Harvest season is a special time of year for wineries and wine lovers. The reason why harvest season is so important to wineries is that “the harvesting of wine grapes is one of the most crucial steps in the process of wine-making. The time of harvest is determined primarily by the ripeness of the grape as measured by sugar, acid and tannin levels with winemakers basing their decision to pick based on the style of wine they wish to produce.” [Source: Wikipedia]
In light of the recent Napa Valley and Sonoma fires, these tragedies have saddened many of us, especially since we always enjoy visiting this iconic region. Because of these recent events, it’s made those of us in Monterey County be even more grateful this year for harvest season and the bountiful vineyards in our area.
Celebrating Harvest in Monterey County
To celebrate harvest season in Monterey County, 12 local wineries came together last weekend for the 3rd Annual Carmel Valley Wine Experience Grand Tasting. Held on the Vineyard Lawn at Carmel Valley Ranch, this festive food and wine event drew hundreds of wine aficionados who were in the mood for fun under the sun.
As shared on the event invitation, the Grand Tasting was created to be “a gastronomic affair to delight the senses – featuring a dozen local wineries, local restaurants, the farmed flavors of Carmel Valley Ranch (salt, lavender, honey and more), as well as live music and winemaking demonstrations.”
What is the Carmel Valley Wine Experience?
The Carmel Valley Wine Experience mantra is “Sip. Savor. Sunshine.” With so many great wineries in this part of the Central Coast, it’s no wonder visitors from far and near love wine tasting in Carmel Valley. With warm, sun-drenched days, sweeping hillside vistas, and an authentically rustic vibe of the village, wine tasting in Carmel Valley is one of our favorite pastimes.
Featuring wine-tastings from Cima Collina Winery, Joyce Vineyards, Smith Wines from Carmel Valley Ranch, Windy Oaks Winery, and other top quality wine producers from the region, throughout the 3-hour event, guests enjoyed discovering all range of varietals, from Pinot Noir to Rosé.
In addition to the wine tastings, there were several edible stations featuring small bites and culinary tastings from premier local restaurants (including Quail Lodge & Golf Club and 7th & Dolores Steakhouse), specialty brands (like Percy’s Pies and Barcart Cocktail Co.), and other caterers in the area.
Carmel Valley Ranch also introduced guests to their harvested Honey, which is produced on-site a few hundred yards away. This delectable treat was paired with blue cheese, crackers, nuts, and chocolate, making for an explosion of sweet and savory flavors.
Bouncing from one station to the next, guests indulged in steak bites, cheese samplings, pork tacos, fried chicken & mashed potatoes, and sweet potato pie.
Always warm and friendly when we see her, Amy Vogt (featured above left), the Tasting Room Manager at Cima Collina Winery, poured us a glass of their delicious Pinot Noir (which we overheard was quickly becoming a fan-favorite for many of the guests at the event). She then continued by telling us about the interesting background of their quaint tasting room in Carmel Valley Village, which is housed in a charming historic white barn.
Giving homage to the rich history of their tasting room, the winery explains that “The tasting room is located in the old Del Monte Dairy constructed by one of the Valley’s early pioneers, William Hatton, in the late 19th century. Some of the earliest Monterey Jack cheese was made here.” [Source: CimaCollina.com]
Now that we’ve tasted their artisan wines and learned more about the historical significance of their picturesque tasting room, we’re excited to head there the next time we’re in Carmel Valley Village.
Carmel Valley Wine Experience Grand Tasting
Throughout the day, we were greeted by winemakers, chefs, and craft cocktail artisans who shared the story behind their brands and their inspiration to create produce quality products.
In addition to learning about the Carmel Valley Wine Experience, all who attended enjoyed relaxing in the casual, leisurely atmosphere of the vineyard setting. As the leaves on the vines have just started changing color, the lush harvest scenery created the ideal backdrop for this beautiful Autumnal event.
To learn more about Monterey County wines, check out the Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association, SeeMonterey.com, and The Carmel Valley Wine Experience.
[Media passes provided for the purpose of event coverage. This is not a sponsored post.]