A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg
Our local winemakers have been hard at work amongst the vines, but now it’s time for them to take a break for the annual celebration of the year’s bounty. The annual Celebration of Harvest Weekend is a time to enjoy the fruits of those labors, when vintners pour their wines, and if you’re lucky, share their harvest tales with us.
“The Celebration of Harvest Festival is celebrating its 25th year and a return to the Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang,” says Morgen McLaughlin, Executive Director, Santa Barbara Vintners. The Grand Tasting features only Santa Barbara County wines, and is one of the longest running wine events in California.”
The Festival Grand Tasting is Saturday, October 8 from noon-4 p.m. at Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang. All 100+ winery members of Santa Barbara Vintners will gather to present their wines, which are often poured by the winemakers themselves. A ticket gets you unlimited wine tastings from 100 Santa Barbara County wineries, food samplings from two dozen restaurants and food purveyors. Add in live music and wine/cooking demos and you have a great festival.
“Many winemakers are in the middle of harvest this time of the year, so they will have lots of stories from the cellar to share. In the Connoisseur Club (individually ticketed) we have a wine and food pairing experience with the Ballard Inn featuring wines from all of our different AVAs,” says McLaughlin.
In addition, she says, “This year we are excited to feature a Women in Santa Barbara County Wine seminar on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. In the afternoon, we have 100 winery members pouring nearly 500 different wines.”
Moderated by Gabe Saglie (Senior Editor for Travelzoo and a respected travel/wine contributor for dozens of TV news programs and national shows), panelists include: Tara Gomez of Kita, Kathy Joseph of Fiddlehead, Sonja Magdevski of Casa Dumetz, Erika Maldonado of Runway, Laura Roach of Sanford and Denise Shurtleff of Cambria.
There are also a number of special events throughout the weekend, including the dinner on Friday Evening (Oct. 7), when the Santa Barbara County wine community will take a small respite from the harvest, along with attending wine lovers, who will all reach deep into their personal cellars, to attend the Harvest Dinner at Root 246 in the Fountain Courtyard, in downtown Solvang. Here, wine lovers will enjoy a grazing meal with multiple food stations alongside wines brought and shared by fellow dinner guests and wine makers. Each guest brings special bottle of wine to share with fellow guests in the La Paulée style.
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When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”