Cocktail Corner: Lots of Ways to Eat, Drink and Make Merry

Kurt Russell, photo by Isaac Hernandez

Kurt Russell will take part in the annual Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend at the Bacara Resort. Photo by Isaac Hernandez

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

There’s no shortage of fun wine, beer and cocktail events in Santa Barbara County, but the next few weeks are particularly eventful.

Here’s a look at some of the toast-worthy happenings:

March 6-7 World of Pinot Noir

Indulge in the pleasures of Pinot Noir at the beautiful Bacara this spring, when the 15th Annual World of Pinot Noir unites producers from the most exceptional and unique regions in the world with Pinot Noir enthusiasts for a weekend of celebration and education. Last year’s event set a high bar for wonderful wines. Sip and savor at the Bacara Resort & Spa, 8301 Hollister Ave., Goleta, 805/489-1758,

Courtesy World of Pinot Noir

Courtesy World of Pinot Noir

March 18-22 Taste of Solvang

Celebrate the 23rd year of “Taste of Solvang” Food & Wine Destination Weekend with a five-day experience that encourages attendees to embark on “a culinary journey through Solvang, where wine country meets ‘dine country.” Highlights include the ​two-day Taste of Solvang Wine & Beer Walk, which allows guests to taste their pick from more than a dozen participating wine tasting rooms, wine bars and beer bars during the two-day stroll through Solvang Village. In addition, there’s a special Winemaker Dinner in a greenhouse setting with local winemaker and vineyard owner, Michael Larner of Larner Vineyard & Winery, and a carefully-curated pairing menu by Bacon & Brine’s Chef Pink. New this year is Bubbles & Brunch, an exclusive brunch held at Solvang’s Wildling Museum, featuring three different sparkling wines from local label, Flying Goat Cellars’ “Goat Bubbles” – a Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, and a sparkling Rosé. Flying Goat Cellars Winemaker, Norm Yost, is available to walk guests through each sparkling wine and the sparkling winemaking process. Various locations throughout Solvang. Tickets are available at, and for further information, visit

Garagiste Southern Exposure 2015March 27-29 Southern Exposure Festival in Solvang 

This popular festival returns to Veterans’ Hall in Solvang for what Festival co-founder Stewart McLennan promises will be “our best Southern Exposure ever—with many more exciting wine discoveries on tap from Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara County.” The weekend of events will showcase the wines of over 60 artisan garagiste commercial winemakers who produce under 1,500 cases per year from the Santa Barbara region and the Central Coast. As an added benefit, the nonprofit Garagiste Festivals benefit the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture program. For more information on The Garagiste Festivals, go to

April 16—19 Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend 

Now in its second year at the Bacara, the Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend showcases the distinct tastes, sights and sounds of Santa Barbara County while also bringing cutting-edge culinary talent from across the country to our region. This multi-faceted event, which includes cooking classes with famed chefs, local wine and food tastings, movie screenings, special presentations and much more, is a benefit for The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. Among the highlights this year is a special dinner with actor/winemaker Kurt Russell on April 18.  Bacara Resort & Spa, 8301 Hollister Ave., Goleta.

April 18 Earth Day Pop-Up Farm-to-Table Dinner

When the sun goes down on Saturday’s Earth Day celebration, a large community table pops in front of the main stage immediately after the last band. The only activity in the park with an admission fee, this four-course locavore feast—a benefit for Community Environmental Council—features seasonal delights from New West Catering and Cultivate Events, as well as local wine pairings and live music. This limited-seating special event will sell out, so get your tickets early. | Alameda Park, 1400 Santa Barbara St., 7 p.m. For tickets contact Kathi King at 805/963-0583 ext.108, or visit festival-highlights/farm-to-table-dinner.

April 19 Magic on the Urban Wine Trail III

Join the Parks and Recreation Community Foundation (PARC) for its third annual fundraising bash, Magic on the Urban Wine Trail, where music, art and wine meet.  Enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting featuring more than 12 wineries from the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail, while you mingle with friends, enjoy local art and music and feel great about supporting Parks and Recreation programs for under-served youth.  There is also a silent auction, raffle and bottles of favorite wines for purchase. Carrillo Recreation Center Ballroom, 100 E. Carrillo St., 3-6 p.m. 805/897-1946,

Hope to see some of you there. Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns. Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on March 6, 2015.

Leslie DinabergWhen 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.”