Get out into wine country this month. Yes, this is the time to pack a lunch, grab a driver and head out and visit the central coast wineries. The vineyards are bright green and lay heavy with clusters of plumb, juicy wine grapes.

Wineries and growers have been preparing for the harvest and many will begin picking this month. This makes for lots of activity at the wineries as grapes are delivered, crushed and processed. Watch out for tractors on the roadways pulling gondolas brimming with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and a host of other varieties.

If you lucky you can tour a facility when the grapes are being crushed and de-stemmed and pressed into must, the pulpy precursor to wine. Mechanical presses, small and large, squeeze the fruit for its sweet and flavorful juice. The left-over skins, or pomace, is piled up and lends a sweet, fruity aroma to the air.

On September 29 & 30th head out to the Pismo Beach for Sunset Magazine’s Western Wine Awards and Gala. On Thursday night there will be an opening VIP Reception at Hearst Castle and on Friday come on out to the Pismo Pier for wine, music, food and the Western Wine Award presentation. Wine tasting, celebrity chefs, food, music and fun make for a perfect pairing in Pismo Beach. For tickets and information see