Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Wine and Food Festival

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

One of the very best wine fests—the 31st Annual Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival—returns to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on Saturday, June 30.

The Museum is a beautiful place to indulge in delicious wines paired with excellent bites along the shaded banks of Mission Creek. And you can feel good about going to this event because all net proceeds from the festival support the Museum’s nature and science education programs. I have fond memories of field trips to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History  back when I was in elementary school, as well as many more recent trips with my son.

It’s definitely a festival with a LOCAL feeling. Perhaps because of that, the Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival is also one of the few events that the winemakers themselves attend and pour their favorite vintages. “This is one of the very best tastings that we attend throughout the year,” says Richard Sanford of Alma Rosa.

“This is the most beautiful tasting, the most beautiful setting that I do anywhere in the country.” says Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat.

Jamie Slone at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Jamie Slone at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

More than 50 Central Coast wineries will be at the festival, including:

Alexander & Wayne

Alma Rosa

Marni Margerum at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Marni Margerum at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Andrew Murray Vineyards 

Area 5.1

Arthur Earl Winery

Au Bon Climat

Babcock Winery

Beckmen Vineyards

Bedford Winery

Blair Fox

Brander Vineyard

Brewer-Clifton

Buttonwood

Cambria

Carr Vineyards and Winery

Casa Dumetz

Cebada

Consilience

CORE

Cutler’s Artisan

D’Alfonso-Curran

De Paola

Domaine de la Cote

Epiphany Cellars

Feliz Noche

Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard

Tim Snider and Brad Thomas at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Tim Snider and Brad Thomas at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Fiddlehead Cellars

Flying Goat Cellars

Foxen

Gainey Vineyards

Grassini Family Vineyards

Jaffurs Wine Cellars

Jamie Slone

Kalyra

Kaena Wine

Ken Brown Wines

Kenneth Volk Vineyards

Koehler Winery

LaFond Winery

Larner Wines

Fred Brander at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Fred Brander at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Longoria

Lumen

Mail Road Winery

Margerum Wine Company

Melville

Mosby Winery & Vineyard

Municipal Winemakers

Notary Public

Nielson

Oreana

Palmina

Potek

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

Qupé

Rancho Sisquoc Winery

Rideau

Sagebrush Annie’s

Sandhi Wines

Santa Barbara Winery

Savoy Wines

Silver Wines

Storm Wines

Sunstone Winery

Tablas Creek

Tatomer

Tercero Wines

Transcendence Wines

Whitcraft Winery

Zaca Mesa

Courtesy Santa Barbara Wine and Food Festival.

Courtesy Santa Barbara Wine and Food Festival.

Ian Cutler at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Ian Cutler at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Also available are sweet and savory delectable delights from more than 40 of Santa Barbara County’s finest eateries and caterers, including:

• Barbareño

• Benchmark

• Black Bow Sweets

• Blue Water Grill

• Bob’s Well Bread

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

• Bottlest Bistro

• Brophy Bros.

• Ca’ Dario

• Corazon Cocina

• Country Catering

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

• Deux Bakery

• Enterprise Fish Company

• Farmer Boy

• Finch and Fork Restaurant

• Gelson’s Market – Santa Barbara

• Helena Avenue Bakery

• Hitching Post

• il Fustino

• Industrial Eats

• Jessica Foster Confections

Les Marchands

Loquita

• Michael’s Catering

• Oat Bakery

• Outpost at Goodland

• Pacific Pickle Works

• Pico

Guests enjoy Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Guests enjoy Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

• Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro

• Santa Barbara Popcorn Co.

• Savoy Cafe and Deli

• Scarlett Begonia

• Solvang Bakery

• The Bear and Star

The Lark

• Tondi Gelato

• Via Maestra 42

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival tickets cost $75 for Museum members and $100 for non-members. VIP tickets, including access to the VIP Lounge, early entry at 1 p.m. (the regular festival runs from 2–5 p.m.), six exclusive tastings and food pairings with winemakers, chair massages, and more are $125 for Museum members and $150 for non-members.

Designated drivers are free to enter as long as they accompany a paid guest. Designated drivers can sign up by emailing Sarah at sclement@sbnature2.org and giving the names of their passenger(s).

The Museum is located at 2559 Puesta Del Sol, Santa Barbara. For more information, please visit www.sbnature.org/winefestival.

I hope to see some of you there. Cheers!  Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

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 believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 3, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Wine & Fire Weekend

Wine & Fire Weekend, courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.

Wine & Fire Weekend, courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance hosts the annual Wine & Fire Weekend Aug. 18-20. In addition to special events and tastings throughout the weekend at member wineries, there is also a Barn Party at Dierberg Star Lane on Friday Aug. 18, where member wineries will share their library stashes, large format bottles and small production wines to get you warmed up for the weekend.

Participating Wineries include: Babcock Winery, Bratcher Winery, Brewer-Clifton, Byron Winery, Crawford Family Wines, Dierberg, Fiddlehead Cellars, Flying Goat Cellars, Foley Estates, Hilliard Bruce, Hitching Post Wines, Ken Brown, La Voix Winery, LaMontagne, Loring Wine Company, Lutum Wines, Montemar, Peake Ranch, Sanford Winery & Vineyards, Seagrape Wine Company and Spear. Plus, antipasti and wood fired pizzas by Bello Forno, a cheese buffet presented by Central Coast Specialties and great music by the T-Bone Ramblers will set the pace for a weekend of wining and dining.

Wine & Fire Weekend, photo by Jeremy Ball, Bottle Branding, courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.

Wine & Fire Weekend, photo by Jeremy Ball, Bottle Branding, courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.

Next up on Saturday morning is a Focused Tasting and Lunch Featuring the Vineyards of Santa Rosa Road. The morning will begin with a Sparkling Reception, followed by a “virtual” tour as you travel through the mile markers of Santa Rosa Road. The event takes place at El Jabali Vineyard and Matt Kettmann, from Wine Enthusiast, will act as tour guide.

Vineyards and producers representing: Bentrock – Bratcher, Babcock, El Jabali – Alma Rosa, Fe Ciega – Longoria / Fiddlestix Vineyard – Dragonette, Fiddlehead, Hitching Post / La Rinconada – Sanford / Lafond Vineyards – Lafond, Sweetzer Cellars / Peake Ranch – Peake Ranch Wines / Quinta Santa Rosa Vineyard – Prodigal / Radian – Ken Brown, Crawford Family Wines, Montemar / Rancho La Vina – Seagrape, Temperance Cellars, LaMontagne / Rio Vista Vineyard – Thorne, Flying Goat, Montemar, Temperance Cellars / Rita’s Crown Vineyard – Babcock,  Sweetzer Cellars / Sanford and Benedict Vineyard – Hitching Post, Sanford and Ken Brown.

Wine & Fire Weekend, photo by Jeremy Ball, Bottle Branding, courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.

Wine & Fire Weekend, photo by Jeremy Ball, Bottle Branding, courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.

After the tour is lunch and a sampling of Rose wines produced by the members.

Finally, on Sunday, Aug. 19 is the Grand Tasting, where more than 40 wineries and sizzling local chefs and farmers will be on hand for an evening of chilling and grilling at the beautiful, historic La Purisima Mission, located on the edge of the AVA. Babe Farms, Campbell Farms, Central Coast Specialty Foods, Homegrown Cowboy, The Hitching Post II, Los Amigos BBQ, Tollhouse BBQ, Scratch Kitchen, The Ballard Inn and the Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers will be serving up an amazing selection of local food favorites!

Participating Wineries: Alma Rosa, Ave, Babcock, Bratcher Winery, Brewer-Clifton, Byron Winery, Buscador, Clos Pepe Estate, Crawford Family Wines, Dragonette, Fiddlehead Cellars, Flying Goat Cellars, Foley Estates, Hilliard Bruce, Hitching Post Wines, Ken Brown, Kessler-Haak Wines, Kitá Wines, La Voix Winery, Lafond Winery, LaMontagne, Liquid Farm, Longoria, Loring Wine Company, Lutum Wines, Montemar, Moretti Wines, Pali Wine Company, Peake Ranch, Sanford Winery & Vineyards, Seagrape Wine Company, Spear, Sweetzer Cellars, Temperance Cellars, Thorn – The Prisoner Wine Company, Transcendence and Zotovich Vineyards & Winery.

For more information, visit staritahills.com/wine-fire.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

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.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 18, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Wine & Food Festival

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Food & Wine Festival.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine & Food Festival.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History‘s beloved wine festival, and they are commemorating the event with a new name—the Santa Barbara Wine & Food Festival—which more accurately reflects the bounty of sips and bites found at this signature fundraiser.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Food & Wine Festival.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine & Food Festival.

While the food and the wine have always flowed freely at the festival, this year events manager Meridith Moore has set a goal to have 50 food vendors on the roster this year to accompany the 50 wineries. “My hope is that the name change will help to attract even more of Santa Barbara county’s incredible food vendors and highlight the ones that have been participating all these years,” she says.

As of press time, food vendors include: BarbarenoBenchmarkBob’s Well BreadBrophy Bros.Buena OndaCa’ DarioCoffee Bean and Tea LeafChooket/Your Cake Baker, Corazon CocinaCountry CateringFarmer BoyFinch and Fork RestaurantGelson’s ~ Santa BarbaraHelena Avenue BakeryHippypopIl FustinoIndustrial EatsLa MousseLa SorelleLoquitaMichael’s CateringMr. E’s FreezeMulberry LovePacific Pickle WorksPicoRenaud’s Patissiere and Bakery , Slate Catering CoSolvang BakeryThe Bear and StarThe Berry ManTondi GelatoVia Maestra 42 and Whole Foods Santa Barbara.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Food & Wine Festival.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine & Food Festival.

Wineries pouring this year include: Alexander & WayneAlma RosaAndrew Murray VineyardsArea 5.1Arthur Earl WineryAu Bon ClimatBabcock WineryBeckmen VineyardsBedford WineryBlair FoxBrander VineyardBrewer-CliftonButtonwoodByron by NielsonCa Del GrevinoCambriaCarr Vineyards and WineryCasa DumetzCebada, ConsilienceCORECrawford Family WinesDierbergDe PaolaEpiphany CellarsFalcone Family VineyardsFeliz NocheFess Parker Winery & VineyardFiddlehead Cellars,

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Food & Wine Festival.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine & Food Festival.

Flying Goat CellarsFoxenGainey VineyardsGrassini Family VineyardsHilliard BruceJaffurs Wine CellarsJamie SloneKalyraKen Brown WinesKenneth Volk VineyardsKoehler WineryKuninLaFond WineryLarner WinesLongoriaLoring Wine CompanyLumenMargerum Wine CompanyMelvilleMosby Winery & VineyardMunicipal WinemakersNotary Public WinesOreanaPalminaPoint ConcepcionPotekPure Order Brewing CompanyQupéRancho Sisquoc WineryRefugio RanchRideauSagebrush Annie’sSanta Barbara WinerySilver WinesSpear WineryStar Lane VineyardSunstone WineryTablas CreekTatomerTercero WinesThird Window BrewingToucan WinesTranscendence WinesVogelzangWhitcraft Winery and Zaca Mesa.

The beautiful grounds of Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (2559 Puesta del Sol) are a wonderful spot to appreciate being out in nature, and what better way to enjoy a summer weekend than sipping wine underneath the oaks along Mission Creek? Especially when the proceeds go to support the work of the museum. The event takes place on Saturday, June 24.

Guests 21 and older may purchase admission on the Museum’s website (www.sbnature.org/winefestival). This event is always a sellout, so if you want to join in the fun, act quickly or you not get tickets.

Hope to see you there. Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

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.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 2, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Wine Festival Gets Better With Age

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Santa Barbara Wine Festival—the first festival of its kind on the Central Coast—returns for the 29th year, hosted by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (2559 Puesta Del Sol Rd.) on Saturday, June 25 from 2-5 p.m.

The beautiful grounds of Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History are a wonderful spot to appreciate being out in nature, and what better way to enjoy a summer weekend than sipping wine underneath the oaks along Mission Creek? Guests will sip, swirl, and savor a variety of wine from 75 wineries complemented by tasty hors d’oeuvres and desserts from famed local restaurants, farm-to-table caterers, and other top shelf food purveyors.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

They’ll also be celebrating the museum’s 100th birthday with, what else … bubbles! As a commemorative presentation this year, Santa Barbara Wine Festival features Sparkling Way; a special area dedicated to sparkling wines and the perfect opportunity to raise a glass to the occasion. Also, new to the event this year is the VIP Redwood Lounge, where VIP ticket holders can enter the festival one hour early and enjoy a private tasting before everyone else arrives.

Winemakers Paul Lato and Morgan Clendenen will be in the VIP Lounge from 1-2 p.m. to pour their world class wines, along with savory bites from Chef Pete Clements. The lounge will also offer access to intimate seating, delectable treats, late , and complimentary chair massages throughout the festival.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

The Cork Pull raffle is always one of my favorite things at this festival. For $30 to pull a cork, participants are guaranteed to win a prize worth at least $30, many of which are terrific wines and other prizes valued at $50 and above. Plus, all proceeds benefit the museum’s exhibits and education programs.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Participating wineries include: Alexander & WayneAlma RosaAndrew Murray VineyardsArthur EarlAu Bon ClimatBabcock WineryBeckmen VineyardsBedford WineryBlair Fox Cellars, Brander VineyardBrewer-Clifton ButtonwoodByronCambriaCargasacchi/Pt ConceptionCarr Vineyards and WineryCasa DumetzCebadaCinque StelleCOREConsilienceCrawford Family Wines, Daniel Gehrs WinesDierberg/Star LaneDe Paola VineyardEpiphany CellarsFalcone VineyardsFeliz NocheFess Parker Winery & VineyardFiddlehead CellarsFlying Goat CellarsFoxenGainey VineyardGrassini Family VineyardsGypsy Canyon, Jaffurs Wine Cellars  and Jamie Slone Wines.

Also pouring are:KalyraKen Brown WinesKenneth Volk VineyardsKita WinesKoehler WineryKuninLaFondLarner Wines and General StoreLongoriaLoring Wine CompanyLumenMargerum Wine CompanyMelvilleMosby Winery & VineyardMunicipal WinemakersOreanaPalminaPotekQupéRancho Sisquoc WineryRefugio RanchSanta Barbara WinerySilver WinesSunstone WineryTablas CreekTatomerTercero WinesToucan WinesTranscendence WinesWhitcraft WineryWilliam James and Zaca Mesa.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

In addition, participating food vendors are: BarbarenoBenchmark eatery, Brophy Bros., Ca DarioCountry CateringCoffee Bean and Tea LeafDuoFarmer BoyFinch & ForkFreezerMonkeyIl FustinoIndustrial EatsJessica Foster ConfectionsMichael’s CateringMr. E’s FreezeMulberry LoveNectar Eatery and LoungePacific Pickle WorksThe Stonehouse at San Ysidro RanchVia MaestraVillage Modern Foods and Patxi’s Pizza.

For more information and to purchase tickets for the Santa Barbara Wine Festival, please visit http://www.sbnature.org/winefestival.

Hope to see you there. Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

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.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on June 17, 2016.

Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Wine Festival

"The Magnificent Seven" (left to right) Ken Brown, Bob Lundquist, Richard Sanford, Jim Clendenen, Drake Whitcraft, Doug Margerum, and Fred Brander - a veritable 'who's who' of Central Coast winemakers, will all be at this year's Santa Barbara Wine Festival again – for the 28th year. Photo by Joni Kelly.

“The Magnificent Seven” (left to right) Ken Brown, Bob Lundquist, Richard Sanford, Jim Clendenen, Drake Whitcraft, Doug Margerum, and Fred Brander – a veritable ‘who’s who’ of Central Coast winemakers, will all be at this year’s Santa Barbara Wine Festival again – for the 28th year. Photo by Joni Kelly.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

The beautiful grounds of Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History are a wonderful spot to appreciate being out in nature, and what better way to enjoy a summer weekend than sipping wine underneath the oaks along Mission Creek? Especially when the proceeds go to support the work of the museum.

Santa Barbara Wine Festival, photo by Bob Dickey

Santa Barbara Wine Festival, photo by Bob Dickey

“Santa Barbara Wine Festival is a wine-focused festival,” says Festival Chair, Meridith Moore. Indeed, more than 50 wineries will be pouring at the museum, including some of our favorites like Santa Barbara Winery, Arthur Earl, Grassini, Kita Wines (Chumash Tribe), Palmina, Alma Rosa, Koehler, Au Bon Climat, Babcock, Sunstone, Fess Parker, Andrew Murray, Margerum, Jamie Slone, Beckmen and Whitcraft, to name just a few.

There are plenty of tasty bites at Santa Barbara Wine Festival as well. “We have a large array of top-shelf food purveyors, many of whom are especially paired with wineries that complement one another,” says Moore. “It is exciting because many of the winemakers and chefs are present and available for the guests to meet and discuss the qualities of their varietals and menu items–just another example of why this has become one of the most beloved wine festivals on the Central Coast and the one to attend.”

Scrumptious samples from local food purveyors will complement the wines poured at the Museum's annual event. Photo by Valentin Mendoza.

Scrumptious samples from local food purveyors will complement the wines poured at the Museum’s annual event. Photo by Valentin Mendoza.

Among the yummy items on the menu are: Braised Short Rib Meatballs (Michael’s Catering); Oyster Shooters (Brophy Bros.); Homemade Tamales (Santa Barbara Tamales To Go); Sage and Butternut Squash Raviolis (Ca Dario); Cheese Tastings from around the World (C’est Cheese); Hand-rolled Truffles (Jessica Foster Confections); and Mini Cupcakes (Coveted Cakery), to name a few.

Santa Barbara Wine Festival takes place at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (2559 Puesta de Sol, 805/682-4711, sbnature.org) on Saturday, June 27 from 2-5 p.m.

For more information and to purchase admission for the Santa Barbara Wine Festival, please visit sbnature.org/winefestival.

Hope to see you there. Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

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.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on June 19. 2015.

News From Over the Hill

What’s Going on in North County This Spring

NFOTH_Featured-Image

Take flight over wine country with Sky’s the Limit Ballooning Adventures. Courtesy photo.

Craft Beer Month

It takes a lot of beer to make good wine, which is probably why the craft beer movement has exploded in Santa Ynez Valley. Our local wine country celebrates the virtues of beer for the entire month of May, when suds lovers can enjoy an impressive array of out-of-the-ordinary tastings, classes, dinners, demos and more. One of the highlights is the Buellton BrewFest. Featuring more than 50 breweries (and some wineries), life-sized beer pong, food trucks and three live bands, this fun festival is sure to sell out, so buy your tickets early. | Santa Ynez Valley Craft Beer Month, May 1–31, various locations, visitsyv.com/craft-beer-month. Buellton BrewFest, Riverview Park, 151 Sycamore Dr., Buellton, May 9, VIP 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.; general admission, 12:30–4 p.m., buelltonbrewfest.com.

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Cowboy entertainer Dave Stamey appears in Tales from the Tavern at the Maverick Saloon, courtesy of Dave Stamey.

Tales From the Tavern

Come hunker down at Maverick Saloon, Santa Barbara County’s quintessential cowboy bar, for the tavern’s annual concert series. Dave Stamey, who True West Magazine named the “Best Living Western Solo Musician,” takes the stage on March 11. This cowboy, mule packer, dude wrangler has delighted audiences in 14 states and says that he prefers this to being stomped by angry horses. Jamaican-born reggae singer-songwriter Owen Plant and Brother Sun play on March 25; then musician, rancher, storyteller and Canadian icon Ian Tyson tells his tales in a special Thursday night performance on April 16. Wrapping up the spring season on April 29 is American musical legend Janis Ian, who began her professional life at 12 years old and is probably best known for hits like “Society’s Child,” “At Seventeen” and “Between the Lines.” Fun fact: Ian was the very first musical guest on the debut broadcast of Saturday Night Live on October 11, 1975. | Maverick Saloon, 3687 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez, 805/688-0383, talesfromthetavern.com.

Ballooning

One of the best ways to enjoy the valley is to go up, up and away in a hot air balloon with Sky’s the Limit Ballooning Adventures. Flights capture beautiful views over the wine country surrounded by transverse mountain ranges, the Channel Islands, Lake Cachuma and the historic towns of Solvang, Los Olivos, Buellton, Santa Maria and Paso Robles. A variety of packages are available, including one that includes wine tasting at vineyards such as Bedford, Alma Rosa, Rusack, Brander, Carhartt, Bridlewood, Dierberg and Blair Fox. | Sky’s the Limit Ballooning Adventures, Santa Ynez Valley Airport, 900 Airport Rd., Santa Ynez, 760/602-0295, santabarbaraballoonrides.com.

FW-_-the-union-color

Craft Beer Month in May is an excellent time to taste small batch beers, courtesy Firestone Walker Brewing.

The Penelopiad

Margaret Atwood’s new stage adaptation of her wry, witty and wise novella The Penelopiad is a reimagining of the ancient story of the Trojan War, Helen of Troy and Odysseus, told from the point of view of Penelope (perhaps the first desperate housewife to appear in art). She fends off the attentions of greedy suitors, as traveling minstrels regale her with the news of Odysseus’s epic adventures around the Mediterranean, only to have him repay her devotion with heart-wrenching ruthlessness. This PCPA (Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts) production runs March 5–22. | Severson Theatre, Allan Hancock College Campus, 1100 S. Bradley, Santa Maria, 805/922-8313, pcpa.org.

2014-Taste-of-Solvang-Dessert-Winner-Amateur-Lana-Clarks-Coconut-Delights-photo-credit-Liz-Dodder

Taste the best of Solvang this March, photo by Liz Dodder.

Taste of Solvang

There’s always something delicious going on in Solvang, but they really bring out all the stops at this annual event. Now in its 23rd year, Taste of Solvang offers a menu—from farm-to-table rustic Italian cuisine to new American and modern Danish fare, plus desserts in all forms, award-winning beers and world-class wines—that’s sure to please every palate. This year’s highlights include Farmers Market Chef Walks led by Chef Budi Kazali of The Ballard Inn & Restaurant, Chef David Cecchini of Cecco Ristorante and Chef James Owens of The Bistro at Hadsten House; Bubbles and Brunch at Wildling Museum; a Winemaker Dinner with Michael Larner of Larner Vineyard & Winery and Bacon & Brine’s Chef Pink; plus sips and sweets, the Solvang Wine and Beer Walk, the Grand Tasting with treats from more than 30 businesses and much, much more! | March 18–22, various locations throughout Solvang. 805/688-6144, solvangusa.com.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine, Spring 2015.

Cocktail Corner: Celebration of Harvest

Celebration of Harvest, photo by Gary Coon, courtesy SB Vintners

Celebration of Harvest, photo by Gary Coon, courtesy SB Vintners

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Local winemakers have been hard at work amongst the vines for the last few weeks, but now it’s time for them to take a break for the annual celebration of the year’s bounty. Celebration of Harvest Weekend is a time to enjoy the fruits of those labors, when vintners pour their wines, relax a little bit, and if you’re lucky, share their harvest tales with the winehounds among us.

The Festival Grand Tasting is Saturday, October 11 from 1-4 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 Santa Barbara County wineries, food samplings from local restaurants, caterers, and food creators, pop-up wine seminars and live music from the Occasional Mustache and Donna Green and the Roadhouse Daddies.

Everyone from Alma Rosa to Zotovich will be pouring, with food from a number of favorites, including The WillowsTrattoria Grappolo, Hitching Post II and Global Gardens.

Celebration of Harvest, photo by Tenley Fohl Photography, courtesy SB Vintners

Celebration of Harvest, photo by Tenley Fohl Photography, courtesy SB Vintners

There are also a number of special events throughout the weekend, everything from winemaker dinners, library tastings, new wine releases and barrel tastings. On Saturday night there’s a special concert at Solvang Festival Theatre starring Toad the Wet Sprocket with special guests Jonathan Kingham and Tommy & the High Pilots.

Also available just for the weekend are an all-inclusive tasting pass.  You can purchase a Vintners Visa for unique and complimentary offerings at your choice of tasting rooms. For all the details on the Grand Tasting and special events, and to purchase tickets click here.

Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

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.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 3, 2014.

Cocktail Corner: Sublime Summer Sips

Courtesy Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club

Courtesy Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Sublime Summer Sips are on the menu with a variety of opportunities to wine down on those long summer days.

Pony up for Happy Hour at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. The club now welcomes visitors to take in the excitement of world-class polo competition combining the beauty and speed of thoroughbred horses with the thrill and skill of team competition on Friday nights, as well as every Sunday during the summer. Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, 3375 Foothill Rd., Carpinteria, 805/684-5819, sbpolo.com.

Les Marchands is the place to be on Tuesday June 24, when “the King of Rheingau Riesling,” Johannes Leitz, will sit down to dinner and pour four of his wines.  The German winemaker is considered a modern master by people in the know, and Chef Weston Richards will pair stunning Riesling-friendly dishes such as crispy pig ear salad with frisee, avocado and herbs;crab bisque, red curry and puffed rice; housemade ramen, pork belly, spicy garlic pork broth, brussel sprouts and scallions; and pittig aged gouda, lavender honey and apricots for dessert. Space is limited, so click here for reservations. Les Marchands, 131 Anacapa St. 805/284-0380, lesmarchandswine.com.

Santa Barbara Wine Festival on Saturday, June 28, is a wonderful way to appreciate being out in nature underneath the oaks along Mission Creek at the museum, while enjoying more than 50 tantalizing wines from the Central Coast’s premier wineries—everyone from Alma Rosa to Zaca Mesa is there, often with the winemakers themselves pouring and chatting up the crowd—complemented by fitting pairings of savory and sweet delights from local chefs, caterers, bakers and restaurateurs. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, 2559 Puesta de Sol, 805/682-4711, sbnature.org.

Local winemaker and owner of Larner Vineyards and Winery, Michael Larner is teaming up with Chef Jason Paluska at The Lark for a Local Treasures dinner, which should be amazing! Expect a complete six-course dining experience, pairing locally sourced ingredients with wines from Ballard Canyon in the Santa Ynez Valley. Seating is limited, so please contact mkremzar@thelarksb.com for reservations. The Lark, 131 Anacapa St., 805/284-0370, thelarksb.com.

Tickets must be purchased by June 22 for the 29th annual Central Coast Wine Classic, a weekend in Avila Beach (July 10-13) centered around fine wine and cuisine that features local wineries and restaurants, and draws crowds from across the country and around the world. Many charities on the Central Coast will be awarded gifts, including the Rona Barrett Foundation, a local nonprofit that seeks to provide a solution to affordable housing and supportive services for seniors in need with the development of the Golden Inn & Village, where seniors may access a variety of care that meets their needs as they age in place. Various Avila Beach locations, centralcoastwineclassic.org.

Cheers!

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Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

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.”