With still a month of 100-degree weather (or more), many Scottsdale wine lovers find themselves cooped up inside with a good glass of wine rather than enjoying al fresco dining - and wine sampling - more often than they would like.
California Wine Month in September was created by the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers and proclaimed by Governor Jerry Brown to highlight the state’s rich wine history and all that its vintners and growers add to the lifestyle and economy of the Golden State. Dozens of wineries and wine regions throughout the state celebrate California Wine Month each September with special tastings, events and offers.
Below is just a snapshot of happenings through September 30:
About the same distance by car from Scottsdale to Las Vegas – and just an hour’s drive from San Diego, Orange County or Palm Springs – is the best kept wine secret in California – Temecula. With legions less tourists than Northern California juggernauts Sonoma and Napa and vineyards as far as the eye can see, the diverse climate – raising as high as 11,500 feet in some areas, allows a wide variety of grapes to grow including Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Syrah, Grenache, Sangiovese, and even Tempranillo. While the region is best-known for Wilson Creek, a sparkling wine-focused vineyard available at most wine and high-end grocery stores in the area, there are resorts, spas, vineyard tours and even grapes being grown in caves that are more than worth the trip.
Temecula Valley’s 35 wineries are inviting fans to explore the Southland’s premier wine country in style. Those with a taste for adventure can take advantage of the Sip Passport, which visitors can exchange for a full tasting flight at any four wineries for just $35!
“September is the most beautiful time of year to visit wine country,” says Nick Palumbo, owner/winemaker of Palumbo Family Vineyards and president of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association. “The beginning of our harvest season is evident everywhere and the excitement level is high. Visitors have a good chance of seeing grapes being processed into wine or gondolas towed by tractors along the wine country roads.”
Visit TemeculaWines.org and click on Events to purchase Sip Passports or to explore what Sothern California Wine Country has to offer.
Lodi wine country rolls out the red carpet through September 30 for its second annual LoCA Road Trip Passport, offering an all-access pass to exclusive events and discounts from over 45 participating wineries. Passport holders can enjoy cycling excursions, vineyard tours, barrel tastings, bottling demonstrations, grape stomps, wine and cheese pairing classes, live music, winemaker dinners and more.
The Madera Vintners Association’s California Wine Month Tasting Reception will feature 10 regional wineries offering tastings, plus music and bites from local restaurants on Sept. 26.
Wine and food lovers can step into the pages of Sunset magazine and savor the California Central Coast wine country lifestyle Sept. 26-29 at Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast, featuring four days of culinary immersion in San Luis Obispo County, including culinary and outdoor adventure tours, wine and food celebrity seminars, more than 200 regional wine tastings, and evening events at Hearst Castle, Pismo Beach and at Vina Robles winery in Paso Robles. Nearby in the Paso Robles wine region, wine lovers can enjoy the 46 West Wineries Summer Block Party on Sept. 7 in Templeton, a mini-wine festival with tastings from 16 wineries along with great food and music.
No time to put the top down and visit the wine trails? No problem! Take a California Wines Road Trip in one stop on Sept. 21 at the Wine Institute’s official California Wine Month celebration at San Francisco’s Ferry Building. Guests can taste more than 100 California wines from 12 regions with artisanal cheeses and salumi. Attendees can also enter to win one of several trips for two to California wine country.
Sailing and wine enthusiasts can pair their favorite pastimes at the Napa Valley Wine Lounge at America’s Cup Race Park through September 21, sampling Napa Valley wines by the glass and light bites as they watch the races from Piers 27/29 in San Francisco.
For addition information, please visit www.discovercaliforniawines.com.