Grape picking started early this year. July. Blame global warming.
There are still plenty of harvest festivals to check out the next couple weekends, though — our favorite of the Wine Country year, in fact. (Two weekends before Halloween is our rule of thumb. Forecast for Sunday? Sunny and 78.)
To wit, the four events you should be parking your tannin-stained keister at:
1) Drink with purpose at Harvest Hounds, where 10 percent of purchases goes to Napa Humane and guest dogs (and you can bring your own) get to snack on a variety of artisanal treats. Seriously: expect “homemade designer cookies” from Ma Snax. For the dogs. October 17
2) Spend $100 on wine and get a free pairing of food and “Autumn release wines” at Dutton-Goldfield’s Harvest Party in Sebastopol — previously recommended here as one of our favorite destinations north of the City. Save room for ice cream at Screaming Mimi’s afterward. October 24
3) Kids are usually bored senseless at wineries — not so at Fieldstone Winery’s fifth annual harvest festival, where they can take draft horse-drawn carriage rides through the vineyards. Crafts, too. Oenophilic but competent parents rejoice. October 24, but reserve by October 19
4) Like pinot noir? Like really, really like it, to the exclusion of all other varietals? Then you want to be in Healdsburg next Sunday for Pinot on the River, a 100-winery “grand tasting” event. Participating “small production artisanal pinot producers” range from Alexander Valley Vineyards to Wren Hop Vineyards. Make a night of it and book a room at the Hotel Healdsburg. October 25
Photo via Flickr