Just as SPAC’s Jazz Festival rings in summer, their Saratoga Wine & Food Festival (September 8 & 9) kicks off fall in the best of ways, by bringing us fabulous food and drink from leading area experts. Adding a little glam to the whole shebang, the Saratoga Auto Museum will be showcasing a line-up of invitation-only collector cars.

Food, wine and fancy cars… sounds like our kind of weekend! Oh, and hold your hats Red Sox fans, because Big Papi himself (David Ortiz, in case you’ve been living under a rock) is set to make a special guest appearance for the Friday night FIRED UP! event.

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With more than 250 wine and food exhibitors slated to be in attendance for Saturday’s Grand Tasting, we find it can get a bit overwhelming, especially when it comes to the wine. So, we hit up our friends at Salt & Char and enlisted the help of their wine director, Daniel Combs, for a little guidance.

While we couldn’t get our hands on a list of the individual wines being served, we were able to get him a list of the wineries / distributors. Here are three to keep an eye out for…

Dr. Konstantin Frank: Considered a pioneer of the Finger Lakes Region, they’re making wines from international grape varieties. Be on the lookout for any Rieslings and for a unique varietal, Rkatsiteli.

Jackson Family Wines: Owned by Barbara Banke, a leader and innovator in the wine industry, also Chairman and Proprietor of wellknown Kendall Jackson. Fun fact: she also has strong ties to Saratoga as the owner of Stonestreet Farms, a top racer and breeder of thoroughbred horses. Her company produces wines around the world; Italy, France, California and Australia, to name a few. If they’re pouring Hartford Court wines, make sure you snag a taste.

Hess Family Collection: Another international company making wines in mostly California and South America. Their Malbecs from Argentina are fantastic. Keep an eye out to see if they’re offering tastes of Colome.

We can’t think of a better way to jump into harvest season than with an abundance of hearty food and drink. Something to keep in mind, the Saratoga Food & Wine Festival is a 21+ event. Think of it as a celebration of surviving the first week back to school…for the adults.

If you don’t have them already, get your tickets now!