Line of opened Jordan wine, with 7 bottles on counter.

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Top Wine Tasting Events and Food Experiences

A visit to “wine country” destinations is always an enjoyable and memorable experience. Still, as more and more wine tourists crowd the top wineries in the country, the occasion is less remarkable than it used to be. But if you search hard enough, you will find that many wineries have extraordinary events throughout the year—less crowded, with small groups, less hectic, and more of a celebratory experience. You will find that these top wine-tasting events and food experiences make your winery visits more memorable and are great for special occasions and wine lovers.

Several years ago, we reserved our spot at a Harvest Lunch with Jordan Winery as part of a wine tour through Sonoma and Napa. Jordan is one of my favorite wineries in California; they make every wine-tasting experience unique. A visit to Jordan is exceptional, from the iconic Jordan chateau in Sonoma County to the fine wines they produce. But this unique event took the experience to a whole new level.

Looking for other wine travel ideas? Check out these Fork & Wander posts.

During our farm-to-table interactive cooking luncheon, we explored the Jordan Estate vegetable garden with a flute filled with Jordan Cuvée and picked our lunch ingredients. Pastries were served, and we ate figs directly from the tree. I didn’t think it could get any better, but it did when we were whisked off to the Healdsburg Farm Market, where a local chef gave us a tour and picked up the remaining components needed for lunch. I learned so much from the experts the chef spoke with at the market. They shared insights into cheese, garlic, mushrooms, and more.

Then, we created a fantastic lunch with the help of the Farmhouse Inn chef, all while enjoying free-flowing glasses of Jordan Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. It was an experience that was so memorable and special. Check out our recent recreation of this meal at home on this YouTube video. For more recipes from the Harvest Lunch menu, check out my Wine Country Harvest Meal At Jordan Winery post.

What Is The Benefit Of Paying For Events?

Why pay for special events when you could get a much less expensive tasting experience? The answer is simple: they are often a much better value. These events are more than charcuterie boards and wine flights. At a top winery such as Jordan, a tasting room experience will cost between $50 and $110, depending on the type of tasting and the wines offered. This type of tasting lasts around an hour, and you usually taste four current releases, which might also include small food pairings. A special event such as the Harvest Lunch was $200 per person, but included is a complete meal, interactive experiences, and the opportunity to taste both newer vintages and more exclusive bottles from the cellar. All lasting approximately 4 hours.

Often, these events combine an opportunity to experience the wine and acclaimed regional chefs or local restaurants. They become both a wine and a food experience. With expert wine pairings and delicious food from celebrity chefs, you enjoy something unique. A great example of this type of event is at the Solena Estate Winery in Yamhill, Oregon, which hosts the annual La Paulée Dinner. Held in October, the dinner celebrates the end of harvest. The event features Oregon Chef of the Year and James Beard Best Chef Northwest, Chef Phillipe Boulot this year. Not only do you get to experience an acclaimed chef at this event, but you will also experience great wine, including some of Solena’s older and rarely-seen vintages and new wines.

Even if you pay for a grand tasting or a library event, you will only get to taste the wines, not enjoy an entire glass of wine. That makes the events more intriguing; they are like an evening with friends enjoying a bottle or two of excellent wine and a meal. It’s also a chance to experience different wines—a better way to determine what you want to purchase for your enjoyment at home.

Some of these events can be much more casual. Offering food trucks, live entertainment, winery tours, a trivia night, a food festival, or even a music festival. Solena recently hosted its 7th annual Lobster Boil and a Jeopardy Brunch—all fun and casual events. You will also find that live music is an important part of winery events. This past summer, Stoller Family Estate in McMinnville, Oregon, hosted its 3rd Annual Low Bar Chorale Sing-a-long, a fun, light evening of singing and wine. Wine enthusiasts and music lovers will enjoy the Stoller event called In A Landscape concert series this fall, a more low-key experience of music set against the backdrop of the harvest-ready vines.

Vineyard with Mt Hood in background.
Harvest Season Is Event Season

Not only does almost every winery celebrate Harvest Season with incredible events, but regional events that feature several wineries and local food vendors are great opportunities to find exceptional experiences in wine country. Healdsburg Crush is held each fall in the picturesque Healdsburg Plaza and is a rare opportunity to celebrate Crush with over 60 of California’s best wine producers. Here, you will find some of my favorite wines, such as Rombauer Vineyards, Ramey Wine Cellars, Gary Farrell, and St. Francis, all in one place.

This event is also great to experience many of the area’s top food vendors. Swing over to the Napa Valley and check out the annual Crush It event at The Estate Yountville (held twice in 2023, September 30 and October 7). This event allows you to immerse yourself in the harvest with a barbeque feast and tastings from local wineries. It also offers the chance to jump in feet-first with the Grape Stomp Experience.

Two hands holding freshly picked grapes at harvest in a vineyard
Photo by Andrea Cairone from Unsplash
The Holiday Season Is Filled With Events

The Holiday Season is a magical time for a winery event. You will have a lot to choose from, but a favorite is an exclusive event called Christmas at Jordan. Open to invited guests, which happens when you have previously visited or attended an event. This event will feature delicious food, festive decorations, and live entertainment to celebrate the holiday season. Held amid the towering barrels at the Jordan Winery Chateau, this Christmas at Jordan event is a great kick-off to the season. Another holiday event is the Merryvale Vineyards Holiday Dinner In The Cask Room, featuring a magical ambiance, great food, and fantastic wine.

Events Exclusive To Club Members

Many events are either exclusive to club members or offered at a reduced price to members. Joining a wine club can have its benefits. If you plan on visiting a favorite winery on your next trip, consider joining the wine club before traveling. It opens up a number of special benefits when you book a tasting and offers experiences that may not yet be available to you. From wine tours to wine events, wine club members have elevated experiences.

One of the top wine club events is the release party each winery often holds when new releases are available. You get to be the first to experience new wines. The premier event allows you to interact with a wine expert or even the winemakers themselves.

Virtual And Road Events

Many wineries offer experiences such as virtual tastings or an event held on the road at various locations. Virtual tastings are often great ideas for corporate events or even among groups of wine-loving friends. The bottles to be tasted are selected and shipped to each attendee, and a virtual tasting is held on the day of the event. Some of your favorite wineries also participate in events across the country, such as food & wine festivals and charity events, allowing you to experience a tasting closer to home. For example, MacRostie Winery will hold a wine-tasting event at Pebble Beach Food & Wine, April 4-7, 2024, where you can taste many of their award-winning white and red wines.

Two hands holding freshly picked grapes at harvest in a vineyard
Photo Coutesy of Fantesca Estate Winery from Unsplash

The wine industry has expanded beyond the simple wine-tasting experience. These events are the perfect place to explore new wines, celebrate special occasions, and have so much fun. Every winery has an events tab on its website. This is the best place to start your search for an extraordinary experience. Also, explore the community websites in Napa, Healdsburg, and the Willamette Valley to find large wine festivals happening during your travels. You will also find that these events make a perfect gift for someone special. So enjoy your wine travel and look for unique experiences.

Upcoming Wine Events

Jordan Winery

  • Yoga At Vista Point, April 7 & April 14, 2024
  • Earth Week Nature Hike, with wine pairing lunch April 19, 20 & 21, 2024

Duckhorn Winery

  • Feast of Flavors at Paraduxx, an interactive culinary and wine sensory experience. April 13, 2024
  • 9th Annual Derby Party and Discussion Release, May 4, 2024
  • 2024 Western European Wine Route Cruise May 2-14, 2024
  • In The Name Of Love at Migration, Celebrate Pride Month and National Rosé Day, June 8, 2024
  • Canvasback Collectors’ Dinner, the unveiling of the new vintage of the Grand Passage Cabernet Sauvignon, and a dinner. June 8, 2025
  • Duckhorn Estate Dinner, a four-course wine-paired celebration. August 17, 2024

Rombauer Vineyards

  • Spring Release Party 2024 is the flagship event of the spring to celebrate new releases. April 20, 2024
  • Joy of Wine Weekend, the flagship event, is a 3-course dinner overlooking Napa Valley. July 27 & 28, 2024

Soléna Estate Winery

  • Yamhill-Carlton AVA Spring Tasting, April 20, 2024
  • Mother’s Day Brunch, May 12, 2024
  • Memorial Day Paella Party, May 25, 2024

Domaine Drouhin

  • Rosé Soirée, April 14, 2024
  • Vineyard Tour & Lunch, May 18, 2024
  • Fueled By Fine Wine is an event with over 16 world-class wineries held in Dundee, Oregon. July 14, 2024
Below are links and resources to help you plan The perfect trip

Travel Resources

  • HOTELS
    Booking.com and Expedia.com are great resources for accommodations around the world. Book almost any hotel directly from these links.
  • TOURS
    The best places to book tours and activities are Viator or Get Your Guide . From great food tours to guided hiking adventures to local walking tours, you will find great experiences to add to your travels here.
  • FOOD EXPERIENCES
    EatWith is a great resource for authentic culinary experiences with passionate locals worldwide. Connecting travelers with hosts in over 130 countries, providing unique, intimate, and immersive experiences in private homes and exclusive venues.
  • TRAINS
    Trainline is Europe’s leading train and coach app. They work with over 210 rail and coach companies to help their customers travel to thousands of destinations across 45 countries. 

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