Now is a wonderful, if slightly manic time to be wandering around wine country. Harvest is, for some, complete, and wines are bubbling and burbling their way through fermentations. For others, any day now they will be making mad dashes into the vineyards to get the fruit in just as soon as things dry out from this major dump we just had. Either way, it’s the time of year that wine country really becomes wine country. As the afternoon sun angles low, life gets pretty idyllic around Sonoma, and the timing is good to relax with friends and a nice glass of wine. Which is why, I suppose, around this time of year we are treated to the opportunity to attend The Pinot on The River Festival .
Now in its eighth year of providing an intimate and casual way to enjoy some of the best Pinot Noirs from Sonoma county and around the state, this festival is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Originally a multi-day event replete with tours and winemaker dinners, the event has been scaled back this year to be simply a walk-around tasting of wine in the beautiful plaza square in Healdsburg, at the heart of the Russian River Valley. While it no longer involves a lot of bells and whistles, the event is still an opportunity to taste a lot of really great wine for not that much money, so I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Pinot Noir, or who is interested in learning whether or not they do.
If you’re interested in the wines that are poured at the event, here’s the list of wineries scheduled to attend.
Pinot on The River Festival 2011
Sunday, October 23rd
11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Healdsburg Plaza in Downtown
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Tickets will run you $75 for the tasting, and if you pay $85 you get early access, $150 gets you VIP seating (instead of walking around) plus access to tasting seminars by winemakers. Buy tickets online here.
Who knows what the weather will be like for this event. It could be in the seventies and sunny, or it could be downright chilly, and even wet, so if you’re going, make sure to bring something to keep you warm if the fog sets in. Dress for the event is casual, and my usual tips for public tastings apply: wear dark clothes, come with a full stomach, drink lots of water, and spit if you really want to enjoy the tasting.