September is a month with dualing personalities. Kids see it as the evil incarnation of back-to-school, also spelled the-end-of-hope-and-light. Adults, on the other hand, drop off their little darlings and smile gleefully as they drive away, looking forward to months of quietude.

For the past five years, the Wine Institute has been capitalizing on this heady concept of free time for grownups by putting on California Wine Month. If months of “vacation” have put you, say, on edge, why not head out to Wine Country for some vino?

Complimentary wine tastings? Yes. Sunset picnics? Yes. Film Festival? Yes. Dinners with celebrated vintners? Heck yes. It’s going down all month long, with an oak and pepper aftertaste.

In (what might not be anymore) the world’s fifth largest economy, California grape growers and vineyards hold their own, producing 90% of American wine. After the Golden State got its first winemakers — saludo Spanish missionaries — more immigrants kept on coming, bringing their passion for fermented grape juice along for the ride.

Flash forward to the present. Wine is everywhere. Wine is on Facebook, for Heaven’s sake. Wine might just be the new Perez Hilton.

And, yes, wine has its own reality show. In fact, PBS’s The Winemakers just held auditions for its second season August 13th in Sacramento, where hopefuls showed up to compete for a chance at creating and launching their own national wine label.

All you latecomers will just have to wait until next year’s month-before-CA-wine-month for your shot at grape fame.