Harvest time is around the corner again, the best time of year to get your hands dirty (or not) and enjoy the way wine brings people together to enjoy hard work, the outdoors and great meals.
With hands-on experiences available as well as parties galore, there's something for everyone. So get out there and remember why it's so cool to live in Wine Country.
August 18 — Red, White & Wood-fired at Lynmar Estate: A celebrated pairing of Southwest food — from pork loin, zucchini and polenta cake — sourced from local gardens and Sonoma County purveyors, with Lynmar's gorgeous pinot noir and chardonnay, set within the property's Redwood Grove. From 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. $65. 3909 Frei Road, Sebastopol, 829-3374, lynmarestate.com.
August 18 — Grape to Glass Pre-Harvest Party: A kick-off to the Russian River Valley Wine-growers'annual fall weekend of festivities, with wines from more than 50 wineries and growers, bites from local restaurants and caterers, a silent auction, a sit-down dinner by Smokehouse Bistro as a live auction gets going and dancing under the open sky at Richard's Grove & Saralee's Vineyard. From 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. $85. 3575 Slusser Road, Windsor, 521-2534, rrvw.org.
August 18 — Jazzy Summer Nights at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards: The third of Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards' new jazz series, this time with The Peter Welker All-Star Band, a 10-piece band featuring vocalist Deborah Winters. Food is from Mateo Granados' Yucatan food truck. Seatings are limited, so reserve ahead. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. $35. 4401 Slusser Road, Windsor, 237-3489, sonomacutrer.com.
August 19 — Rubber Ducky Derby at Gundlach Bundschu Winery: Gun Bun hosts its second annual Ducky Derby to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley. It's a fun day of wine tasting, kids' games and picnic lunch that begins by adopting a duck online, then coming to cheer it on during the race. The race starts at 11:30 a.m. Prices of ducks vary. 2000 Denmark St., Sonoma, 938-5277, gunbun.com or bgcsonoma.org.
August 25 — Ravenswood 21st Annual Designate Release Party: The No Wimpy Wines winery takes a day to preview its 2010 vintage of single vineyard designated wines with longtime growers Teldeschi, Dickerson, Old Hill, Belloni and Barricia, many of whom will be on hand to tell stories and hang out with winemaker Joel Peterson for a day of food, music, games and hikes in the nearby hills. From noon to 4:30 p.m. $20. 18701 Gehricke Road, Sonoma, 933-2336, ravenswoodwinery.com.
August 30 — Sunset Paella Supper with Gerard at DaVero: Join DaVero founders Ridgely Evers and Colleen McGlynn in a casual evening of garden strolling and a rabbit paella feast, served with DaVero's wines. Seating is limited to 24 guests, so book ahead. At 6:30 p.m. $85. 766 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 431-8000 ext 1, davero.com.
August 31 -- B Cellars Wine Blending Boot Camp: Learn the basics of winemaking and blending with B Cellars, beginning with a walk in the vineyard and a tasting of current and future releases. Then come up with your own proprietary blend of wine, judged by the group in a blind tasting. A gourmet lunch and souvenir bottle are included. Boot Camps take place the last Friday of every month and are limited to 12 participants. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. $150. 400 Silverado Trail, Calistoga, 229-9939, bcellars.com.
September 15 — Korbel's Flavors of Fall: Enjoy sparkling and still wines and food pairings in between tram tours of the vineyards and crushpad. From 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. $15. 13250 River Road, Guerneville, 824-7216, korbel.com.