Disclosure: I was given complimentary entrance to the California Wine Festival for coverage.
What’s great about Santa Barbara, for those that reside in Los Angeles, is that its far enough to feel like a full on vacation, and close enough for it just to be a day trip.
So, when the California Wine Festival, an annual tradition for the past 10 years, was happening in Santa Barbara, I took it as an opportunity to fully go and embrace the event.
In my car by 9:30 am, I hit the road to arrive right before noon that day, just in time for the festival to start:
For those with VIP status, they were let in a hour ahead of time. So, VIP event goers were let in at noon. The rest of the public would join in the fun at 1pm. The glasses shown above were pretty much gone by 2:30pm.
Upon entrance you were given a wine glass to partake. Various booths were found throughout the festival grounds, briefly being sorted out into sections. Napa and Sonoma Counties were close together on the outside. On the inside lied booths separated into segments: Lodi Valley, Livermore, and Paso Robles.
There was also a silent auction taking place at the festival where people could bid on some pretty awesome sports items:
And right next to the silent auction was another booth where you could donate 20 dollars and you instantly won a prize. I decided to take a chance and was happy to be bringing this gem home:
Walking around the festival grounds, each winery had a booth set up where you could try a variety of their wines available. You could easily start out with whites and work your way towards the reds by the end of it.
The Paso Robles even had a section broke off specifically for their Cabernets.
Sextant: One of the wineries located within the Paso Robles Cab section. Although, this area, quite small, made it a hard area to walk through and truly appreciate the varietals of Cabernets that were in there.
I found that Sangria’s were a popular theme found throughout the festival with one of my new favorites:
Madria Sangria. Their Moscato variety is very refreshing with those fruit bits truly delivered. They also have a traditional sangria variety (I did not try!)
After you’ve tasted a bit of wine, make sure to stand in one of the lines to get some food to munch on. Gelson’s was present for their 9th year in a row handing out fruit and cheese platters to everyone in attendance:
There were also a variety of wine vendors throughout the festival where you could purchase wino tshirts, wino glassware, cutting boards, and more:
And I have to tell you there was just no way to try all of the wine that was present at this year’s festival. That’s how many wineries were present:
Participating Wineries included:
Cambria Estate Winery
Cannonball Wine Company
Carol Shelton Wines
Farmer’s Fury Wines
Fontes and Phillips Wines
Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Harney Lane Winery
Hearst Ranch Winery
Hoyt Family Vineyards
J. Hamilton Wines
Jessie’s Grove Winery
Kenneth Volk Vineyards
Klinker Brick Winery
Laetitia Vineyard and Winery
Lange Twins Family Vineyard
Le Vigne Winery
Lion’s Peak Vineyard and Winery
Michael David Winery
Mitchella Vineyard and Winery
Oak Ridge Winery
Pyreness Vineyards and Cellars
Ritual Wine Company
Ruby Hill Winery
Rugg Family Wines
Rutherford Wine Company
Steven Kent/La Rochelle
Trattore Estate Wines and Dry Creek Olive Company
Wente Family Estates
White Oak Winery
Zaca Mesa Winery and Vineyard
B & E Vineyard
J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines
JUSTIN Vineyards and Wines
Parrish Family Vineyards
Robert Hall Winery
See what I’m talking about? And I know my knowledge in wine is beginning to improve because I’m starting to truly recognize the vineyards in and around California and was happy to see them present when I was walking around.
Disclosure: I was given admittance to the California Wine Festival for coverage of this event.