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This is why Sonoma County is best visited in the fall

The fall season marks the start of the harvest season in the Sonoma wine country, and it’s one of the most exciting times to visit.

Bike rides with views of the fiery fall foliage, grape-stomping competitions, an accordion festival, and learning about winemaking are all reasons to visit Sonoma County, California in September. The county is home to some of the oldest wineries in California and they produce world famous wines. Autumn is a special time because it is when the vines harvest the grapes and crush them to start making wine.

8 Wines of the West: harvest hikes with the winegrower

Patrons of West Wines stroll through its upper vineyard with owner and winemaker Katarina Bonde. They will be able to harvest Cabernet Sauvignon and learn to test samples for pH and Brix (sugar level). After completing the hike, visitors enjoy a guided tasting.

  • Appointment: September 5, 11 and 18
  • Time: 9.45 a.m. – 11.30 a.m.
  • Price: $ 35 per person
  • Reservations: Via the wines of the West website

7 Harvest lunches at Jordan Winery

Twenty years ago Jordan Winery planted a small patch of tomatoes. What started as a small project has grown into a garden with over 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables. Nearby, the winery also raises chickens, goats, cows and bees. The property produces olive oil and estate wines. All of this means that when guests sit down to participate in a harvest lunch, they eat dishes made with the freshest and most exquisite ingredients.

  • Appointment: Thursday to Monday, September 2 to September 30
  • Time: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Price: $ 110
  • Reservations: Via the vineyard and cellar of Jordan website

Related: Best in Michigan for Wine Lovers: Youngblood Vineyard And Winery

6 Crushpad tours of the harvest season at Dutton Estate

Fall is a busy time for the vineyards. Workers work from dawn to dusk to cut the bunches of grapes. Then comes the grinding. This is when the winemakers crush the fruit – a long time ago it was done by stomping on it, but now wineries like Dutton Estate have special machines. Wine enthusiasts can visit the Crushing Platform at Dutton to see the harvesting activity in real life. Anyone who books a tasting experience on Wednesdays at 12 p.m. or 12:30 p.m. or Saturdays at 11 or 11:30 a.m. can arrive early to see how workers crush the grapes to prepare them for fermentation. Dutton’s wine tasting experiences include Cheese & cold cuts pairings ($ 45), Chocolate & Red Wine Pairings ($ 35), garden wine tasting ($ 25) or From grape to glass ($ 70).

  • Appointment: Wednesdays and Saturdays from September 11 to
  • Time: Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Price: Free with tasting experiences
  • Reservations: Via the Dutton estate website

5 Sonoma County Art Trails

Over two weekends, 121 artists from Sonoma County open their studios to the public. The selection process is rigorous and a jury of 5 chooses the contributing artists. Visitors to the Art Trail will find the studios by following the blue signs. The organizers recommend that you start by visiting the exhibition in preview at the Center des Arts Sébastopol. Each of the participating artists has contributed a piece to the show and guests can obtain additional information and maps before meeting the artists.

  • Appointment: September 18 – 19 and 25 – 26
  • Time: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Price: To free

4 Emeritus Harvests Trail

Visitors take a self-guided tour, following the same journey as the Grapes on this trail. First, they attend the harvest teams who cut the bunches of the vines. Next, the guests visit the Crush Pad. The vineyard sets up stations along the route so that visitors can taste light bites and fine wines. In different places, trail enthusiasts meet the vineyard, winemaking and tasting room teams.

  • Dated: 25 october
  • Times: 11:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m.
  • Price: $ 50
  • Reservations: Going through Eventbrite

Related: Finger Lake Vineyards, Part I: The Best Wine Routes Around Keuka and Cayuga Lakes

3 Sonoma County Harvest Fair

The Sonoma County Crop Fair draws people from all over the world for its great tasting, World Grape Stomp Championship, and winemaking and brewing competitions. This year, organizers have postponed the Big Tasting until 2022. The annual event allows ticket holders to sample wines from more than 100 Sonoma County wineries for two days. The Grand Tasting is a must-see event for wine lovers, so plan to visit it in the fall of 2022.

  • Appointment: Great tasting postponed to 2022

2 Asti Tour De La Vigne

Sonoma bike in autumn

Edgar Chaparro via Unsplash

Cyclists ride on lightly traveled roads through the beautiful Alexander Valley. They will have a privileged view of the foliage of the fall vineyards and the Russian River. There is a race for everyone – beginners can choose the 25km race while more advanced cyclists can choose 50km or 100km trails. Some even opt for the 100 mile Rockpile Rumble. There are stations with water and healthy snacks along the way. The rides take participants to the historic Mount Carmel Church where they have lunch and wine tasting.

  • Dated: October 9
  • Time: 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
  • Price: $ 85 per adult, $ 40 per student, $ 35 per additional lunch ticket for family and friends

Registration: Going through active

1 Cotati Accordion Festival

There aren’t many places people can attend accordion festivals, but Sonoma is one of them. This year is the 30th Cotati Accordion Festival. More than 40 groups and accordionists will perform on seven stages.

  • Appointment: September 25 – 26
  • Time: 9:30 am until evening
  • Price: $ 21 for one day and $ 29 for two days (buy in advance online for a discount)
  • Reservation: Via the Cotati Accordion Festival website

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