Ten Must-Attend Harvest Parties

As the summer lengthens into fall, the winemakers walk the rows of vines with their refractometers, measuring brix levels to determine the optimum time to pick. Then suddenly, it’s go-time, and the vineyards are filled with workers around the clock, hurrying to get the crop in on schedule. When it’s all over, the valley heaves a collective sigh – another harvest is done. And then it’s time to celebrate. Here are a few of the best harvest parties planned for this fall.

V. Sattui will host its annual Crush Partyan evening of wine “edutainment,” a winery-wide open house, an old-fashioned grape stomp, and live music. There will even be a local barrel cooper toasting barrels. The event offers a full emersion into the winery’s viticultural and winemaking processes and a menu of foods from the live-fire Tuscan grill and wood-fired pizza ovens that pair perfectly with over 60 wines available for sampling – including barrel tastings. Saturday, October 7 from 6 to 10 pm. The event is open to Cellar Club members only, but you can become a member here.

Peju Province Winery will host its annual Grape Stomp in the heart of the vineyard, inviting visitors to kick off their shoes and experience the thrill of stomping grapes with their bare feet. This year’s highlights include a team T-shirt and costume competition, a grape-stomping competition, wine tasting, and a farm-to-table lunch prepared by Chef Alex Espinoza. Saturday, August 19 from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm. Price for wine club members is $155, $175 for non-members.

Peju Province Winery is also hosting its Harvest Reserve Release Celebration, where you can be the first to taste its newly released reserve collection, including the highly anticipated 2015 Barrel Experiment. Guests will enjoy pours of 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2014 Cabernet Franc Reserve, and 2015 Barrel Experiment, as well as sipping Peju favorites paired with light snacks. Saturday, September 9 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Club member tickets are $75, nonmembers $85.

Mi Sueño Winery is celebrating its 20th anniversary as the realization of Rolando and Lorena Herrera’s dream to become winemakers. National barbecue champions Woodhouse BBQ will be serving ribs, smoked brisket, rotisserie chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, and more. Rolando, Lorena and all their children will be there to join in the festivities, pouring their favorite Mi Sueno wines and some special old vintages. There will also be a raffle of some large format bottles. Saturday, August 12 at 11:30 am. $95 per person.

Crocker & Starr Wines is presenting its annual harvest celebration, Carnivus Maximus, with Pam Starr and Charlie Crocker popping the corks on some rare library wines, large format bottles from the cellar, and the pre-release of the 2014 Stone Place Cabernet Sauvignon. A feast from local purveyors will include Hog Island Oyster Co., Cafe ZuZu, wood-fired pizza, and Paradise Shave Ice. Guests will enjoy live music by the Sow Belly Trio, capture memories of the day in a photo booth, play games, and participate in a grand raffle. Sunday, September 3, from noon to 4 pm. Tickets are $150 general admission, with discounted prices for club members.

Rutherford Ranch Winery will celebrate harvest with the help of Nashville’s acclaimed chef Karl Worley, of Biscuit Love and Biscuit Love Brunch. Guests will enjoy a pig roast and their favorite Rutherford Ranch wines in the twilight of the winery’s olive grove with live music and entertainment for the whole family. Saturday, September 30, from 4 to 7 pm. Tickets are $50 to $75.

Bell Wine Cellars’ annual STOMP Party is for adults only, featuring food, great wines, and the opportunity to re-live everyone’s favorite episode from “I Love Lucy.” The wine-stomping competition gets fierce and the winners will take home a bottle of Bell wine with their bragging rights. You can also play a little bocce as you enjoy lunch on the patio. Saturday, September 30 from 1 to 4 pm. Tickets are $60 to $90.

Tamber Bey Vineyards’ Fall Release Party is its biggest party of the year. Guests are invited to help celebrate crush and the new vintages of Tamber Bey’s five Yountville Appellation red wines with great food, live music, and plenty of activities. Saturday, October 7, from noon to 5 pm. General admission tickets are $55, club-member guests are $45, and admission is complimentary for EQQWine Club members.

Markham Vineyards will host its annual Winemaker Harvest Dinner – production is underway in the cellar and winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls will be ready to take a break and share some of her previous vintages with Markham fans. They’ll also be pulling some older vintages out of the library to share with their guests. Saturday, October 21, from 6 pm to 9 pm. Tickets are $135 for general admission and $110 for 1879 Society Members.

Silverado Vineyards invites guests to celebrate the bounty of its 2017 harvest by meeting members of its production team and sampling the harvest menu. New release wines from Silverado’s fall wine club will also be featured. Saturday, October 14 from 2 to 4 pm. $30 for club members, $75 for non-members.

Materra | Cunat Family Vineyards is celebrating its tenth harvest with dinner by the Ring of Fire food truck, live music, Hog Island Oysters, new wine releases, and commemorative T-shirts. Saturday, August 26 from 5 to 8 pm. Tickets are $60/person, $100/couple, or join the Dean’s List for special pricing.

These popular events often sell out early so book soon!

Kirsten Mickelwait is a St. Helena-based writer who has lived and raised her family in the Napa Valley for nearly 20 years.

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