When you think of summer wine festivals, does your mind go to sunshine? Of course it does! Well, leave it to me to recommend wine festivals in August that take place in two of the coldest, foggiest summer climates in the world: the Sonoma Coast and San Francisco. Cold weather is not a guarantee; I have been surprised in the past. However, it is likely. But if I’m going to brave the cold (I hate the cold more than most people), you can too! Believe me, it is well worth it to be able to taste some rare, wonderful wines while enjoying exceptional food and music.
West of West Wine Festival, Occidental, Friday-Sunday, August 3-5
Experience first-hand the extraordinary wine, food and culture of the West Sonoma Coast at the West of West (WOW) Wine Festival, which offers wine lovers an insider taste of some of the most acclaimed cool-climate Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Syrahs on the market today. Created by the West Sonoma Coast Vintners, an association of wineries and growers on Sonoma’s coastline, WOW will be held just one hour north of San Francisco in the quaint coastal hamlet of Occidental.
WOW gives you unparalleled access to small production, limited release wines tasted in the terroir where they were grown. The Festival begins with Welcome Dinners hosted by member wineries on Friday night, August 3rd. These dinners offer a rare opportunity to dine with winemakers in their home or winery. Saturday begins with morning seminars, interviews and flight tastings, followed by the first of two Grand Tastings on Saturday afternoon and Whole Hog Feast Celebration in the evening. On Sunday, at the second Grand Tasting, you’ll be able to taste any wines you missed on Saturday.
Yorkville Highlands Wine Festival – 10th Anniversary Festival Celebration, Yorkville Cellars Yorkville, CA, August 4th
Once a year in August, the Yorkville Highlands Growers and Vintners Association hosts the Yorkville Highlands Wine Festival in the scenic hills of southern Mendocino County. This year’s festival celebrates the 10th anniversary of sharing the delights from one of California’s most remarkable and romantic appellations. Highlights include tasting award-winning Yorkville wines made and grown within the region, delicious regional cuisine, music, a tempting silent auction, grape stomp and other wild and wacky games.
Wine Lands at Outside Lands, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Aug. 10-12
This huge festival in Golden Gate Park has not only an incredible lineup of music (about 70 bands over three days) but also a great lineup of wine! Headliners for music this year are Neil Young, Metallica and Stevie Wonder. I’ll be working in the wine tent (Wine Lands) Friday and Saturday. Look for Qupe winery!
“Outside Lands is not just a rock concert. It’s an all-encompassing concept – a miniature city that rises in the middle of the park and bustles with great local food, beautiful people and nonstop music from every imaginable genre on about a half dozen stages.”
Meet the winemakers and taste from over 40 Monterey County wineries and 150 wines. Enjoy live music provided by Red Beans & Rice, indulge in great local food from the Barnyard Restaurants and make wine purchases from the “Try and Buy” Wine Marketplace.
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, August 31st– Sept. 2
Discover the diversity and world-class quality of the region’s artisanal wine and food. Two main events, Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch on Saturday, August 31st and Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction presented by TricorBraun WinePak on Sunday, September 2nd are the signature attractions. More than 170 wineries and 60 chefs offer their wines and food for sampling at Taste of Sonoma, which also includes wine seminars, chef demonstrations, vineyard experiences and a top chef competition.