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Sonoma Valley Crush

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    WINE SCHOOL: Bet any oenophile worth her goblet could explain, from vine-planting to cork-releasing, how a bottle of wine comes together. At least in basic terms (and bravo to knowing even basic terms in an information-clogged world). But even those wine lovers who know their stuff have likely never participated in any way in a harvest season. Real world keeps the the wine lover busy (they've got to earn money to stock that rack, after all) and harvest season keeps the wine maker running. But a number of vineyards around the state are making room on their September calendars for the fans to do a bit of light participating in harvest. The Heart of Sonoma Valley winemakers are doing just that, in fact, over a five day stretch. It's called Crush, naturally, and the 2011 dates get stomping from Wednesday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Sept. 18.

    16 WINERIES: The participant list is impressive: Loxton Cellars, Kaz Winery, and and Mayo Family Winery will have Crush-oriented activities for visitors. But note you'll need a ticket, and tickets do go. Price? Thirty five dollars. You'll want to check what winery is doing what -- Kaz is having people "test acid & sugar levels" -- ohhh yeahhh -- and plan your Sonoma sojourn accordingly.