How to Crush this Season’s Harvest The best ways to experience California wine – beyond the tasting room

by | Sep 23, 2016 | Eve's Wine 101, Food & Wine

 Each year, winemakers across the world gauge the perfect day for harvest – considering a number of factors that will ultimately influence the final product.  Following harvest, which typically occurs from late August to early October, the grapes are sorted and crushed, among other things.  What’s the benefit to your glass, you ask?  During this busy season in the industry, wine regions explode with various events and festivals – from grape stomping to harvest festivals.
I’ve learned that, besides visiting a winery, there are many other ways to experience wine, including interesting events that not only serve to educate your palate but are also designed for guests looking for a more comprehensive approach to the glass.
In this issue, I’ll give you a few ideas of what to plan for this season, including: festivals, a holiday tasting party, a local wine dinner and wine trips both near and far.

A festival for the underdogs – Paso Robles
The Garagiste Wine Festival, dubbed “one of the most exuberant wine festivals because of the thrill of discovery,” celebrates its sixth anniversary in Paso Robles from November 10-13, with more than 60 garagiste winemakers pouring 200+ handcrafted, micro-production wines, according to the Los Angeles Times.  Held at Paso Robles Fairgrounds, this event includes: a Grand Tasting with rare and reserve wines, intimate and educational tasting seminars, a rocking after-party, and more.
Some funds support the Garagiste Festival Scholarship Fund/Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture program.  For tickets and information, please visit

The ultimate harvest festival – Santa Barbara
During Columbus Day weekend, Santa Barbara Vitners host the Celebration of Harvest, dubbed the “Ultimate Fall Wine and Food Festival,” at Old Mission Santa Inés.  Vintners take a break from the vineyards and cellars to pour their wines and share harvest tales at the Festival Grand Tasting on Saturday, October 8 from 1-4 p.m.  A harvest dinner is available on Friday, and a wine seminar is available on Saturday, as well.  For information and tickets, please visit

An elegant wine and food pairing – Santa Clarita Valley
Locals are once again invited to attend a Mystic Hills Vineyard Wine Tasting paired with appetizers at our very own Salt Creek Grille in Valencia on November 3.  With delicious wines and expertly paired plates, this is one local event you won’t want to miss this harvest season.  Stay tuned for tickets and details.
For more information, please visit

Santa Clarita’s own garagiste festival – Newhall
Assistance League’s 9th Annual Sunset in the Vineyard fundraiser will be held on Sunday, November 6 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the picturesque Compa Vineyard and homes of Jeannie, Chris and Tim Carpenter.  Chairpersons Jeannie Carpenter, Chris Cook and Stacey Mayfield are looking forward to welcoming members of the community and promise an unforgettable afternoon celebrating our local “garagiste” and commercial artisans while helping Assistance League to increase its philanthropic efforts in the Santa Clarita Valley.
For more information, please visit

A flight of wine-related events – Los Angeles, Napa and Greece
Regardless of the season, is a great outlet for events and education.  The organizer, Ian Blackburn, is a dedicated event producer, wine instructor and a Master of Wine of student, which is considered “the most respected title in wine.”  Events for November and December include tastings such as “Barolo and Brunello,” “STARS of Cabernet” and “Exploring Champagne” in Los Angeles, in addition to well organized wine trips to Greece in November and Napa in January.
For more information, please visit

Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email [email protected] to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via [email protected].