SEPTEMBER TIME... 'round about the vines is crush and harvest and California Wine Month and the time for some seriously bustling visitor action in the tasting rooms and on the tour front. If ever there was an "everything's happening at once" period around wine country, it is the mondo month sandwiched between back-to-schooling and Halloweening. Though whether it is mondo enough, for the people who make wine and love wine, is another question; September might be 45 days, or even 60 days, if they had their way. There's a lot to fit into the time allotted, in short, but Sonoma Wine Country Weekend does a fine job of taking care of the most important stuff first. And that most important stuff does not involve lining up the creme-topped canapes or lining up the stemware just so. Rather, it is all about making sure that several Sonoma County charities benefit from the multi-day food & wine fundraiser, organizations like Habitat for Humanity Sonoma County, Operation Blanket, Sebastopol Senior Center, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley. The weekend, which runs from Friday to Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, is, in fact, "Sonoma County's signature, and largest, charity event."
MEET THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE WINE: A caboodle of people who spend their days among the leaves and in the big boots, deep in grape skins, will be at lunches and dinners built around bottlings from the area, and the people who make food that's famous 'round Sonoma shall be in the house, too. Or, rather, at MacMurray Estate Vineyards in Healdsburg, for Taste of Sonoma, where "over 60 local chefs" shall be "whipping up divine pairings." There are more to-dos throughout the three-day run, from wine talks to wine tours and beyond. If you can't go Sonoma, at least during this jam-packed harvest season in full rev, there are other happenings around various California wine countries in the weeks ahead, and, indeed, some shall fundraise as well. Want the grid of grape-strong happenings across the Golden State? Tip that cork in this direction.