3 Spring Wine Events in Sonoma County You Won’t Want to Miss
Even the most modest of wine drinkers likely know that spring is when you visit the vineyards of Northern California. The heat brings the harvest, and come August, Sonoma County winemaking—and tasting—is in full swing.
But before all that comes an exciting opportunity for people to connect with those who make these incredible libations, bringing wine lovers the chance to experience the industry a little differently.
It’s known as the spring wine event season, and it is upon us.
SOMO Village recently had the opportunity to sit down with Adam Ryan, Director of Sales and Marketing at Coursey Graves Estate Vineyards and Winery, to discuss:
- Why spring is such an interesting time for the industry
- Local wine events you won’t want to miss this year
- The wineries to look for while you’re there
Here’s what we learned.
SOMO Village: What is it about the spring that makes it such an interesting time in Sonoma County for vineyards and wine?
Adam: You know, it’s interesting, there’s actually a lot going on. In the vineyards, everybody is typically focused on what’s happening in September and October, which is harvest time. But there’s so much other work that happens during this time of year.
Here at the Coursey Graves Estate, we just finished pruning all of our vineyards, setting up what’s going to be all of our new growth for the coming year. Our team prunes all but two canes on each vine, setting up the base for the new vintage growth.
And you’re just starting to see things come alive again. Crops are sprouting and flowering. All the hillsides and the valleys are full of bright fresh green grass.
Right now you have wildflowers blooming, and our vineyards are all covered in these little native orange flowers. You’ll also see things like bright purple bachelor buttons and clovers.
It’s probably my very favorite time of year. I think it’s just so beautiful.
Do vineyards do any limited edition wines during this time? Or are the types of wines the same throughout the year?
For us, we’re focused on very specific wines. And it’s all about improving that process every single year through our vineyard and winemaking practices.
Right now, we’ve finished fermentation and all the wines go down into the cellar. We have two vintages that are in cellar right now. One will be there for a whole other year, at least, and the other, we’re starting to refine the blendings.
We’ll take fruit from one little acre here, and one acre there, and start trying to find ways to blend those together. Our winemaker is spending a lot of time going through and assembling those blends.
There’s also a lot of buttoning down the cellar, cleaning up from old barrels. And so there’s activity but the actual winemaking is over for right now. We’ll start to see everything pick up again in late spring, early summer—around June—where we will begin bottling all of our 2021 vintage.
There’s a six-week window of harvest, starting sometimes as early as August. A lot of white wines will be harvested in August. Most of our red wines will be harvested in September or October.
After that the vineyard goes into a stage of dormancy until the next spring’s “bud break,” which is when you’ll see the first little buds starting to open up. And that will be new growth that will give new clusters.
Is that why there are so many wine events happening around this time of year in the spring? Because the vineyards aren’t dormant but they’re also not busy with the harvest?
Yes, it is. You’re starting to see better weather and you’re encouraging people to travel. You can also celebrate things like bud break happening.
Plus, winemakers are slower right now, so they can commit to being at events, whereas, come late summer, they’re too busy with vineyard management and winemaking.
Are there any wine events happening this spring that you recommend people check out?
The big wine auctions usually happen in March, April, and May. Winemakers put forward their best wines for people to come and taste and put wines up for auction and donation.
There’s one happening at the end of April called Uncork for Hope, which is in Huntington Beach. Proceeds go to charity, the Uncork for Hope Foundation. There’s some really great wineries from Sonoma County and Napa County that will all be in attendance for that.
Taste of Sonoma is on June 25th, and that’ll be on the grounds of Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates and Gardens in Santa Rosa. There’s probably going to be at least 100 wineries in attendance at that one.
Mags for AG is another event happening on May 18th in Healdsburg. It’s a food and wine event where all the proceeds go back to two local nonprofits, Farm to Pantry and Piggy Bank.
Are there any standout wineries to look for at these events?
Two that come to mind are Lando Wines and Chenoweth Wines.
Lando Wines is owned by a gentleman named Sam Lando, and he is a phenomenal person. It’s a family business—him and his wife and his two kids. They’re really passionate, and give tons of money back to the community. They will definitely be in attendance at Uncork for Hope, Taste of Sonoma and Mags for Ags.
Amy Chenoweth is the founder of Chenoweth Wines—and they are out in the Russian River Valley with a tasting room in Sebastopol. She will definitely be in attendance at those three events as well.
Both wineries will likely be doing Sonoma Coast and Red River Valley Pinot Noirs.
Sam Lando has one called Truth and Valor, which is a Pinot Noir blend from Sonoma Coast. That’s a standout. He also has another one, a Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay, which is from the Russian River Valley.
Chenoweth has a single vineyard Pinot Noir called Green Valley of the Russian River.
One last one would be Sangiacomo Wines. The Sangiacomo family are based in Sonoma and they originally started farming pears back in the early 1900s, and then eventually moved over to becoming grape farmers. For a long time, they just sold their grapes. Then, in the last couple years, they started making their own wines and have a wine label themselves. They’ve been a huge part of the agriculture part of this business here.
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If you’re interested in living in a sustainable community that fuses the best of city living with the country lifestyle and all the amazing things that Sonoma County has to offer, we invited you to visit SOMO Village. To learn more, download our residential project brief or get in touch with us today.