Sonoma Sips: A Wine & Food Affair

The early November festivity follows the vineyard-rich Wine Road.

IS HARVEST A STATE OF MIND? Obviously and without question it is, in all things, and not just those foods that we regularly pick and clean and prepare for consumption, year after year. We can, in fact, live with a harvesty outlook in our own lives (which essentially means that we're always ready for our projects to be bountiful and presentable to the world). But certain stricter, more universally observed harvest periods do stick to the calendars, because the seasons and schedules suggest that they must. Wine's harvest time is a pretty well-defined window, and one that starts to close, at least around California, when the holidays begin to approach. The grapes are picked, the action has moved away from the vines in large part, the crushing is wrapping up, and next year's harvest seems a ways off. Which all kind of makes a big wine event in early November a beautiful and bittersweet experience. Life is leveling out a little, in terms of the big push, but the yuletide, a busy time for wineries and visitors, has yet to arrive. So, hello there, A Wine & Food Affair, which lands on that perfect post-harvest-y first weekend of November, when everyone can breathe easy but fall is still hanging a few harvest notes in the air.

NOV. 1 AND 2... are the dates for this year's Wine Road tasting celebration, which spotlights "110 participating wineries stretching across Sonoma County's Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys, sampling food and wine pairings along the way." Look at this way: While other people -- adults and kids alike -- will be digging through Halloween candy that weekend, you can be swirling a very smooth Cabernet while thinking autumnal thoughts. So is an autumnal state of mind different from a harvest state of mind? Absolutely: Autumnal thinking makes you mellow, and harvest is about producing, producing, and producing some more. We're more than game to catch that perfect weekend when harvest has chilled down, autumn's still rolling, people elsewhere are eating tiny candy bars, and wine lovers are roaming Sonoma, eyeing the best of what each winery has to offer, post-crush cool-down.

OH... And tickets? They come in a few types, and a dollar from each ticket goes to the Redwood Empire Food Bank.

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