As autumn eases into our reality, we find comfort in the knowledge that we can toast the end of yet another amazing summer of wine tasting by enjoying Livermore Valley’s Harvest Wine Celebration!
The Celebration is a great way to spend a Labor Day weekend. Although the “main event” is on Sunday, with many wineries adding live music and food offerings to their celebratory wine flight, many of the wineries keep the party going on Monday by continuing to honor the wristbands. One last big summer event to cap off the season!
With so many wineries participating, and so much to see, hear, and taste, a solid strategy is important. Some years we try to visit as many wineries as possible, meaning that we have (at most) one sip of wine per location before moving to our next stop. This year we flipped that strategy, focusing on a deeper experience at fewer wineries. No single approach is best, but the event comes around every year, so experimentation can add uniqueness to every event!
We started our day at Murrieta’s Well because of the integrated experience that we knew we would receive. From the moment we checked in, receiving our logo glasses and wristbands, we knew that our choice was being rewarded. Their Dry Rosé balanced grapefruit and mango notes into a refreshing kick-off to the day. We wandered into the barrel room and tasted some consistent favorites: the Whip, The Spur, and their amazing Merlot. We saw plank after plank of cheese and charcuterie streaming out to tables of happy tasters. After soaking in the barrel room vibe, we went out to the broad grassy area and sat at an umbrella table. We sipped on our favorite tastes (re-visits are encouraged here) and enjoyed some acoustic music by Brandon Pasion. Things were already going VERY well!
From Murrieta’s Well, we went to the Fenestra Winery. Not only do we love their wine, today they were also hosting two other wineries: Nella Terra Cellars and Elliston Vineyards. Three wineries in one stop. Strategy! We arrived to find that quite a few other tasters had made the very same decision. Luckily, there is plenty of parking and an expansive tree-covered lawn area for enjoying the wine, music, and oyster bar. We were very happy with our choice.
We got tastes of Fenestra’s Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah (divide and conquer works very well at events like this) and found some seats in the shady lawn. The band LunaFish was in fine form, and had the crowd rocking right along with them. Although food allergies kept us away from the Backyard Bayou tent, we could see plenty of happy people enjoying their oyster plates. There were smiling faces in every direction!
After a bit, we strolled over to the Nella Terra tent. Nella Terra Cellars is challenging to visit because they are only open one weekend a month, with most of their time focused on hosting weddings at their lovely property. We enjoyed a crisp Viognier and a seductive Pinot Noir as we chatted with their wine guides.
We next visited the Elliston Vineyards table. They were pouring two different sparkling wines, one traditional and one rosé, which is certainly gaining in popularity. I had a taste of their Syrah and was not disappointed: plenty of fruit up front and enough finish to stand up to food. It was wonderful to catch up with Elliston after far too long apart!
Before we knew it, another Harvest Wine Celebration had come to a close, at least for Sunday. There was so much that we could not see, but as they say in baseball, there’s always next year!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?