The summer of 2013 reached its symbolic end now that Labor Day weekends one for the books. But for those who love wine, theres still plenty to savor with the arrival of September.
September marks the ninth annual California Wine Month. It comes complete with a proclamation from Gov. Jerry Brown toasting the states wine industry, which reaped an estimated retail value of $34.6 billion in 2012. The celebrations are held during the heart of the wine grape harvest, which this year finds many crops being picked earlier than usual because of a dry summer with significant heat spikes.
But beyond the number-crunching and harvest reports, California Wine Month also features activities and tastings around the state. Thats especially true in Lodi, the states largest wine grape-growing appellation, home to 100,000 acres of grapes and 750 growers.
Lodi wineries will commemorate California Wine Month with the Lodi Road Trip, in which dozens of wineries will host open houses with tastings and hands-on opportunities to learn more about bottling and blending. The festivities will last through Sept. 30, and a passport, which includes tastings and related activities, costs just $20.
Participating wineries include some of Lodis biggest names and choice boutique producers: Michael-David, Woodbridge, Lucas Winery, Klinker Brick, LangeTwins and more than 40 others.
For more information: www.LodiRoadTrip.com, (209) 365-0621.
Those who are looking for a taste of Lodi but dont want to trek down Highway 99 or I-5 can get a table at Evans Kitchen (855 57th St., Sacramento) on Sept. 16. That nights wine dinner, dubbed Stuck in Lodi Again from the Creedence Clearwater Revival song, features four courses plus dessert paired with wines from Lodis Oak Farm Vineyards.
Menu items include carnitas lollipops paired with Oak Farm Vineyards verdelho and a grilled peach dessert lasagna with a peach-flavored sparkling wine. The dinner costs $75 per person; call (916) 452-3896 for reservations.
For more information about California Wine Month events as a whole, visit www.discovercaliforniawines.com.
Call The Bees Chris Macias, (916) 321-1253. Follow him on Twitter @chris_macias