Winemakers in Conversation
Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley presents a new, 3-part series delving into the signature varietal wines of Dry Creek Valley. Each classroom-style tasting seminar features a panel of winemakers and/or growers moderated by a wine industry pro. A social open-tasting follows. “Rare and exceptional wines will lead the way for our vintners to tell the story of Dry Creek Valley’s exceptional grape-growing heritage,” said Ann Petersen, executive director, Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley. “Zealous About Zinfandel” (July 15 at Quivira Vineyards and Winery) explains the passion winemakers have for Dry Creek Valley’s historic grape. “Cult Cabs” (July 22 at Passalacqua Winery) brings together pioneers of Dry Creek Valley Cabernet. “Zintopia” (July 30 at Preston Farm & Winery) features moderator Chef John Ash with a panel of Zinfandel specialists. Each immersive experience runs 10 a.m.-noon.

Breakfast with the Winemakers
For a similarly conversational approach (minus the wine-tasting), join Wine Road for its open Q&A forums where guests can meet and chat with winemakers in a casual breakfast setting. On July 28, at Martinelli Vineyards & Winery in the Russian River Valley, sit down for breakfast with winemakers from Martinelli, Inman Family Wines, and Hook & Ladder Vineyards & Winery. On July 29, at Fritz Underground Winery in the Dry Creek Valley, encounter winemakers from Fritz Underground Winery, J. Rickards Winery and Deux Amis Winery. A host will facilitate the Q&A with the three winemakers each morning. Everyone will have the chance to ask questions, but seating is limited.

Wine & Weed Symposium
What do the cannabis and wine industries have in common? What impact will the legalization of cannabis have on the wine industry? This first-time event, presented by Wine Industry Network, is August 3 at Hyatt Vineyard Creek, Santa Rosa. Experts from both fields begin with Cannabis 101, led by the executive director of the California Growers Association and the co-founder/executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. Other speakers will address the business of cannabis, ranging from legal issues to new products, while a gallery of tabletop exhibitors and sponsors offer information and resources. After an outdoor buffet luncheon, a panel of wine industry professionals share how their careers evolved to include cannabis and the surprising similarities (and competitive markets) both commodities share. The event wraps up with a panel discussion followed by a networking social.

ZAP Simply Summer Celebration
On August 13, ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) hosts this popular summer event that offers extensive wine and food tastings featuring Zinfandel wines and blends. Known for its versatility, Zinfandel pairs with a wide range of foods to create unlimited expressions of taste. Fans have the opportunity to meet their favorite winemakers, as more than 60 wineries from appellations throughout California set up in an air-conditioned indoor pavilion at Trentadue Winery. The grounds provide a romantic, old-world Italian setting surrounded by vineyards, mountains, lawns and shaded gardens. Open houses at select wineries in the area the day before (August 12) are exclusive to ticket holders. Main event runs 12:30-3:30 p.m. Ticket includes admittance, wine tasting and ZAP logo wine glass.

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Taste of Sonoma expands to two days, September 2-3, and moves to a different venue this year: Green Music Center at Sonoma State University. The new location is ideal for the event that has Sonoma County winemakers, growers and chefs orchestrating their world-class skills in concert so you can sample their wares in one huge celebration. Taste your way through the offerings of more than 200 wineries and 60 local chefs. Don’t get so focused on tasting, however, that you miss the tours, talks, demonstrations and marketplace. If all of that isn’t quite enough, an upgrade open to a limited number of guests—Club Reserve—gives access to sought-after and limited-production wines in a luxurious atmosphere with food prepared by notable local chefs. You can also expand the Taste of Sonoma experience with Winemaker Lunches, Dinners & BBQs, September 1-3 (details forthcoming). One and two-day passes available for both General and Club Reserve.