A vendor uncorks a bottle of wine at the Vintage Crystal wine festival in Crystal City; the festival, set for Sept. 18, is Metro-accessible and its $20 ticket price includes food. (Photo by Stephen Elliot)

August and September are boom time for wine festivals. Though the weather is finally cool enough for a long day outdoors, it’s the grape harvest season that drives the fests.

One of the busiest times for wineries, it’s cause for celebration for us. A half-dozen big festivals are scheduled for the coming weeks, from Rockville to Herndon to The Plains. For details, just check out our new Editor’s Picks for Fall Wine Festivals.

Tastings at these festivals are unlimited in nearly every case (some also include food), and often you can even take home the glass. Worried about how you'll get there? This year the list includes events such as the Virginia Wine Festival, which offers patrons a chance to purchase shuttle tickets, and a couple of Metro-friendly options.

And if a big festival isn’t your speed, late September is a great time to head south to Nelson County, where, in the hills near Skyline Drive, the trees will be alight with color, and wineries and breweries will be doing booming business. Plan a trip now with our recent picks for winery/brewery/distillery-hopping away from home.