There is no better time to visit California than the fall. The weather is cooling, the scenery is changing beautifully, and wineries are announcing their new releases. Wine festivals are the perfect way to celebrate a love of wine with others and sample new varieties. Here are our recommendations for the best California wine festivals to attend this fall.
Sonoma County Harvest Fair
Santa Rosa, CA, October 5-7, 2018
For the 42nd year, Sonoma County celebrates their local harvest with a complete farm to table experience. Taste the best cuisine, beer, ciders, and wine the area has to offer. The fair focuses around a Grand Tasting Pavilion where visitors can try wines from over 100 Sonoma wineries. A Wine Country Market hosts vendors selling local goods including handcrafted jewelry, clothing, soaps, olive oil, and much more. You also can’t miss the annual grape stomp. Teams dress in matching costumes to compete for bragging rights and a $1,500 prize. Attendees can purchase bottles of award winning wines as well as new fall releases before they’re available from grocers.
Riverbank Cheese and Wine Exposition
Riverbank, CA, October 13-14, 2018
What pairs better with wine than cheese? This year Riverbank California celebrates their 41st annual Cheese and Wine Exposition. You can sample both local and imported wine during a three hour tasting period each day. A designated “cheese zone” lets attendees immerse themselves in the experience of trying the best local cheeses. Fan favorites include a tempura cheesecake and deep fried cheese curds. This event is fun for the whole family with carnival rides, games, and live music.
Harvest Wine Weekend
Paso Robles, CA, October 19-21, 2018
The Paso Robles Harvest Wine Weekend is a truly unique event because of its collaborative spirit. The festival is not limited to a central location, but is held across almost every winery in the region. Even wineries not generally open to the public offer tours and tastings for this weekend only. As the number of visitors grow each year, so does the friendly competition between wineries. Live music, local cuisine, special tours, seminars, grape stomps, and exclusive tastings of new wines have become the norm. The festival brags to be free of “tension or pretension” inviting anyone to enjoy delicious wine and relax surrounded by breathtaking views.
To find your way between wineries, grab a copy of our Paso Robles Wine Country map.
San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival
San Diego, CA, November 12-18, 2018
The San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival is the largest wine and food competition on the west coast. Walk along the gorgeous San Diego marina while tasting up to 700 types of wine and beer, both local and imported. Sample the best in local cuisine as 60 San Diego chefs compete for best dishes. There are also free cooking classes, wine tasting seminars, and live performances. Vendors sell homemade crafts and luxury goods.
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