When we were traveling through wine country last year we made a brief afternoon stop in Los Olivos. It was almost the end of the day and we had stopped at 2 other tasting rooms and headed down to Saarloos and Sons only to find them closed. Sadly we headed across the street and the gods were more than kind as we slid into the tiny little tasting room a Carhartt. I’ve waxed poetic about them before so feel free to check out that blog post if you want more details on the tasting room. For here, suffice to say we were in love and charmed and joined the wine club. So…as folks who rarely have the weekend off, when we had a vacation the first thing we did was to check our wineclubs and see if any had special events. Voila! The Carhartt Winemakers Dinner fit perfectly! The Dinner is held at the winery on Rancho Santa Ynez just south of Los Olivos. Limited to 120 guests the event feels like a family affair with Brooke, Mike and Chase out greeting guests and pouring wine. We began thinking it was going to be cold and in fact many people went to get coats. I however had not thought to pack one…it didn’t matter with the food wine and conversation I never got cold. A band played jazz with a keyboard/trumpet player and a dog. (yes keyboard with one hand, trumpet with the other). Lights were strung over the lawn and candles set on each table. A roving magician wondered entertaining guests. Richard’s quick wit and ability to deal with hecklers was impressive. He also helped a table of people who didn’t know each other to bond. Dinner was great, the wine fantastic and we made 7 new friends! The raffle ended the night and our table seemed always just a number away from a win. Finally Michael’s number came up! We won a bottle of 2009 Fourplay. While it was a prize worth saving, the only way to finish this evening was to pop the bottle and share with all of our new friends. It took some work! They tried to talk us out of opening it and then when opened the pourer tried to tell us “Oh no, I think it’s corked! I’ll take it home for you!” HA we poured a glass for everyone at the table and enjoyed a charming moment of community with these other wine lovers. A perfect end to the evening.