Santa Barbara is one of our favorite wine regions. Typically we find our way that direction in April for the Vintners Spring Weekend, with it’s Seminars, special events and of course the Grand Tasting. This year, we thought we would mix it up a bit and we will be attending the Celebration of Harvest. Fall rather than spring, post harvest rather than bud break…it gives a different visual of the area.
We just did a Flash tour through a large portion of California Wine country and our starting and ending point was Santa Barbara County. You simply can’t beat the diversity. With the East/West Valley and the temperature increasing a degree per mile as you drive from the cooler Sta. Rita Hills (think Burgundy) through the Santa Ynez Valley past Ballard Canyon (think the Rhone) and on into Happy Canyon (yep think Bordeaux), (not to mention the micro climates you find in Los Alamos Valley or the amazing Vandenburg fog that influences the grapes in Santa Maria and Foxen Canyon), you get a wide range of varieties that grow well here, so when it comes to the Santa Barbara Vintners events, there is something for everyone. We have done a highlight reel of our favorite stops in this amazing area. Of course that list is growing, but check out So you are heading to Santa Barbara and want to know where to taste wine.
This years Celebration of Harvest, kicks off with their signature event “Taste of Santa Barbara Wine Country“. This event will be held at the Fess Parker Resort, right across from the beach in Santa Barbara. 50 wineries will be on hand to pour their fall releases and word has it that many will have library wines available for tasting also. And of course their will be great food from some of the best restaurants and vendors in wine country.
Many of the greats will be there, Alma Rosa, Au Bon Climat, Qupe and some of our favorites, Beckmen, Casa Dumetz, Clos Pepe, Jamie Slone, Presqu’ile, Riverbench, Zaca Mesa. And don’t miss stopping by The Central Coast Group Project if you want to try something new. Scott Sampler of CCGP has been working with extended mascerations and is producing some very interesting wines.
In addition they will have Harvest Experience Passports available. The passport allows you to visit up to 12 of the participating tasting rooms over the weekend, many of which will have special experiences and tastings just for passport members.
They also have a series of Collaborative Dinners in various locations, where a restaurant or chef are paired up with several wineries for a unique dining experience. There are 4 of these set up in various locations around the area from a Surf and Turf dinner Angel Oak at Bacara out on the shore with Fiddlehead, Zotovich, Martian, Longoria and Jaffurs wines, to a Cowboy BBQ in Los Alamos with Municipal Winemakers, Casa Dumetz, Lumen, Frequency and Bedford. Further in there is a Farm to Fork, Vine to Glass dinner at the Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe with Bernat, J. Wilkes, and Refugio Ranch and then and East Meets West at the magical Ballard Inn Gathering Table with Chef Budi Kazali creating amazing dishes to pair with wines from Melville, Andrew Murray, Beckmen and Star Lane Vineyards.
Celebration of Harvest Weekend is a great opportunity to taste a variety of the amazing wines from this area and get to meet some of the winemakers. There is so much to this amazing area you could spend weeks here and not see it all (trust me, we’ve tried). So take the weekend and learn about this amazing wine region that is practically in LA’s backyard. There are beautiful wines being made here and there is something for everyone.
You can find out more on the Santa Barbara Vintners Celebration of Harvest site, where you can see the entire schedule for the weekend, buy tickets for the events and purchase your passport for the weekend.
And be sure to stop back here! We look forward to sharing with you all of our adventures during the Celebration of Harvest.