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 & Art Come Together to Support SlingShot Gallery

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Wine and art are both close to my heart, so when the two of them come together to support a local nonprofit, it’s sure to be a magical evening!

In this case, Wine & Art, a fundraiser for SlingShot Art Forum, an Alpha Resource of Santa Barbara project, takes place on November 11, from 6-8:30 p.m. at the SlingShot Gallery, 220 W. Cannon Perdido St.

Hosted by acclaimed wine writer and TV personality Gabe Saglie, the event features delicious catering by Scott Wallace of SB Wine Dine Build and wine tasting from Grassini Family VineyardsThe Ojai Vineyard and Windrun Wines, as well as exclusive tastings from Willson Family Vineyard.

Willson Wine bottles of pinot noir, with labels by Slingshot Artists, available at the Wine & Art Fundraiser, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Willson Wine bottles of pinot noir, with labels by Slingshot Artists, available at the Wine & Art Fundraiser, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Based in Carpinteria, the pinots produced by the Willson Family are bottled with special labels from SlingShot artists—and all of the proceeds benefit the SlingShot art program. 

The Willson’s daughter Mylie was born with Down syndrome and received services from Alpha Resource of Santa Barbara, thus inspiring the family to produce their wines so generously, says Sue Dumm, Artist Representative/Community Liaison for SlingShot. In addition to being available for tasting and purchase at the Wine & Art fundraiser,  SlingShot is now part of First Thursday festivities in downtown Santa Barbara, where each month the public can come see and buy art on the walls, as well as taste and purchase Willson pinot, says Dumm.

Dumm gave me my first tour of the gallery for this story, but it definitely won’t be my last visit!

Another Willson Wine bottle of pinot noir, with label by a Slingshot Artist, available at the Wine & Art Fundraiser, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Another Willson Wine bottle of pinot noir, with label by a Slingshot Artist, available at the Wine & Art Fundraiser, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Just a few steps a way from our office at Santa Barbara SeasonsSlingShot is a working art studio and gallery which supports 34 different Santa Barbara artists. Since 1980, Alpha Resource Center has promoted artists with developmental disabilities through participation in gallery and juried art shows, and this gallery is an expansion of the art studio program.  Many of the artists are recognized for their talent and have developed dedicated collectors. SlingShot gives the artists greater visibility and access to the rich local art world. It also gives our community better access to their work. As a working studio, visitors are able to meet the artists and view the art as it is created.

According to the Mission Statement, “Alpha Resource Center is a multi-faceted service center providing support and information for families of children with developmental disabilities of all ages, teen and adult recreation, and life skills training for adults. Today Alpha serves over 2,200 families. Alpha also owns and operates three thrift stores which support our services.”

Tickets for the event are $50, can be purchased online at: http://alphasb.org/events/.

I 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 October 20, 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: 2016 Live Downtown Art & Wine Tour

Downtown Art & Wine Tour, courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara.

Downtown Art & Wine Tour, courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Downtown Art and Wine Tour

Art and wine are always an excellent pair, and this year’s 2016 Downtown LIVE Art & Wine Tour is adding a fun new twist to the mix: Live Art!

Each of the participating venues north of Carrillo Street—including 10 West Gallery, Bella Rosa Galleries, Churchill Jewelers, Distinctive Art Gallery, Engel & Vӧlkers, Imagine X Functional Neurology, Indigo Interiors, The Painted Cabernet, Santa Barbara Arts, Santa Barbara Public Market and Sullivan Goss – An American Gallery—hosts a LIVE cultural event paired with a Santa Barbara restaurant and regional winery.

“Our ingenious venues are exhibiting everything from painting, spinning, live photo development—even aerialists, all performed LIVE,” says Maggie Campbell, Downtown Santa Barbara Executive Director.

Downtown Art & Wine Tour, courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara.

Downtown Art & Wine Tour, courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara.

You can sip from your choice of ten wineries and one brewery along your cultural journey. Participants include: The Brander Vineyard, Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard, Cebada Wine, Fess Parker Winery, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co, Grassini Family Vineyards, Margerum Wine Company, Presidio Vineyard & Winery, Sanford Winery & Vineyards, Standing Sun Wines, Summerland Winery, Wine + Beer and Windrun Wines.

Downtown Art & Wine Tour, courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara.

Downtown Art & Wine Tour, courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara.

Food offerings included in the ticket price are from: Blush, bouchon Santa Barbara, Brasil Arts Café, C’est Cheese, Ca’Dario, Chase Restaurant & Lounge, Enterprise Fish Co, Finch & Fork, Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant, Nectar Eatery & Lounge, Nothing Bundt Cakes, opal restaurant and bar, Paradise Café, Pascucci, Patxi’s Pizza, Persona Wood Fired Pizzeria and Viva Santa Barbara.

Tickets, which are $65 for the tour and include the Final Party, may be purchased at www.DSBLiveArtWine.Nightout.com, or at the Downtown Santa Barbara office (27-B E. de la Guerra St., M-F, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., check or credit card only). A limited number of tickets are available, so advance purchase is a must if you don’t want to miss out on the fun.

For more information, please call 805/962-2098, ext. 804 or visit www.DowntownSB.org. The festivities take place in Downtown Santa Barbara on Thursday, May 26, from 5:30-10 p.m. Hope to see you there!

Cheers to art and wine together! 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 Magazine on May 13, 2016.

Cocktail Corner: Passport Weekend at the Urban Wine Trail

Urban Wine trail 2015 passport-poster-v3A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Have you been wanting to check out what’s new on Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail? If so, then the upcoming passport weekend (June 5-7) is your perfect opportunity.

The annual festivities feature a Passport to the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail for the weekend, and a Red & White AVA Seminar. TheSanta Barbara Urban Wine Trail Passport will be happening all

Lafond Winery tasting room, photo by Mercedes Lowe

Lafond Winery tasting room is one of 26 wineries featured on the Urban Wine Trail’s special passport event June 5-7, photo by Mercedes Lowe

weekend long—Friday to Sunday—at all of the 26 tasting rooms. The Passport includes 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 tasting  kicks into high gear on Saturday, June 6, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Wine Cask restaurant with the Red & White AVA Seminar featuring eight of Santa Barbara’s top winemakers. I went last year and this is a MUST ATTEND event for wine lovers who want to learn more about our region.

Guests can sip through and learn about all of the AVA’s in Santa Barbara County.  Each of the eight winemakers will share one of their finest wines that represent the AVA where it was grown. Mitchell Sjerven, owner of the renowned Bouchon restaurant, will moderate the seminar and guide guests through each of these unique and notable wines.

Last year's Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail red and white AVA seminar, photo SB Urban Wine Trail Facebook.

Last year’s Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail red and white AVA seminar, photo SB Urban Wine Trail Facebook.

Presenting winemakers are some of the most respected names in the business: Margerum Wine Company – Doug Margerum; Santa Barbara Winery – Bruce McGuire; Pali Wine Co. – Aaron Walker; Sanford – Steve Fennell; Carr Vineyards & Winery – Ryan Carr; Jaffurs – Craig Jaffurs; Kunin Wines – Seth Kunin; and Riverbench – Rawley Hermreck.

Passport tickets are $75 and AVA seminar tickets are also $75, or you can purchase a VIP All Access ticket for $125, which includes both events.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail.

Urban Wine Trail member wineries include:  Area 5.1 WineryAu Bon Climat,  Carr Vineyards & Winery, Cebada Vineyard and Winery (inside Isabella Gourmet Foods), Cottonwood CanyonDeep Sea Tasting RoomFox Wine Co., Grassini Family VineyardsHappy Canyon VineyardJaffurs Wine Cellars and Kalyra Winery.

Kunin Wines, Lafond WineryMargerum Wine CompanyMunicipal WinemakersOreana WineryPali Wine Co.Riverbench WinerySanfordSanguisSanta Barbara WinerySilver WinesSummerland Winery, The Valley Project (a.k.a. AVA Santa Barbara) and Whitcraft Winery are also on the trail.

For more information visit, www.urbanwinetrailsb.com.

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 May 29, 2015.

Cocktail Corner: The California Directory of Fine Wineries

CA Directory of Fine Wineries

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

The newest volume of The California Directory of Fine Wineries: Central Coast Edition (Wine House Press) takes a good thing and improves upon it, which isn’t always that easy to do.

Editor Tom Silberkleit has the tough job of navigating through hundreds of Central Coast wineries and tasting rooms and selecting the very best places to sip and savor throughout Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Then writers K. Reka Badger and Cheryl Crabtree (both frequent Santa Barbara Seasons contributors), joined for this edition by Daniel Mangin, get to write profiles of the top 50 destinations, which each feature lush, full-color photographs by Robert Holmes, along with sidebars listing locations, specialties and nearby attractions.

It’s no surprise that this beautiful, visually-appealing book is featured in most of the top hotel rooms in the county. It would also make a great gift for the wine-loving people in your life.

Carhartt Vineyard tasting room, courtesy California Directory of Fine Wineries Facebook page

Carhartt Vineyard tasting room, courtesy California Directory of Fine Wineries Facebook page

Among the Santa Barbara County wineries that made the cut are Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, Beckmen Vineyards, Blair Fox Cellars, Byron, Cambria Estate Winery, Carhartt Vineyard and Carr Vineyards & Winery.

Also featured are Costa de Oro Winery, D’Alfonso-Curran Wines, Demetria Estate Winery, Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery, Foley Food & Wine Society and Foxen.

Grassini Family Vineyards, Hitching Post Wines, Loring/Cargasacchi Tasting Room, Pali Wine Co., Sanford Winery & Vineyards, Silver Wines and Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards are also featured in The California Directory of Fine Wineries.

Byron tasting room, courtesy California Directory of Fine Wineries Facebook page

Byron tasting room, courtesy California Directory of Fine Wineries Facebook page

“There’s a lot more activity in the Funk Zone this time around,” says Crabtree, who wrote the majority of Santa Barbara County entries. The update includes the addition of a number of Santa Barbara urban wineries, including Pali, Silver Wines and Blair Fox in the Funk Zone, and Grassini, in the downtown El Paseo Wine Collection. There is also the addition of the Foley Food & Wine Society at the Bacara Resort & Spa, where you can taste from a large portfolio of Foley-owned wineries.

This visual feast of a wine book is available at Chaucer’s Bookstore, 3321 State St., as well as some of the local tasting rooms and wine-related venues.

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 Magazine on May 22, 2015.

Cocktail Corner: Lights, Camera, Cocktails

Grassini's beautiful tasting room in El Paseo was one of our stops on the Eat This, Shoot That! tour. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg

Grassini’s beautiful tasting room in El Paseo was one of our stops on the Eat This, Shoot That! tour. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg

Wining and Dining With Eat, This Shoot That!

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Jamie Slone was a fun wine tasting stop on the Eat This, Shoot That! tour. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Jamie Slone was a fun wine tasting stop on the Eat This, Shoot That! tour. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Combining food and wine with photography is a great way to tour Santa Barbara, even for locals. We recently went on the new Eat This, Shoot That! trek through the Presidio neighborhood and the new Wine Collection of El Paseo and it was so much fun.

Led by photographer and foodie Tara Jones, owner of Eat This, Shoot That!, our tour met up at the historic De la Guerra Plaza, then we made our way to Hoffmann Brat Haus in Paseo Nuevo, where we were treated to a sausage sampler, including the classic German Hoffmann Brat, the Beer Brat, the Spicy Brat and the Mango Habanero, among others. Not only was the food tasty, but Jones offered some useful photo tips like, “when photographing food you should try different angles to put the plate in the foreground and the setting in the background,” and “spritz a little bit of water or lemon on the items to make them look even more appetizing.”

Our next stop was Jamie Slone Wines, (23 E. De la Guerra St.) a beautiful tasting room where, in addition to tasting limited production varietals from the best local vineyards, they also had visual aids—big, beautiful maps—to help explain the terroir and terrain and relate it to the excellent wines we were tasting.

Jim Clendenen’s Au Bon Climat was our next stop, and his distinctive wines—we tasted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir—didn’t disappoint. Nor did our much-needed nibbles at C’Est Cheese, just a quick walk through the Presidio neighborhood. As we walked the cobblestone pathways of this historic area, Jones offered local lore about the area’s rich culture, as well as pointing out a few short cuts that were new to me!

Some of the nibbles from C'Est Cheese. #regram @fit_lexy.

Some of the nibbles from C’Est Cheese. #regram @fit_lexy.

Margerum Wine Co. was our next tasting spot. Owner/winemaker Doug Margerum (one of the top local names in the industry) was there to greet us that day, which made our stop even more special. We also enjoyed tasting wines at Grassini Family Vineyards, (El Paseo, Suite 6) always a welcoming and charming experience, and Happy Canyon Vineyard, where Executive Winemaker Sean Pitts shared both wine and horse (the family is every bit as passionate about polo as they are about wine) stories with the group.

It really was a great way to spend the afternoon! To learn more, visit EatThisShootThat.com.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns. Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 1, 2015.

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.”

 

Cocktail Corner: Top Shelf Gifts

Courtesy Grassini

Grassini Winery offers one of the many local wine clubs, a great gift idea for just about anyone! Photo courtesy Grassini.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg |

It’s that most wonderful time of the year once again—from wine clubs to spirits, to gifts that give back and ideas that are sure to impress—here are some of our favorite holiday gift ideas for just about everyone on your list.

It’s Not a Gang; It’s a Club…

A wine club, that is, which is the perfect gift for all of the wine drinkers on your list. You can’t go wrong with so many great wineries in Santa Barbara County. One of our favorites is Carr Winery, which offers three different options, including the red wine only Luxury Club, which includes six bottles of new releases as well as one bottle made exclusively for club members. Members also get a free tastings at the totally cool Quonset hut tasting room, access to private events, a 20% discount on wine purchases, logo items and private parties, and when you refer your friends you receive a free bottle of wine.

Carr Winery barrel room, courtesy photo

Carr Winery barrel room, courtesy photo

Grassini Family Vineyards offers four different wine club options, all of which include discounts on shipments and purchases, complimentary tastings for you and your guests in their charming downtown tasting room in historic El Paseo, club exclusive events as well as complimentary or discounted tickets to other special events and priority access to limited-production bottlings. For more information on local wine clubs, visit Santa Barbara Vintners, sbcountywines.com.

 

Drink to Your Health

Bluecoat American Dry Gin, courtesy photo

Bluecoat American Dry Gin, courtesy photo

Gin lovers will appreciate a prescription for Bluecoat American Dry Gin, a beautiful blue bottle that not only tastes delicious and looks impressive on your bar, but also is made from organic juniper berries, which have spicy, earthy notes instead of the pungent pine-tree flavors of regular berries. Juniper, found in all gin, is reputed to relieve bloating cramping and gas.

Give Back

Almost anyone will appreciate a gift of wine or spirits, but why not up the ante a bit with gifts that give back to worthy causes at the same time.

For example, Stemmari Wines is partnering with the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF). The Sicilian wine brand will donate part of their proceeds in support of the SOWF programs to benefit the military’s special operation forces and their families. This Stemmari lineup won’t break you bank, either, as all are less than $15. Wines include

Fonseca Bin 27 in Artist Series gift box, courtesy photo

Fonseca Bin 27 in Artist Series gift box, courtesy photo

Stemmari Nero d’Avola, Stemmari Pinot Grigio, Stemmari Pinot Noir, Stemmari Moscato, Stemmari Baci Vivaci (100% Grillo), Stemmari Dalila (80% Grillo, 20% Viognier) and Stemmari Contodoro (80% Nero d’Avola, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon).

 

Also worth checking out is Fonseca’s 2014 Limited Edition BIN 27 Erik Parker Artist Series, which showcases Parker’s creative water-inspired art and Fonseca BIN 27’s support for the Waterkeeper Alliance and their mission to advocate for environmental issues surrounding our waterways. This delicious ruby port is perfect for a cold winter’s night, and a purchase will support the needs of our environment.

Teeling Small Batch 750ml Whiskey, courtesy photo

Teeling Small Batch 750ml Whiskey, courtesy photo

 

A Twist on the Traditional

Since 1782 the Teeling family has been crafting Teeling Irish Whiskey, a small batch bottling that consists of hand selected casks, which are given further maturation in Flor de Cana Rum barrels, giving this whiskey an extra sweet and smooth rum-finished vanilla flavor.

 

For the Man or Woman Who Has Everything

Hall Wine's Gift of Indulgence

Hall Wine’s Gift of Indulgence

If (lucky you) money is no object, for a mere $18,000 HALL Wines offers a “Gift of Indulgence,” pairing wine with experiences that are sure to impress. The package from owners Craig & Kathryn Hall (Kathryn is most known for being our United States Ambassador to Austria under the Clinton administration as well as being a lifelong vintner, and Craig is the author of business-focused books and owns HALL Financial) includes first class airfare for two to and from Napa; a three-night stay at the new luxury boutique SENZA in Napa Valley; private tours of multiple vineyards and a wine blending session with HALL’s award winning winemaking team, led by Steve Leveque, among other perks.

 

A Weekend in Wine Heaven

Courtesy World of PInot Noir

Courtesy World of PInot Noir

The World of Pinot Noir comes back to the Bacara Resort March 6-7, and is a must attend for pinot lovers. This fabulous annual event includes two days of in-depth tasting seminars and excursions, grand tastings, a Burgundy seminar and tasting and gourmet, locally influenced lunches and dinners. I had so much fun at last year’s event; I can’t wait for this one!

Santa, I hope you’re reading this.

Cheers!
Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 12, 2014.

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.”

Cocktail Corner: Smile Sideways to Win, Friendship Center Wine Down, Bien Nacido Winemakers’ Dinner & More

Courtesy Visit Santa Barbara

Courtesy Visit Santa Barbara

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

The Sideways celebrations continue on this week with a special 10th Anniversary Sign Promotion September 5th – 14th in 100 different locations throughout Santa Barbara County. To celebrate the Oscar-winning film and its impact on the local wine scene, 100 six-foot tall signs featuring Miles and Jack are being placed at locations used in the film and other high-traffic areas around Santa Barbara County.

Fans can pose with the signs and then enter their photos to win the ultimate Santa Barbara Wine Country vacation (or staycation for those who are local). Photos must be tagged with #Sideways10 on Twitter or Instagram, or uploaded manually to Sideways10.com/Enter. Each daily winner takes home a copy of the movie on Blu-rayTM + Digital HD, while one lucky Grand Prize winner receives the ultimate vacation in Santa Barbara Wine Country, including four hotel night stays, wine tasting adventures, delectable dining, and ocean and land excursions.

Pose with these Sideways celebration signs and you could win big! Photo courtesy Visit Santa Barbara.

Pose with these Sideways celebration signs and you could win big! Photo courtesy Visit Santa Barbara.

Sign locations in Santa Barbara include: Au Bon Climat, AVA Santa Barbara, Conway Deep Sea Tasting Room, Grassini Family Vineyards, Kalyra by the Sea Tasting Room, Kunin Wines, La Cumbre PlazaMargerum Wine CompanyPali Wine Co., Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara Public Market, Silver Wines and Wine Cask.

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Solvang is calling all wine aficionados to participate in the Merlot Taste-Off event on September 13 as a tribute to the movie Sideways.

The event pays homage to the wine variety made famous in the Oscar-winning film, when Miles famously says, “If anyone orders merlot, I’m leaving. I am not drinking any (expletive) merlot!” Tracy Farhad, executive director of the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau, has a rebuttal. “No more denigrating merlot! Come taste these marvelous wines for yourself.”  Participating wineries include Baehner FournierButtonwoodCarivintasCoreDascombHappy Canyon VineyardJ. LudlowLions PeakLucas & LewellenPoint ConcepcionSagebrush AnniesSevtap and Sunstone.

The event is a benefit for the nonprofit Solvang Festival Theatre (420 Second St., Solvang), which is also, conveniently, where it takes place. For information and tickets call 805/688-6144 or visit SolvangUSA.com.

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Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café (2879 Grand Ave., Los Olivos) hosts its first-ever “Rock Steady” Bien Nacido Winemakers’ Dinner on September 18  at 6 p.m. Three of Santa Barbara County’s winemaking elite—Jim Clendenen of Au Bon ClimatBob Lindquist of Qupe and Trey Fletcher of Bien Nacido Estate—will be pouring their specially paired Bien Nacido vineyard-designate wines with a six-course meal created by Café Chef Chris Joslyn.

For reservations call 805/688-7265 ext. 203 or click here.

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Friendship Center, the south coast’s only nonprofit, fully licensed adult day services program, will have its 5th Annual Wine Down, Friday, September 19 from 4-7 p.m. This casual yet festive event features local vintners pouring their wines for tasting, delicious Asian-inspired hors d’oeuvres by Spices N Rice and live music by Montecito Jazz Project Held al fresco in the courtyard of the lovely center in Montecito, this Friday after-work gathering will give guests a chance to enjoy a lovely late-summer evening and “wine down“ from the cares of the week. A small silent auction will offer carefully selected gift baskets featuring high-quality wine and wine-related items.

Participating wineries include: Andrew Murray VineyardsButtonwood Farm Winery & VineyardConsilience & Tre AnelliCottonwood Canyon WineryDemetriaFess Parker Winery & VineyardPali Wine Co.PalminaSanta Barbara WineryTower 15 Winery, and Vinemark Cellars. Beer from Surf Brewery will also be featured.

The Friendship Center is located at 89 Eucalyptus Lane in Montecito. To purchase tickets click here.

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Solvang’s Wandering Dog Wine Bar (1539-C Mission Dr.) has the first “Friday Night Wines” class of the season on Friday, September 5 at 6 p.m. In the September class, guests will learn about the history of Santa Barbara as a wine country, and will sample wines from the five distinct AVAs in the County. Reservations may be made directly through Wandering Dog Wine Bar, by calling 805/686-9126 or emailing jody@wanderingdogwinebar.com.

Hope to see you out and about! 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 September 5, 2014.