September is a busy month for California wineries. There are major wine events going on all over the state, celebrating Wine Month. It’s also harvest time, which means wineries operate 24/7 and workers pull 12-hour shifts on the crush pad. September is also “Wine Line’s” birthday. The Navigator and I will celebrate with a bottle of bubbly. This is the best time to get out and visit a working winery in one of California’s 138 American Viticultural Areas. To find out which wineries are celebrating Wine Month, go towww.discovercaliforniawines.com.
“A Perfect Wine Tasting Route” was the title of my first column back in 2007. The tastings started in downtown Monterey and followed the recreation trail to Cannery Row. There were five tasting rooms along the way and many good places to eat. The return trip downtown was the free trolley. I thought it was cool to walk and taste on a beautiful trail. Now, wine-tasting rooms are everywhere. Here are two more wine walks to add to your list.
The Old Sugar Mill
Built in the 1930s as a beet sugar refinery, the grand old brick building hosts 11 wineries. Located in the Clarksburg AVA south of Sacramento, the Sugar Mill is just 15 minutes from downtown. Wineries charge just $5 for tasting and the fee is refundable with purchase. If you’re a chenin blanc fan, visit the Clarksburg Wine Company. Try Muddy Boot’s gold medal stainless-fermented chardonnay and the Three Wine Company’s sustainable big reds. The Sugar Mill has a nice shady picnic area and is dog friendly. For more info, go towww.oldsugarmill.com. Park the car, walk and taste!
Oakland Urban Wine Trail
Oakland’s wine scene is a little different. Many wineries are housed in renovated warehouse spaces. There are 10 tasting rooms on the trail, five in Jack London Square. The trail is walkable, with easy access to public transportation including the free Broadway shuttle. Two wineries I highly recommend are Urban Legend Cellars and Dashe Cellars. Urban Legend offers interesting wine flights and wines by the glass. Dashe Cellars’ zinfandel always seems to be on everyone’s top 100 List, including mine. For all the info you need, go towww.Oaklandurbanwinetrail.com.
Seven wineauxs selected the 2012 Hayes Ranch Merlot as – the best wine in a blind tasting of five merlots under $5 from the Grocery Outlet. As Wine Line moves into year 10, I want to say thanks to you, the readers. Remember to enjoy wine, keep it simple, avoid wine snobs, trust your palate and drink what YOU like, period. Cheers!
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