Five must-attend September California Wine Country events

Transcendence Theatre at Jack London Park

SONOMA, Calif., Sept. 10, 2015 – September is a wonderful time to visit California’s wine country. Harvest has begun, and the fields are flush with vines that have started changing from green to red, yellow and orange.

One would expect there to be wine events aplenty this time of year, but here are a few events not to be missed that include food, Broadway, film, music and, of course, wine.

Transcendence Theatre, Broadway Under the Stars
Transcendence Theatre, Broadway Under the Stars

Broadway Under the Stars – Finalé Gala

Friday-Sunday — Jack London State Park, Glen Ellen, Califorina

The Transcendence Theatre Company puts on amazing Broadway performances under the stars in venues across Sonoma County. Their home stage is in historic Jack London State Park amongst the ruins of an old winery and surrounded by grapevines.

It is truly a magical venue with world-class performances that will leave you breathless.

Their upcoming Gala Celebration wraps up their summer season and will feature their all-star cast showcasing their best performances of the year. Pre-show picnicking begins at 5 p.m., with the show starting at 7:30 p.m. Get there early to grab some food and wine and listen to a few pre-show tunes from a live band. If you purchase VIP tickets, you will have access to the Bubble Lounge with premium reserved seating.

Tickets start at $42 for general admission. If you can’t make it this weekend, Transcendence will be having their first ever holiday show on Dec. 4 and 5 at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. See their website for details.

Calistoga Harvest Table. Courtesy of Calistoga Visitors Bureau.
Calistoga Harvest Table. Courtesy of Calistoga Visitors Bureau.

Calistoga Harvest Table

Sunday from 4:30 to 9 p.m.; Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, California

Calistoga is a quaint little town at the northern tip of Napa Valley that holds on to the charm of old school wine country well. Its Harvest Table event fully embraces the wine country lifestyle and community vibe by closing down the main street, setting up a huge, 1000-foot-long dining table and having guests mingle with each other and winery and restaurant owners, all under the harvest moon.

Sixteen restaurants and 35 wineries are participating this year, a massive bounty of harvest celebration. Wines will be paired perfectly with local Calistoga and Napa Valley wines. This is an opportunity to live the wine country lifestyle for an evening. Come early to shop the stores and enjoy a little happy hour before dinner begins. This event often sells out. When that happens, plan ahead for next year. You won’t want to miss this event. Tickets vary based on the restaurant with which you choose to sit.

Russian River Valley Jazz & Blues Festival
Russian River Valley Jazz & Blues Festival

Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival

Saturday and Sunday alongside the Russian River in Guerneville, California

If you are a blues and/or jazz lover, this is a must-attend event. Guests line up hours in advance to grab their spots along the historic Russian River to chill out, soak in some rays and bend an ear to some of the best in the music biz. Blues legend Buddy Guy headlines this two-day festival, which also features performances by Taj Mahal, Jackie Greene, Dave Koz & Rick Braun with Kenny Lattimore and WAR. You will feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven, sipping on Sonoma County and Russian River Valley wines and beers and dancing in the sun as these legends jam out. A personal favorite is Buddy Guy. If you’ve never seen this man perform, get to this festival! Let’s just say he knows his way around a guitar and was instrumental in building the Chicago blues sound. Wine lovers can hang out and sip in the Wine Garden nestled behind the main stage. Suggested wineries: Kokomo Winery, Davis Bynum, Rodney Strong and Ca’Momi. Two-day passes can be purchased for $190, and single-day passes start at $55 (jazz on Saturday, blues on Sunday).


Wine Country Film Festival

Wednesday through Sept. 21, various locations in Kenwood, California

This is the 26th year that the Wine County Film Festival has been entertaining locals and visitors alike. This festival offers a unique opportunity not only to support independent film, but also to view them in one-of-a-kind settings in the middle of Sonoma wine country. The premiere venue is Deerfield Ranch Winery and features both their outdoor vineyard theater and indoor cave theater. Other venues include Kenwood Restaurant, Orpheus Winery and Cassata Sonoma Wine Room. No matter which location, film fest-goers will be able to enjoy luscious Sonoma wines by the glass and by the bottle.

Highly anticipated films include The Intern (starring Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo), Wolf Totem (by Jean-Jacques Annaud), Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightening (directed by Bay Area native Dyanna Taylor who will make an appearance at the screening); The Rite of Spring: A Musical Odyssey (by Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe; ferocious dueling piano performance); Trials of Spring (by Oscar-nominated director Gini Reticker, who will attend the screening); ReWined (Comedy/murder/thriller involving wine and possible murder); and the Poet of Havana (Cuban musical underground). Individual tickets start at $10 and festival passes are available.

Savor the Central Coast Main Event. Image: Kaori Funahashi
Savor the Central Coast Main Event. Image: Kaori Funahashi

Savor the Central Coast

Sept. 24-27, various locations in San Luis Obispo County, California

Located on the Central Coast of California, San Luis Obispo (SLO) is halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles and produces some of the best wine in California today. Sunset Magazine has been putting on this four-day culinary and wine festival for six years, and it is one of the best food and wine events in the country. Guests can build their own food and wine adventure over the four days and truly have a one-of-a-kind experience. Festival-goers will choose from adventure tours, dinners, special events and the main grand tasting events. SAVOR culminates in a two-day grand tasting event that features the best wine and food pairings with culinary demonstrations, seminars and wine and beer gardens. You can fully immerse yourself with a VIP Getaway Package, which gives you full concierge service while you enjoy the SAVOR events with upgraded experiences.

Festival highlights include Main Event (Saturday and Sunday); Hearst Castle’s Enchanted History; Locally Grown Cocktail Crafting & Mixology with FARMstead; Strings at Sunset Opening Night Party; Ancient Peaks Wine Dinner; Winemaker Seminars; Walking Tour of Halter Ranch; Hilltop Dinner at Adelaida Cellars and Estrada Beer Garden. Craft your custom experience and spend the weekend in SLO.

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