Growing the grapes that are the foundation of California’s world-class wines is a year-round job; but the autumn harvest season is one of the best opportunities for wine lovers to participate in and celebrate the winemaking process. Harvest times vary from year to year and grape to grape, but typically white and sparkling wine grapes are picked earliest in August, followed by red varieties and then late harvest wines which can stay on the vine until early December.
Here's a look at What's New in Sonoma Valley this harvest season:
New winery in Glen Ellen: Are you a Wine Snob*? This Sonoma Valley winery is producing wine from sustainably and organically farmed grapes and has just opened a new tasting room in the heart of Glen Ellen. Owners Lindsey and Ryan offer a unique experience in their modern industrial indoor/outdoor tasting room. Wine Snob* offers wines ranging from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to oddballs they love like Chenin Blanc and Tempranillo, as well as a retail selection of local artwork and locally made products. The new tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday. Walk-ins are welcome, but they also take reservations.
Three Sticks Wines is releasing its 2019 vineyard designated chardonnays and pinot noirs. Winemaker Ryan Prichard is excited about this year’s wines calling them “exceptional… wines with vibrant acidity, a complex fruit profile, and elegant tannins.” Their 2021 Fall release event: Home for Harvest at the Adobe is taking place October 16th & 17th. Taste the first sips of our newest wines alongside curated culinary delights and catch up with the whole Three Sticks team.
Invigorate your senses with the new Sensory Tasting by Landmark Vineyards. Set in the lush gardens at the Kenwood Estate, a Landmark wine guide will lead you a wine tasting experience using fresh herbs and flowers to explore the five senses: sound, sight, smell, touch and taste. Enjoy and learn about the sensory aspects of wine, with a flight of four wines paired with artisan cheeses chosen by winemaker Greg Stach.
Sonoma Valley is also home to innovative and delicious distillers. Hanson of Sonoma is rolling out a new food and drink menu with seasonal items from a rock shrimp pesto pizza, to a cocktail with foaming bitters They also added non-alcoholic options to the menu, featuring Juice Shop SF + Recess cans. The Valley’s fantastic fall weather is ideal for enjoying Hanson’s outdoor spirits garden and their signature wood-fired pizza.
Russian River Brewing is releasing HopTime Harvest Ale, made with 100% Sonoma County grown hops from Crane Ranch right in Santa Rosa - from the vine to the kettle in about five hours. Russian River’s team picks the hops in the early morning, then takes them to another farm to remove the hops from the bines with a machine harvester, then back to their Santa Rosa pub where they will be added to the brew. This beer is only brewed once a year. Their brewer was just the second brewer in the U.S. to brew this style back in 1998. HopTime will be released in late September on draft and in cans exclusively at both our Windsor and Santa Rosa brewpubs.
To celebrate harvest, the Kenwood Inn and Spa has created a series of multi-course pop-up dinners, available exclusively to overnight guests of the inn. On Saturday nights this fall, guests can enjoy wine country fare created by Guest Chef LeeAnn Geneve, owner of The Gilded Grape Catering in Sonoma, whose cooking has delighted wine country diners at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone and offshoot CIA at Copia, as well as private events. The menu and highlighted winery changes each Saturday.
Turn your harvest visit into an extended getaway at MacArthur Place. The luxury property is spread over seven acres of intimate gardens, grand historic buildings, winding flagstone paths, archways, fire pits, and secret nooks. The hotel’s Harvest Special offers 25% off of a three night stay and a $50 daily resort credit.
Fall is a fantastic time to experience shinrin-yoku, which translates to “forest bathing,” in Sonoma Valley. In the 1980s, Japanese scientists found that natural immersion has many benefits, including improving mood and reducing stress by living in the moment and taking in the sights and sounds of nature. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park is hosting forest therapy sessions, taking a walk in the woods to the next level with guided sessions the fourth Saturday of each month.
Sonoma Valley offers several options for visitors to enjoy harvest tastings while leaving the driving to someone else. West Wine Tours’ vintage VW buses allow guests to explore the best wineries in the Valley and a delicious catered lunch with a California Cool vibe. Destination Drivers will drive you in the comfort of your own vehicle while providing water, snacks and photography assistance. They’ll even walk your dog while you taste.
Arts & Culture
Transcendence Theater Company is closing out its 10th Anniversary Season of Broadway Under the Stars with their Annual Gala Concert at Jack London State Historic Park. The gala will celebrate the first ten seasons of the award-winning Broadway Under the Stars series with a night of beloved songs from Broadway’s greatest musicals. Looking ahead to the holidays, Transcendence’s Broadway Holiday Spectacular will return as a live performance in 2021 with an all-new show in December.
A full season of family fun is in store at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center. From the long-awaited return of in-person programs like Museum Mondays for Little Ones and the First Friday Film Series, to favorite holiday traditions like the Thanksgiving Celebration with Snoopy and the New Year’s Eve balloon drop. In September, a new class will teach budding artists how to draw Peanuts characters. The Kids Night at The Museum series is a fun-filled evening of crafts, art, movies and games.