The state of California is set to host its annual month-long wine festival to kick off the grape harvest and promote wines made in the United States.
Proclaimed by the governor, Jerry Brown, California Wine Month highlights the state's 15 wine-growing regions through tastings, grape-stomping events, harvest and vineyard tours.
In the North Coast wine region, the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend at MacMurray Ranch (August 31–September 2) will feature 170 award-winning wineries, while chefs will showcase the area's fine-dining fare at the Taste of Sonoma.
In the Central Coast region (an area made famous by the 2004 film "Sideways"), some of Santa Barbara's finest restaurants will team up with local wineries to provide wine and food pairings, plus live entertainment, in the Annual Taste of the Town.
And in Southern California, a Los Angeles Times event called The Taste 2012 (September 1–3) will showcase top wineries, restaurants and purveyors from the area. Two weeks later, Crush: Temecula Valley Wine & Culinary Showcase will offer a multi-winery festival with wine tastings, food and live music.
California's wine country attracts an estimated 20.7 million tourists every year. Revenue from retail sales, meanwhile, is estimated at $19.9 billion, including $1.4 billion in exports to 122 countries.