, for their second annual Harvest Party at Napa Wine Company in Oakville. Experience the buzz surrounding the 2012 harvest with an exciting collection of wineries that are united by one unique factor—all of those pouring are the "next generation" of some of Napa Valley's top family wineries. This is your chance to taste a sampling of small-production, sought-after wines from this young and dynamic group in a beautiful setting amongst the vineyards and wineries of Napa Valley.
No doubt you've been seeing heirloom tomatoes everywhere on menus and in stores lately–that's because tomato season is in full swing, and now's the time to eat as many as you possibly can. One way to achieve maximum tomato exposure is to head to the Bardessono Hotel, Spa and Lucy Restaurant & Bar’s and Hill Family Estate’s fourth annual Tomatoville festival. It's a weekend-long extravaganza beginning on September 28 that's chock full of events honoring–you guessed it–peak season heirloom tomatoes.
The past few harvests yielded quality wine, but the tumultuous weather conditions hampered fruit quantity and dampened celebrations. This year, Mother Nature dealt Wine Country a fantastic hand, so there is plenty to celebrate. Here are our favorites parties this season: