A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg
It sure feels like summer with the weather we’ve had this week! The Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail will keep the warm summer vibe going with three toast-worthy events over one wine-filled weekend, May 30 – June 1.
Dubbed the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail “Summer Celebration,” the festivities feature a Passport to the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail for the weekend, a Red & White AVA Seminar and the Grand Tasting. The “Summer Celebration” Passport will be happening all weekend long (May 30 – June 1) at all of the 23 tasting rooms. The Passport gives you special wine tasting opportunities and complimentary tastings, including the chance to meet winemakers, reserve vintage exhibitions, light bites and live musical entertainment. Passport holders will also get a 10% discount on wine purchases at all member tasting rooms that weekend.
Guests begin their wine tasting adventures by picking up their Passport and signature logo glass at any one of the three check-in points, including Carr Winery, Santa Barbara Winery and Margerum Wine Company.
The event kicks into high gear on Saturday, May 31 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Wine Cask restaurant with the Red & White AVA Seminar featuring ten wines (five red and five white) from some of Santa Barbara’s top wineries, including AVA Santa Barbara, Carr, Deep Sea, Grassini, Jaffurs, Margerum Wine Company, Pali, Riverbench, and Sanford. Learn all about the American Viticulture Areas (AVA) of Santa Barbara County—Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, Sta. Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon and Happy Canyon—and how the different grape growing regions affect taste. Each of the winemakers will share one of their finest library and current release wines that represent the AVA it was grown in. Mitchell Sjerven, owner of the renowned Bouchon restaurant, will moderate the seminar and guide guests through each of these unique and notable wines.
The festivities continue on Saturday evening with the Grand Tasting at the Carrillo Ballroom from 6–9 p.m. All 23 of the winemakers from the Urban Wine Trail will host guests for an evening of world-class wine, along with the opportunity to purchase very limited library wines not available to the public. A selection of the area’s best restaurants will also share delicious delights that pair nicely with each of the wine varietals.
It wouldn’t be a true Santa Barbara event without a nonprofit component and this weekend has two terrific nonprofit partnerships. A special collaboration with Youth Interactive Santa Barbara will showcase art produced by the students, inspired by each of the 23 wineries, and will be displayed at the Grand Tasting. There will also be a live auction to raise money for the Unity Shoppe of Santa Barbara.
Tickets can be purchased for just one of the events or the entire weekend, with prices as follows: $60 – Seminar only; $75 – Grand Tasting only; $50 – Passport only; $100 – Grand Tasting/Seminar bundle; $100 – Grand Tasting/Passport bundle and $150 – VIP All Access.
Urban Wine Trail member wineries include: Au Bon Climat, AVA Santa Barbara, Area 5.1 Winery, Carr Vineyards & Winery, Cottonwood Canyon, Deep Sea Tasting Room, Fox Wines, Grassini Family Vineyards, Happy Canyon Vineyard, Jaffurs Wine Cellars and Kalyra Winery.
Kunin Wines, Margerum Wine Company, Municipal Winemakers, Oreana Winery, Pali Wine Co., Riverbench Winery, Sanford, Sanguis, Santa Barbara Winery, Silver Wines, Summerland Winery and Whitcraft Winery are also on the trail.
Created by a group of like-minded Santa Barbara County wineries, the Urban Wine Trail is comprised of 23 wineries that have opened both tasting rooms and production facilities, all within walking distance in downtown Santa Barbara. The Urban Wine Trail’s purpose is to promote and support the wineries and tasting rooms in the downtown Santa Barbara. Members include wineries that hold a Type 02 winegrowers license and whose annual production is at least 75% from Santa Barbara County. For more information visit urbanwinetrailsb.com.
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.”