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Harvest Happenings 2003: West Coast


Tim Fish
Posted: September 8, 2003

Among its harvest festivities, Chateau Souverain offers barrel tastings, vineyard tours and wine-and-cheese pairings.
Harvest Happenings 2003
 
West Coast Events:
 
California
 
Pacific Northwest
 
British Columbia
 
East Coast Events:
 
New York
 
Ontario
 
Texas
 
Virginia
 
Elsewhere
 

CALIFORNIA

There's no shortage of wineries that open their cellar doors to visitors but we've culled a handful that offer first-rate tours. We've also included some of the more popular wine events from around California, some small and some large, but each giving visitors a taste of harvest.

Wineries

BENZIGER FAMILY WINERY
1883 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen
Telephone (888) 490-2739
Web site
www.benziger.com
Here's a tour that lets visitors kick back and relax, Sonoma County style. The 45-minute tractor-driven tram tour takes you from rolling hillside vineyards to the winery crush pad. The fee is $10 a person. Tours offered daily on the half hour from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

CHATEAU SOUVERAIN
400 Souverain Road, Geyserville
Telephone (888) 80-WINES
Web site www.chateausouverain.com
Get a look backstage at this handsome Alexander Valley winery, which is open for harvest tours by appointment through Nov. 16. Tour includes a walk through the vineyards, a wine tasting direct from the barrel in the aging cellar and a wine-and-cheese pairing. The fee is $15 a person.

EBERLE WINERY
3810 Highway 46 East, Paso Robles
Telephone (805) 238-9607
Web site www.eberlewinery.com
One of the best tours on the Central Coast is at this Paso Robles winery. The VIP Tour and Tasting, by appointment only, treks from the vineyards to the winery and ends with a wine tasting in the barrel-aging cave. The fee is $20.

ROBERT MONDAVI WINERY
7801 Highway 29, Oakville
Telephone (888) 766-6328, ext. 2000
Web site www.mondavi.com
This Napa Valley landmark has a number of tours, but the Harvest Tour and Tasting is offered at 10 a.m. every Wednesday through October. It's a three-hour tour that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the winery's harvest and winemaking process, from the vineyard to the bottle. Includes a sit-down tasting of selected wines paired with fruit and cheeses. Reservations are required. The fee is $35.

SEBASTIANI VINEYARDS
389 Fourth St. East, Sonoma
Telephone (800) 888-5532
Web site www.sebastiani.com
The Soil to Bottle seminar gives the best behind-the-scenes look at this historic and newly renovated Sonoma Valley winery. The one-hour tour -- offered at 10:30 a.m. Thursday to Sunday -- begins amid the vines, then explores the crush pad and fermentation tanks, and ends with a tasting. The fee is $20. Reservations are required.

ST. SUPÉRY VINEYARD
8440 Highway 29, Rutherford
Telephone (800) 942-0809
Web site www.stsupery.com
Take the tour of your choice at this Napa Valley winery. The most straightforward is the self-guided tour, which allows visitors to go at their own pace, watching the winery in action and interacting with hands-on exhibits. There's also a one-hour guided tour, for a $5 fee, that is offered twice daily. For an in-depth look, there's the daylong Harvest Adventure Tour, which is offered on Sept. 12 and 26; it takes visitors into the vineyards to learn how to pick grapes, then heads into the winery, and ends with a wine-blending seminar. A continental breakfast and lunch are included, and the fee is $250. Reservations for the guided tours are required.

Events

A CELEBRATION OF HARVEST
6600 Foxen Canyon Road, Santa Maria
Telephone (805) 688-0881
Web site www.sbcountywines.com
The Santa Barbara Vintners' Association sponsors this annual autumn shindig on Oct. 11. This year it gathers 70 area wineries to pour their wines at Rancho Sisquoc Winery. Plus live music and a silent auction. Hours are noon to 4 p.m., and admission is $50.

AMADOR VINTNERS HARVEST FESTIVAL
Various locations
Telephone (888) 655-8614
Web site www.amadorwine.com
More than 20 wineries take part in the annual two-day tour dubbed The Big Crush. Ticket price includes wine tastings at any of the participating producers, live music, food, tours and plenty of harvest action. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 4 and 5. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 day of event.

PASO ROBLES HARVEST WINE TOUR
Locations vary
Telephone (805) 239-8463
Web site www.pasowine.com
This three-day event, Oct. 17, 18 and 19, is put on by the Paso Robles Vintners and Growers Association and includes winemaker dinners, seminars, harvest tours and barrel tastings. Fees, locations and hours vary.

SAN LUIS OBISPO HARVEST CELEBRATION
Telephone (805) 541-5868
Web site www.slowine.com
The San Luis Obispo Vintners & Growers Association welcomes the harvest with this Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 event that includes a food-and-wine pairing, a grand tasting and a harvest Halloween auction and dinner. Fees, locations and hours vary.

SONOMA COUNTY HARVEST FAIR
Telephone (707) 545-4203
Web site www.harvestfair.org
Sonoma celebrates its own with this annual affair at the county fairgrounds in Santa Rosa from Oct. 3 to 5. Highlights include wine tastings and a grape-stomp championship. Fees and hours vary.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

Most of the wineries in Oregon and Washington are small and family owned, and only a handful offer official tours. But stop by the tasting room of any small winery, and you're bound to see harvest in full swing. Below are a few wineries that offer tours, along with a sampling of harvest-related events.

Wineries

COLUMBIA CREST WINERY
Highway 221, Columbia Crest Drive, Paterson, Wash.
Telephone (888) 309-9463
Web site
www.columbiacrestwinery.com
A free self-guided tour allows visitors to peep behind the scenes at this Washington winery. Begin in the vineyard, stop at the crush pad and barrel room, then finish with a tasting. Open daily for tours 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

ARCHERY SUMMIT WINERY
18599 N.E. Archery Summit Road, Dayton, Ore.
Telephone (503) 864-4300
Web site www.archerysummitwinery.com
This Oregon Pinot Noir specialist offers tours three times daily by reservation.

DOMAINE DROUHIN
6750 Breyman Orchard Road N.E., Dundee, Ore.
Telephone (503) 864-2700
Web site www.domainedrouhin.com
This impressive estate owned by French négociant Maison Joseph Drouhin is open for tours, by appointment, Wednesday to Saturday.

Events

GRAPE STOMP AND HARVEST CELEBRATION
8800 Enchanted Way S.E., Turner, Ore.
Telephone (800) 344-9463
Web site www.wvv.comm
Put your grape-stomping skills to the test on Sept. 20 and 21 at Willamette Valley Vineyards. Also includes live music and food. Admission is free.

COLUMBIA VALLEY CATCH THE CRUSH
Various locations
Telephone (866) 360-6611
Web site www.columbiavalleywine.com
Tour 15 Washington wineries as part of this Sept. 27 and 28 fete sponsored by the Columbia Valley Winery Association. Includes tastings, tours, grape stomps and live music. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

FESTIVAL OF THE GRAPE
14111 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville, Wash.
Telephone (425) 415-3300
Web site www.chateaustemichelle.com
Chateau Ste. Michelle hosts this Sept. 14 harvest celebration, which features food, wine, a grape stomp and lessons on winemaking and Washington wine history. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is $20.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

MISSION HILL FAMILY ESTATE
1730 Mission Hill Rd., Westbank
Telephone (250) 768-7611
Web site
www.missionhillwinery.com
Daily tours include a theater presentation on the Okanagan Valley, a guided tour of the architecture and a visit to the barrel cellar, with a tasting of three wines. Tours are hourly from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 19, for $5 per person. Detailed vineyard tours and private tours, which include a private tasting with a wine educator, are available by appointment, for $15 each. During the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival (below), Mission Hill is hosting many events, including a viticulture tour, a Canadian wine-and-cheese seminar, a Chardonnay vertical tasting and wine-pairing dinners. Seminars are $35 each, dinners $150. Reservations recommended.

Events

OKANAGAN FALL WINE FESTIVAL
Various locations
Telephone (250) 861-6654
Web site www.owfs.com
Each year, the Fall Wine Festival takes place on the 10 days leading up to the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. This year that dates are Oct. 3 to 12. More than 50 wineries will participate, offering a score of events: seminars, tastings, vineyard tours, brunches, lunches, dinners, a clambake, a pig roast and an auction. Locations, prices and hours vary.

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