The state of California has declared September “California Wine Month,” which is a little odd in one respect because in the Napa Valley, every month is wine month. Here are nine ways to celebrate wine—and food—this weekend in Napa Valley, including an evening with the immortal Inigo Montoya:
Experience Mt. Veeder’s best
Mt. Veeder is a mountain on the west side of Napa Valley that has been growing grapes and producing fine wines for more than 150 years. Many of its winemakers will come down from the mountain this Saturday to participate in the annual Mt. Veeder Appellation Tasting, hosted by Hess Winery. More than 30 Mt. Veeder wineries—many of which are not normally open to the public—will be present. With live music. Saturday, Sept. 6. 1-4 p.m. $75. The Hess Winery Collection, 4411 Redwood Rd., Napa. 707-266-1296
Dine on Lincoln Avenue
This Sunday evening they’re blocking traffic on Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga’s main street, to hold what they’re calling “Calistoga Harvest Table.” Fourteen Calistoga restaurants are setting up tables on the street and serving up showcase meals to participating diners in an al fresco setting. Calistoga winemakers and wineries will also be there, pouring special tastings of their reserve wines. This is the first ever Calistoga Harvest Table but if it turns out as delicious as it sounds, there will surely be a second. Sunday, Sept. 7. 6-10 p.m. $50-$250. Lincoln Ave., Calistoga. 707-942-6333.
Lend a helping hand
Hands Across the Valley provides financial support for Meals on Wheels, Food Bank, Salvation Army and other nonprofit agencies that help people in need. To date it has raised more than $2 million. Its biggest fundraising event of the year occurs this Saturday night at Charles Krug and includes a sit-down dinner, tastings from top wineries, auction, live music, dancing and special appearances by comedian Bob Sarlatte, TV sportscaster Joe Fonzi and others. Saturday, Sept. 6. 5-10 p.m. $125. Charles Krug Winery, St. Helena. 707-226-6136.
Walk—and eat—around Napa
As Napa City recovers from the recent earthquake, this may be the perfect time to show your support and eat your way around the downtown area. Sponsored by Gourmet Walks, a tour consists of a three-hour walk over a flat, one-mile route with lots of resting, tasting and eating—seven tasting stops, in all, with food for lunch too. Walk begins at the Oxbow Market, crosses the river and ends in town. Sundays, 11 a.m., year-round. Also Wednesday and Friday tours, through October. $73. 888-277-1796.
Taste the Loire Valley
Back Room Wines is hosting a tasting of wines from the Loire Valley, which, according to the press release we have here, is a wine region in France. They make wine in France? Who knew? Some of their wines are Muscadet, Sancerre and Pouillly-Fume, all of which they’ll be tasting at this Napa wine shop and bar. Might be nice to see what the French are up to; not up to California winemaking standards, of course, but oh well. Friday, Sept. 5. 5-8 p.m. Drop in, no reservations needed. Back Room Wines, 1000 Main St., Shop 120 (enter on First Street). 707-226-1378.
Visit with Inigo and friends
“Hello,” says Mandy Patinkin, “my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” If you have never seen the movie from which this immortal line comes, you need to grab a lawn chair and get yourself over to Cosentino Winery’s fourth annual movie night under the stars. And if you already know the line, you likely have already made plans to be there because fans of the 1987 adventure comedy classic, “The Princess Bride,” can watch the movie again and again and be entertained every time. Friday, Sept. 5. 8-10 p.m. $21. Includes popcorn, sweet snacks and wine tasting. Cosentino Winery, 7415 St. Helena Highway, Yountville. 707-921-2864.
Taste some Cabernet…
Pope Valley Winery is releasing its 2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon this weekend. See how it pairs with bites of chicken marsala, walnut tart and a variety of cheeses. Sat.-Sun., Sept. 6-7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $10. Pope Valley Winery, 6613 Pope Valley Road, Pope Valley. 707-965-1246.
…And blend some wine
A wine educator will walk you through the steps to become, as Rutherford Hill says, “a winemaker for the day.” Blend four different wines to make one of your own creation, bottle it, design a label for it, and take it home to astound your friends. Tasting and tour of the caves is also part of the day. Saturday, Sept. 6. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. $105. Rutherford Hill Winery, 200 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford. 707-963-187.
It’s not in Napa Valley, but it does involve a Napa winemaker and it does sound tasty
Campton Place is a Michelin star restaurant in San Francisco with 1500 wines in its cellar. As part of an ongoing dinner series with California winemakers, it will host Bill Nemerever, founder of Nemerever Vineyards in Oakville. He will talk wine and pour three examples of his 2012 vintage, to be followed by a dinner by Campton chef Srijith Gopinathan, whipping up a California-Indian masterpiece. Tuesday, Sept. 9. 7 p.m. $150. Taj Campton Place, 340 Stockton St., San Francisco. 415-781-5555.