Once the busy grape harvest starts in Wine Country, parties, lunches, blending sessions, special hikes and even half-marathons get rolling, because there's nothing better when you're busy than being busier in the name of fun.
Get out there and take it all in — these parties are for you.
Alexander Valley Vineyards Sunday Vineyard Hikes: Today and the next two Sundays (Sept. 15, 22 and 29), head up to the Alexander Valley to walk the Wetzel Family Estate, home of Alexander Valley Vineyards. The 10 a.m. guided hike meanders through the vineyards, allowing time to taste as you go and see the winery in action.
Post-hike, taste barrel samples in the winery's underground wine cave and then lounge around on the. winery porch and picnic. The tour is fairly easy, though it does include some hills and dirt trails. Reservations are required. $50/person with boxed picnic lunch; $30/person hike only.
Dry Creek Vineyard's Meritage: The Art of the Blend: Release your inner winemaker and join Dry Creek Vineyard in a liquid explanation of what it takes to blend a Meritage wine, a specific combination of Bordeaux-style red (or white) consisting of varying percentages of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, Malbec, cabernet Franc and petit verdot.
Learn, taste, measure and create one of your own in this fun harvest-time activity offered Saturdays and Sundays by appointment only. $45/person.
800-864-9463, ext. 103, drycreekvineyard.com
Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon: Do something good for your body as you admire the Healdsburg area's bulging vineyards by running this half marathon (13.1 miles) on Saturday, Oct. 26.
With proceeds going to charity, the runs are light on hardcore competition, big on costumes (this is a Halloween-themed race) and a jovial spirit of revelry. It concludes with a genteel Wine & Music Festival at Trentadue Winery from 9:30 a.m. to noon, post-race, followed by an awards ceremony at Lake Sonoma, where team awards and the Winery Challenge Cup are given, in addition to best costume nods.
Jordan Winery Estate Tour and Tasting: Newly launched is Jordan's lovely three-hour walking and driving tour of its far-reaching 1,200-acre Alexander Valley estate, venturing into pockets rarely seen outside of friends and family.
Along the way enjoy a tasting of current-release and library chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, homegrown olive oil and seasonal food pairings by in-house executive chef Todd Knoll. Tours run Thursday through Monday at 10 a.m. through mid-November. $120/person.
Legendary Napa Bike Wine Tour: On Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, head out on a 55-mile bike ride through the Napa Valley in a group of just 30 riders, led by professional tour rider George Hincapie and commentator Bob Roll.
Beginning with a kick-off dinner on Halloween night at Vineyard 29 and pairings overseen by Master of Wine Peter Marks, who'll focus on reserve Napa Valley wines made by winemakers who are also cycling enthusiasts, riding starts Friday after breakfast at Auberge du Soleil resort. Between riding times, participants will be treated to wine tasting and gourmet food, a lunch stop planned at Pine Ridge Winery and then on to Velo Vino, Clif Family Winery's tasting spot in St. Helena, for a finale of dessert and wine pairings. $1,750/person, proceeds to benefit the Napa County Bicycle Coalition.