The More Fun Harvest Festival
Harvest red wine grapes with a golden glow from a beautiful sunset

In November, I will be in Temecula Wine Country for the annual Harvest Celebration. Again. I do it every year, and It is a LOT more fun than starving myself, trudging up an incline burdened with supplies, and constructing a shelter to sit around in and be miserable.

I'm not being random, people used to do that.

Humans have celebrated harvest since our species' earliest recorded history. Ancient Greeks worshiped Demeter as their goddess of all grains, and honored her each Autumn in a festival called Thesmophoria. The ritualized three-day event included a strenuous ascent up a hill concluding in an overnighter in a self-built hut, followed by a day of fasting, and on the third day - finally something that makes sense - a feast.

Today, most cultures have moved well beyond an agrarian lifestyle, so the reaping of crops has little significance beyond an excuse to have a good party. So people around the world whoop it up, celebrating the harvest season with gatherings, gifts, and feasts. The Chinese have the Harvest Moon Festival, marked by incense burning and some really awesome dragon costumes. In the UK, a blessed loaf of bread made from the first harvest of grains is central to Lammas, the age-old observance of Autumn's bounty. Here in the U.S., we fill our bellies with turkey and fall asleep on the floor watching football in a little shindig we call Thanksgiving. There are many, many more, and they are all pretty worthy, but...

The absolute best is Temecula Wine Country's annual Harvest Celebration. Admittedly, I have not done every harvest celebration in the world, so I can't really know that. Uh, change that... yes I can. It's inconceivable that any of the others are nearly as fun. This smile-inducing day is a veritable food-and-wine-palooza that was already darned good for the first 24 years, then became even better in its 25th year when Grapeline took the helm. My cohorts at Grapeline kept the basic format but made a few tweaks after listening to a bunch of "it would be even better if" comments - and voila! - it became a consensus "best one ever." This year is the 26th annual Temecula Harvest, and here's how it works.

  • Sample local wines
  • Nibble tasty nosh
  • Repeat (seven more times)

It's not just more fun than Thesmophoria. It's more fun. Period.


~ Kay Syrah

Wine Country Guru Gal

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