5 Things to do in Wine Country in November


November is a great month for foraging great food and wine, getting out in style and catching the holiday spirit. Here are five things to do in wine country to celebrate the best of the season.

Mendocino County Beer, Wine and Mushroom Festival

After the rains in October, more than 3,000 types of wild mushrooms are popping up all over Mendocino County and there are as many ways to appreciate them during the 10-day mushroom festival November 2-11, from edible mushroom ID by specialists at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, to foraging walks, mushroom art, even wool dyeing workshops using mushroom pigment. Best of all, there are dozens of mushroom, wine and beer pairing events. Check out the Belgian beer pairing at Little River Inn and Navarro Vineyards’ wine pairing at the Raven’s Restaurant at the Stanford Inn, where you’ll appreciate vegan food in a brand new light. Locations and prices vary. www.visitmendocino.com/beer-wine-mushroom-festival

Mingle with the stars at the Napa Valley Film Festival

Robert Mondavi Dinner Napa Valley Film Fest

Photo: Napa Valley Film Festival

Indie filmmakers descend upon Napa Valley from November 7-11, where over 100 compelling documentary and narrative films will be screened at the 2nd annual Napa Valley Film Festival beginning with the world premier of SOMM in Downtown Napa, a fascinating look at the grueling, sometimes humorous path that four passionate sommeliers take on to become the “best of the best”. Fest activities include grand opening and closing galas, industry tributes, filmmaker panels, food and wine events and posh parties with some of the actors, directors and producers who created the films. Cost $50-60 pp for 1-day or $250 pp 5-day festival pass for film screenings and wine tastings; $500 pp and up for 5-day festival passes including access to major festival events, VIP lounges and more. www.napavalleyfilmfest.org

Discover “Luther Turton: Napa Valley’s Architect” in Downtown Napa

Luther Turton Noyes Mansion Napa

Napa Historical Society

Luther Turton was a prolific architect in Napa Valley since the 1880s, designing homes, commercial buildings and churches in a range of styles including Victorian, Queen Anne, Prairie, Classical Revival and Craftsman. A new exhibit opening November 8 at the Napa County Historical Society pays homage to his iconic as well as lesser-known works. To see select landmarks in person, mark your calendars for the Historical Society’s 24th annual Holiday Candlelight Tour on December 8 from 3-7 pm to get an insider look at some of Turton’s works not open to the public, such as the upper floor of the Semorile Building (housing Bounty Hunter) and the inside of the Noyes Mansion (Wine Spectator). Admission to the museum exhibit is free. www.napahistory.org

Hang out in Monterey at “Party in the Hangar”

Del Monte Aviation Hangar

Photo: Monterey County Vintners Growers Assoc.

This post-harvest food and wine fest in the Del Monte Aviation Center’s 20,000 ft.2 hangar celebrates the bounty of Monterey wine varieties and styles, starting with a sparkling winemaker discussion panel moderated by Steve Heimhoff. Over 40 wineries and 10 restaurants offer a taste of Monterey and Chef Todd Fisher of Discovery’s The United States of Food entertains with a live cooking demo. November 10, 1-4 pm, $60 pp advance purchase, $95 pp for VIP and early 11:45 am admission including sparkling events. www.montereywines.org

Light up the season at the 24th annual Festival of Lights in Yountville

Yountville Festival of Lights

Photo: Yountville Chamber of Commerce

Ring in the holidays with Christmas carolers, horse-drawn carriages and Santa himself at the Festival of Lights on Friday November 23 in Yountville from 2-6pm. More than 10 wineries and Yountville’s favorite restaurants such as Bouchon, Redd and Bottega will be serving tasty bites before the lighting ceremony at 5:30pm fills the streets of Yountville with 250,000 holiday lights, and much more holiday cheer. Admission free, food and wine tasting tickets $1 each.

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