Mendocino businesses are embracing this year’s Harvest Festival with events both big and small, and spanning the county! During the first weekend of this 10-day festival, Ukiah takes center stage starting with the Mendocino Winegrowers Annual Harvest Party. This year they’re celebrating with an old-fashioned barn dance. It starts with a wine reception, followed by dinner and then a whole lotta dancing! The following day sees Taste Mendocino at BARRA of Mendocino’s Event Center. Taste Mendocino highlights the bounty of the county with fine wines, artisanal foods, enchanting destinations and unique activities. On the second and final weekend, coastal Mendocino is where it’s at as the Mushroom Train rides again Saturday, November 12th! Once at Glen Blair Junction, guests have the chance to sample numerous wines, as well as fine whiskeys, plus enjoy food from several food purveyors. Hang out around the campfires for insights into whiskey, the Skunk Train, and the area! Little River Inn has their Mushroom & Beer Pairing Dinner featuring Russian River Brewing and 6-courses of heaven, courtesy of Chef Marc Dym and Chef Vinnie. While some of these weekend events may be sold out, mark your calendar for next year and get tickets early!
FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD
Winemaker Dinners abound as well as other delicious food and wine pairings! Well known winemaker Greg Graziano teams up with Chef Julian Sandoval of Left Coast Seafood on Sunday, November 6th for an exquisite winemaker dinner! In Anderson Valley, Goldeneye Winery is having a Forager’s Feast that pairs their library Pinot Noir with local mushrooms and other foraged fare for a delectable winemaker dinner. In Redwood Valley, BARRA of Mendocino is hosting a winemaker dinner with Chef Caroline Radice from Black Dog Farms featuring heirloom and specialty produce for a magnificent farm-to-table meal.
Pacific Star Winery is keeping it California cool with a Bonfire & Pizza night to go with their array of wines – sounds delicious! In the heartland, Saracina Vineyards is having a Thanks for Giving Winemaker Luncheon that benefits Redwood Empire Food Bank. Bee Hunter Wines in Boonville is having a multicourse, wine paired dinner as winemaker/owner/chef Andre DuVigneaud opens his recipe repertoire! Meet the Wild Ones at the Blue Door Inn in the village of Mendocino – this event pairs foraged foods from the gardens at Blue Door Inn with wild fermented wines of Bee Hunter. And don’t miss the chance to attend Raven’s Restaurant Medicinal Mushroom Breakfast happening both Saturdays of the Harvest Festival. Gowan’s Heirloom Cider is having their first ever Chutney Challenge in their breathtaking outdoor orchard museum.
WALKS & TALKS
What would a Harvest Festival be without a walkabout with experts! Stanford Inn invites you to join their mushroom exploration tours with mycological enthusiast Adrienne Long. Also at Stanford Inn, meet with their nutritionist to learn about plant-based nutrition and cooking, and enjoy some tastings too. Jug Handle Creek Farm & Nature Center offers guided mushroom identification walks, including a large mushroom display, and a talk with local mushroom expert, Eric Schramm. And after exploring…? Why treats of course! The stunning Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens also features a mushroom identification walk through their lovely garden with naturalist and mycologist Mario Abreu. Bernadette Smith of the Manchester Band of Pomo Indians and Mendocino Land Trust invites you for a walk and talk about oaks and acorns, including stories of acorn preparation.
Enjoy a cannabis Tasting & Tour weekend at The Madrones where you’ll take a farm tour and take a peek behind the curtain of craft cannabis cultivation. It all culminates in an amazing, infused dinner in the redwoods. This year, the California State Fair handed out Golden Bear Awards for cannabis and many of those award-winners reside in Mendocino County. At Plantshop in Ukiah, you have a chance to meet them, learn their tricks of the trade and enjoy the outdoor consumption lounge, while enjoying a craft farmers market on November 5th; and a smaller educational forum will happen on November 12th at Plantshop. Guests of The Andiron Seaside Inn & Cabins get to enjoy their 420 Happy Hour on each Saturday of the Festival with infused beverages. If you’re not a guest, Reservations are required.
MORE FUN HAPPENINGS
Throughout the two weeks, enjoy art galleries with Opening Receptions like Art Center Ukiah and Corner Gallery. Gualala Arts Center invites you to explore a new exhibition, and there are numerous First Friday and Second Saturday Art Walks. There’s also an Almost Full Beaver Moon Night Tour at the Point Arena Lighthouse where you’ll enjoy sweet and savory snacks along with champagne and a guided climb to the top of the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast! Reservations must be booked three full days in advance for this November 5th excursion. In Hopland, celebrate Harvest on November 12th as the town comes alive with harvest specials at the wine tasting rooms and restaurants. For a really cool weekend of outdoor fun, check out Mendocino Grove’s Fall Festival – it’s a full weekend of glamping including live music, food, fun crafty activities and more, November 4 – 6!