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September 1-3: Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, Rohnert Park
Recently named one of the best wine festivals in the country by USA TODAY, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend encompasses all things Sonoma: fine wine, food and people. Throughout the weekend, Sonoma County winemakers will host lunches, dinners and BBQs showcasing their wines and local cuisine served by star chefs. The weekend's highlight is the Taste of Sonoma, a day of food and wine fun as wineries and chefs sample the fruit of their labor. The Taste also features live music, workshops, seminars and more. Tickets start at $80. (Photo: William Pruyn)
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September 2: Sonoma County Fermentation Festival, Petaluma
Celebrate all things fermented at the annual Sonoma County Fermentation Festival, where microbiome geeks will gather to learn how to make pickles from their bumper crops of cucumbers, mead, yogurt, and other belly-friendly fermented foods. The event will feature workshops, lectures, and plenty of fermented food and drinks that will provide a power punch of flavor for your taste buds. Kid-friendly. Tickets start at $15. (Video featuring Jennifer Harris, founder of Sonoma County Fermentation Festival, directed and produced by Joshua Dylan Mellars)
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September 5-7: National Heirloom Expo, Santa Rosa
Quite possibly the largest heirloom event in the country, the National Heirloom Expo showcases heirloom fruits and vegetables from around the world. Over 100 speakers, 350 vendors, and the largest pyramid of gourds (yes, a gourd pyramid) will fill the event center at the fairgrounds and an anticipated 20,000 farmers, gardeners and curious foodies will attend. Kid friendly. Tickets start at $10.
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September 8-10: Sonoma Valley Crush, Kenwood & Glen Ellen
Ever want to experience wine harvest in person? Sonoma Valley Crush offers just that: 12 Sonoma Valley wineries open their doors to guests to meet winemakers, learn about the harvest process, taste grapes in the vineyards and drink freshly pressed juice. Each winery offers a hands-on experience, including crush pad tours. Guests will also be able to taste what Sonoma Valley is known for: pinot noir and chardonnay (and other varietals!). Tickets start at $35. (Photo: Kim Carroll)
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September 17: Sonoma Valley Uncorked, Sonoma
Enjoy a rare taste of wines that are not only hand-crafted, but also home-crafted at the 2nd annual Sonoma Valley Uncorked. Over 20 local home winemakers will pour their wine - one of the few chances to publicly taste these wines - paired with small bites from local chefs. Local musician Sean Carscadden will perform the soundtrack and a silent auction and raffle will take place, with proceeds benefiting two local nonprofits: Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance and the Kiwanis Club of Sonoma Plaza. Tickets start at $40.
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September 22-24: Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival, Sonoma
The oldest festival in California, the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival, celebrates its 120th year. The weekend kicks off with the Opening Night Gala (Tickets: $125), with 50 wineries pouring, local chefs serving, and live music and dancing. Pack a blanket on Saturday and Sunday and enjoy free, live music on the historic Plaza. Food and drinks are available for purchase, too. Saturday features a grape stomp, local artists showing off their creations, and the famous "glow parade" at 8PM. Proceeds benefit local organizations. Most events are free.
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October 1: Kendall-Jackson Harvest Celebration, Fulton
Celebrate the beginning of fall at Kendall-Jackson with a day of organic produce, garden-friendly educational seminars, local vendors, and of course - wine and gourmet food. The event will feature UC Master Gardeners presenting about beekeeping and vegetable gardening, heirloom tomato tastings, and plenty of wine to fuel one's passion for fresh, organic produce. Tickets start at $125.
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October 6-8: Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Santa Rosa
This year marks the 43rd Sonoma County Harvest Fair, which showcases the bounty of the county's wine, beer, and food industries. Winemakers, ranchers, vintners and farmers are awarded prizes for their craft. The weekend culminates in the Grand Harvest Tasting, where guests can taste over 300 award-winning wines and food pairings. Don't miss the World Championship Grape Stomp, which attracts competitors from around the world to earn their purple legs and a $1,500 prize. Tickets start at $5. (Photo by Beth Schlanker)
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October 15: Fort Ross-Seaview Wine and Harvest Festival, Jenner
Escape to the coast and taste some of the most coveted pinot noir in the world during the 4th annual Fort Ross-Seaview Wine and Harvest Festival. Taking place at the historic Fort Ross State Historic Park, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, guests can sip current releases from 13 pinot producers while nibbling on small bites from coastal chefs. Tickets start at $40.
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October 22: Pinot on the River, Healdsburg
Pinot noir fanatics will flock to downtown Healdsburg's historic plaza for a day of sipping their favorite varietal from over 100 wineries and sample food from local chefs during Pinot on the River. Most of the producers pouring don't have tasting rooms or are by appointment only, making the event a rare chance to taste small lot wines. Guests can vote on their favorite wines and 110 silent auctions lots are offered for guests to bid on, with proceeds benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County. Ticket start at $75. (Photo by Beth Schlanker)
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November 4-5: Wine & Food Affair, Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys
Grab some friends and journey up the Wine Road through Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valley to experience food and wine pairings curated by over 50 local wineries for the annual Wine & Food Affair. Wineries select their favorite recipes to share with guests, which are then available online for guests to try their hand at in their own kitchens. Participating wineries include Dutton Estate Winery, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Kokomo Winery, La Crema, Martin Ray, and many more.