Pop the cork, raise a glass, and toast the 2014 grape harvest! Wine lovers can experience the best of Santa Barbara County wines this Columbus Day Weekend at the Santa Barbara Vintners’ Celebration of Harvest. Billed as the “Ultimate Fall Wine & Food Festival”, all things wine will be honored at a host of events countywide from Friday October 10th through Monday October 13th.
Santa Barbara County is home to a diverse number of wines, more than 50 different varietals, from their famous Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, Syrahs, and Cabernets to the uncommon wines of Albariño, Grenache Blanc, Mourvedre, and Sangiovese. What better way to acquaint yourself with this incredible bounty of wine just outside of Los Angeles than to attend the main event! Over 100 member wineries will pour their wines at the Celebration of Harvest Festival Grand Tasting at the Old Mission Santa Inés in Solvang on Saturday October 11th from 1-4pm. Unlimited wine tasting, food sampling, pop up wine seminars, and live music make for a fun afternoon. This is a great opportunity to sip wines from small producers such as Dragonette, ampelos, Flying Goat, and Cold Heaven, to name a few, alongside local legends such as Babcock, Ken Brown, and Au Bon Climat. The food bites are catered by local restaurants such as the Far Western Tavern, Hitching Post II, Industrial Eats, and the Ballard Inn & Restaurant. A silent specialty wine auction will also be held, with the proceeds going to the Santa Barbara County Food Bank. Tickets are available for $75 online, www.celebrationofharvest.com.
In addition to this Saturday event, you can purchase a 4-day “Vintners’ Visa”, from Friday through Monday, that allows you to travel to over 60 participating wineries along seven different wine trails and the Los Olivos Promenade for special events. For $50 (or if combined with the Grand tasting, discounted to $40), you can sample wines from Stolpman Vineyards, Margerum, Sanford, and Palmina, to name a few. These wineries will host special open houses, where you can taste barrel samples, library wines, and the new releases. Some offer winery tours, winemaker dinners, barbecues, and even a “Sideways” film screening from Kalyra Wines. Smaller wineries that are not usually open to the public, like Turiya Wines, invite you to discover their passion. Get ready to stock your home wine cellar with a bevy of wine beauties!
Explore the charms of Santa Barbara County, with all their legendary wines and great food, it’s an easy day trip, or a fun weekend adventure. Cheers!