As autumn gives way to winter, slip away to the Grand Grape Celebration at the historic Ahwahnee Hotel (formerly Majestic Yosemite) in the incomparable Yosemite Valley. For generations, Yosemite National Park has been a magnet for hikers, campers, birdwatchers and other lovers of nature. But every autumn, there’s another type person you can add to that list: wine lover.
With sessions lasting from two to three days over the course of several weeks, leading vintners celebrate the autumn harvest by pouring their prized vintages for attendees of this sublime savouring experience. The Grand Grape Celebration’s exclusive seminars—don’t-miss experiences for serious oenophiles—feature relaxed tasting sessions and discussions with the featured winemaker. Topics discussed include not just their wines but also industry insights, winemaking trends and tips for how to better appreciate all varietals and blends. (Sign up in advance for these on their website.) There’s also an intimate evening wine-and-cheese reception at which one can mingle with winemakers and pick up more tips (and sample more wines, of course).
Each session culminates in a gala dinner in the grand dining room of The Ahwahnee, with courses carefully paired with often rare or limited-edition vintages from the participating wineries.
Since the Grand Grape Celebration’s events never start earlier than 1 pm, there’s plenty of time beforehand to walk, visit Half Dome or take the free shuttle bus around the park. A range of tickets are available, from dinner-only to accommodation-inclusive packages.
Insider tip: this event typically sells out—sign up early.