Grape Goodness: Livermore Harvest Wine Celebration

It's that time of year, and dozens of wineries are breaking out the best bottles.

THE SYMBOLS OF HARVEST TIME... are as plentiful as bottles lining the shelves of a well-stocked wine shop. You have grapes, of course, the heavy bunches that say the time is right for wine-makery. You have the vines, and the colorful leaves, which often take on tinges of gold and red. And you have the making of the wine, the vats and the tubs and the funnels and the oak barrels and the scales and the shovels and the rakes and all of the necessary implements that help the grape begin (and continue) its ultimate journey to the glass. But add to all of these picturesque and oh-so-visual symbols the image of friends out on a late-summer Sunday, trying a few wines, just at the cusp of crush madness, just when harvest is in full-on rev mode. It isn't as if vineyards lock the shutters when their busiest time of year arrives; they often take an opposite tack and invite fans and friends to a host of tasting parties and tours and season-specific celebrations. Livermore is on board with this busy-but-festive notion, as are dozens of its regional vineyards, and that all plays out with a harvest-y huzzah over Labor Day Weekend. It's time for the Harvest Wine Celebration, or nearly, an early September day-longer that's devoted to pairing wine fans with the spirit of the collective big moment shared by wineries during this time of year.

SUNDAY, SEPT. 6... is the 2015 date, a day when "over 40 wineries celebrate the exciting crush season." There are all-important transportation packages, and a trolley to boot, but if neither is your plan, make plans to pay for your designated driver friend to accompany you. Tastings at the wineries will be complemented by music played right there, on the grounds, and art happenings, and other special-to-the-day to-dos. As far as participants go? The list is lengthy, as befits a party that's been around for 34 years. Nottingham Cellars, Wood Family Vineyards, and Crooked Vine Winery are all ready to get this harvest hullabaloo rolling. It's the perfect middle point of Labor Day Weekend, too, that Sunday. Can anything you do on Labor Day Saturday or Labor Day Monday quite live up to the festive scene in Livermore?

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