Cocktail Corner: Celebrate Harvest With SOMM 3, Solvang Grape Stomp and More!

Solvang Stomp, photo courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

Solvang Stomp, photo courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

The annual Santa Barbara Vintners Celebration of Harvest events include something for just about every wine lover. From special harvest tastings, lunches and dinners with winemakers and Master Sommeliers, to a grape stomping festival and a movie premiere, the Celebration of Harvest weekend is an ideal opportunity to explore Santa Barbara County wine country,  and it’s all taking place on the weekend of October 12-14.

One of weekend’s highlights is the first public premiere of SOMM 3, the latest addition to the successful SOMM film franchise.  Premiering under the stars at the lovely Solvang Festival Theater on Saturday, October 13 at 8 p.m., under the stars, the festivities also include a post-film Q&A with cast members and Producer Jackson Myers. The premiere is being presented by Santa Barbara Vintners and Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau and net proceeds will benefit the Santa Barbara Vintners.

 

 

The story of SOMM 3—the highly anticipated follow-up to the influential films SOMM and its sequel SOMM: Into the Bottle—has been described as follows:While three of the greatest legends of wine meet in Paris to drink the rarest bottles of their careers, the best blind tasters in the world gather in New York City to settle an age-old argument about wine.  In the end, the past and present slam into each other and the results could change the world of wine forever.  The all-star cast includes some of the wine world’s most respected figures including Steven Spurrier, the man responsible for staging the 1976 “Judgment of Paris,” wine critic Jancis Robinson MW, renowned Master Sommelier Fred Dame, as well as Santa Barbara County’s own Rajat Parr, Partner/Proprietor of Sandhi and Domaine de la Côte (and a partner at Bibi Ji, Downtown Santa Barbara’s terrific new Indian Restaurant).”

SOMM 3, courtesy photo.

SOMM 3, courtesy photo.

The Celebration of Harvest schedule also includes:

Friday, October 12

Open House with futures tasting and complimentary appetizers at Lions Peak tasting room (all weekend)

Special harvest wine flight tastings at Foxen Vineyard & Winery (all weekend)

Saturday, October 13

Solvang Grape Stomp Festival, a harvest street festival in downtown Solvang complete with a traditional grape stomp where participants can taste from dozens of area wineries, dance to two live bands, drink pink in the “I Love Rosé Lounge” and purchase food from popular area eateries. Participating wineries include: Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards,  Carivintas WineryCrossHatch Winery, D. Volk Wines, Feliz Noche Cellars, Fiddlehead CellarsGrace + WineHilliard Bruce,  J. Wilkes Wines, Kita WinesLafond Winery and VineyardLarner Vineyard & WineryLions Peak VineyardsLucas & Lewellen/Toccata, Lucky Dogg WineryLumenMartellotto Winery, Melville Vineyards & Winery, Rancho Sisquoc Winery, Royal Oaks Winery Sanford Winery & Vineyards, Santa Barbara Winery, Sevtap Winery, The Sanger Family of Wines, and Twenty Mile Winery. This fun, new event takes place from 2-5 p.m. in downtown Solvang on First Street (between Mission Drive/Hwy. 246 & Copenhagen Drive).

Courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

Courtesy Santa Barbara Vintners.

A Harvest Lunch with winemaker Justin Willet at Tyler Winery (includes a welcome reception, wine tasting & lunch).

A Master Sommelier Dinner with Will Costello at Bien Nacido & Solomon Hills Estates.

Winemaker Dinner with Wes Hagen and J.Wilkes at Root 246.

Winemakers Greg Brewer, Lane Tanner and Dick Doré in a food pairing dinner with library pinots from Santa Barbara County at Pico at The Los Alamos General Store, by reservation only.

Lucas & Lewellen in a Winemaker Dinner with Megan McGrath Gates at Petros in Solvang.

Sunday, October 14

Live Music by Kimber Springs and Jess Jones at Riverbench Vineyard.

For additional information on events happening during Celebration of Harvest please visit: celebrationofharvest.com.

Cheers! Hope to see some of you there. 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 September 28, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara’s Official Drink Contest

Visit Santa Barbara challenges mixologists to create a Santa Barbara-inspired cocktail. Photo by Blake Bronstad.

Visit Santa Barbara challenges mixologists to create a Santa Barbara-inspired cocktail. Photo by Blake Bronstad.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg 

Mirror, mirror on the wall. What’s the most “Santa Barbara-like” cocktail of all? 

I’ve pondered this question myself on more than one occasion, so it excites me that we’ll get a definitive answer on January 26 at the “2017 Official Drink of Santa Barbara” Cocktail Contest,” held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (653 Paseo Nuevo). 

Hosted and conceived by Visit Santa Barbara, this creative contest invited local restaurants, bars, lounges, tasting rooms and breweries to develop a new, unique signature mixed drink that celebrates the distinctive attributes of our lovely town.

The creation must include a liquor from Cutler’s Artisan Spirits, and in addition, contestants are encouraged to use at least one local ingredient and take inspiration from Santa Barbara’s dramatic landscapes, architectural landmarks and culinary scene. 

Back Garden by Alberto Battaglini of SY Kitchen is one of the entries you can vote on for the "Official Drink of Santa Barbara Cocktail Contest." Courtesy photo.

Back Garden by Alberto Battaglini of SY Kitchen is one of the entries you can vote on for the “Official Drink of Santa Barbara Cocktail Contest.” Courtesy photo.

“Santa Barbara has so many talented mixologists and an abundance of culinary riches. We’re excited to see how they will creatively represent our incredible destination in one signature cocktail,” says Visit Santa Barbara President/CEO Kathy Janega-Dykes.

From January 14-19 , the public can view the entries posted, visit participating establishments to purchase drink submissions, and vote for their favorite entry on independent.com/officialdrinkofsb.

Then, the top five mixologists will get to compete in the live event on January 26, emceed by the always entertaining Gabe Saglie, television personality and senior editor for TravelZoo. The lucky panel of judges includes yours truly (it’s a tough job, I know), along with KEYT Meteorologist/Reporter Meredith Garofalo, Mixologist and Santa Barbara Independent Columnist Patrick Reynolds, Visit Santa Barbara outgoing Board Chair and Ganna Walska Lotusland Executive Director Gwen Stauffer, and local food and libations writer George Yatchisin

True North by Olio Crudo Bar is one of the entries you can vote on for the "Official Drink of Santa Barbara Cocktail Contest." Courtesy photo.

True North by Olio Crudo Bar is one of the entries you can vote on for the “Official Drink of Santa Barbara Cocktail Contest.” Courtesy photo.

Along with huge bragging rights and some prizes, the winner will have the exclusive rights to sell the “2017 Official Drink of Santa Barbara” at his/her place of business throughout the year. 

Speaking of bragging rights, don’t miss out on being able to say you had one of the first “Official Drinks of Santa Barbara.” Advance tickets are now on sale for $25, which includes two drink tickets, appetizers and a sample of the top five finalists’ entries (while supplies last). Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. and Santa Barbara Vintners also will be pouring drinks, and a cash bar will be available. Tickets are limited, and advance ticket purchase is required. Event-goers must be 21 or older to attend.  For more information, visit or to purchase tickets, go to http://www.sbindytickets.com/events/40449965/official-drink-of-santa-barbara-cocktail-competition.

The “2017 Official Drink of Santa Barbara” Cocktail Contest” takes place January 26 from 6 to 8 p.m.  at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (653 Paseo Nuevo).

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 considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 13, 2017.

 

 

Cocktail Corner: Celebration of Harvest Weekend

Cocktail Corner: Why Wine is Good for You!

Courtesy Corks 'n Crowns

Courtesy Corks ‘n Crowns

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

In honor of the holiday season, here are some reasons why wine is good for you!

A glass of wine a day may keep depression away! A group of researchers from Spain found that “those who drank moderate amounts of alcohol (5 to 15 g a day) were less likely to suffer from depression. Additionally, those who drank a moderate amount of wine on a weekly basis (two to seven small glasses a week), were found to have an even lower risk of depression.”

Wine is heart healthy. Two studies, one in Germany and one in Israel, suggest different approaches as to how merlots and cabernet sauvignons and other types of red wine offer heart-healthy benefits.

Drinking wine lowers the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, according to study at Amsterdam’s VU University Medical Center, moderate drinkers have 30% less risk than nondrinkers of developing type 2 diabetes.

Resveratrol, a component in red wine, was seen to improve physical performance, heart function and muscle strength similar to the affect exercise has on the body. In fact, according to a new study out of The University of Albertadrinking a glass of red wine may have the same affect on the body as an hour at the gym.

Photo Courtesy of Urban Wine Trail

Photo Courtesy of Urban Wine Trail

Drinking wine can promote longevity. A study of 2,468 men over a 29-year period, published in the Journals of Gerontology found that wine drinkers have a 34% lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “More than 100 prospective studies show an inverse association between moderate drinking and risk of heart attack, ischemic (clot-caused) stroke, peripheral vascular disease, sudden cardiac death, and death from all cardiovascular causes.” In other words, wine can reduce the risk of heart attack.  

Wine can lower the risk of stroke in women. “A study of more than 80,000 women found that low to moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a 17% to 21% reduction in risk of stroke.”

Wine is good for our local economy. According to statistics on the Santa Barbara Vintners website, the Economic Value of Wine Grapes in Santa Barbara County (2014) is $155,255,791 and the Economic Impact of Wine in Santa Barbara County (2011) is $789,000,000. So drink up, my friends!

(For still more reasons why wine is good for you, check out Jen Reviews for some healthy wine recipes and more.)

And while you’re at it, why not buy a few bottles for Santa and his helpers. 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 December 18, 2015.

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: 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.