Wine lovers rejoice! September is California Wine Month and the Golden State’s favorite island destination has plenty of ways to celebrate. Here are seven things to do on Catalina Island during wine month.
Act fast to take part in the Catalina Island Women’s Forum Wine Festival, set for Saturday, Sept. 15. This beach-side festival is an oenophile’s delight, with more than a dozen wineries offering a range of varietals and vintages for tasting, along with delectable appetizers, live music and a legendary silent auction. The fun happens on South Beach from 2 to 5 p.m. and proceeds benefit the island community.
There will be plenty of wine consumed at the Catalina Wine Mixer, inspired by the comedy classic Step Brothers. With three days of dancing, food and drink, this is a party that takes fun seriously. Highlights include a screening of the film in the Avalon Theatre, VIP wine pairings and an array of bands and DJs, plus outrigger canoe races, wine-inspired rock painting and a bottomless mimosa brunch. Mark your calendars for Sept 21-23.
Avalon’s Island Spa Catalina offers two ways to enjoy wine during California Wine Month. UnWine’d, featuring yoga and wine, is offered Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The spa’s relaxation deck is also open to the public for Wine & Bites Thursday to Sundays at 5 p.m.
At the Avalon Grille, wine lovers can enjoy $5 wines by the glass from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday and, on Wine Down Wednesdays, half off select bottles of wine.
Since the 1970s, California has been renowned as one of the world’s top wine-growing regions. Appellations like Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Santa Barbara and Paso Robles have assured the state’s global reputation. In 2007, Catalina Island joined that pantheon when the Santa Catalina Island Vineyards were planted by Rusack Vineyards of Solvang, CA. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varietals have both done well on the island, as has Zinfandel. The latter includes cuttings from nearby Santa Cruz Island, where the vines date from the late 1800s.
The picturesque vineyard is located at El Rancho Escondido and overlooks sweeping vistas of the island’s remote windward side. While it’s not open to the general public, views of the vineyard are available on many interior tours as well as to hikers and mountain bikers.
Wines crafted from the vineyard have received wide acclaim, including 90+ scores from some of the top reviewers in the industry. Sample them yourself either by the glass or bottle at the Avalon Grille, Bluewater Avalon, CC Beau Deli or Steve’s Steakhouse & Seafood.
Island wines are far from the only ones you’ll find at Catalina restaurants. Carefully curated wine lists pair perfectly with the culinary creations at Catalina’s dining hot spots. Savor a glass or two with your meal at The Lobster Trap, El Galleon, Steve’s Steakhouse, Seaport Bistro, Café Metropole, Maggie’s Blue Rose, Bluewater Avalon and the Avalon Grille.
Spending a night or two on the island? Several Catalina hotels offer complimentary wine receptions, including the Pavilion Hotel, Snug Harbor Inn, Aurora Hotel and Mt. Ada. Or buy a bottle at one of Avalon’s retailers and enjoy the view and the island ambiance.