The wine grape harvest is in full picking mode, especially during the wee hours.
Many grape growers like to pick in the middle of the night, when low temperatures help preserve the integrity of the grapes and workers won't wilt.
But these upcoming daytime hours will be full of activity for wine lovers. Let's take a look at what's coming your way during the 2011 harvest.
Now, most of us have done Napa and Sonoma, and even the Sierra foothills can feel like old news.
So where to go next?
Well, how about good ol' Butte County, which is celebrating its sixth annual Sierra Oro Farm Trail Passport Weekend this Saturday and Sunday. It's a self-guided tour that'll take tourists through Gale Vineyards, New Clairvaux Winery, Grey Fox Vineyards and others. Area farmers will also get in on the action, including orchards, olive oil purveyors and the farm at California State University, Chico.
Tickets are $25 a pretty good deal, we think and the event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
Information: (800) 852-8570 or www.sierraoro.org
It's all about the cheese
Cheese, please: Now that you've loaded up on wines, what can they be paired with? How about cheese?
If you don't know your Edam from your Norwegian Jarlsberg, the folks at Nugget Market in El Dorado Hills, 4500 Post St., are ready to help.
The store is having a series of cheese tastings. It'll start with the basics in "Cheese 101" from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 15, followed by a focus on Spanish cheeses and wines Oct. 29.
A focus on holiday entertaining with cheese is coming Nov. 8, and the series wraps up on Dec. 3 with "celebratory cheeses."
Reservations must be made in advance, and each class costs $50. That might sound on the steep side, but the organizers promise you'll be in for "generous" samples of cheese, wine and appetizers.
For more information: (916) 933-1433
Tasting in Murphys
Wine makes the world go 'round: If you happen to be in or around Calaveras County on Oct. 13, drop by Murphys Historic Hotel (457 Main St., Murphys) for its monthly "wines of the world tasting."
This edition will feature Bordeaux varietals poured by Hatcher Winery. The event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. $25. Information: (209) 728-9467.