Monday, July 25, 2016     Volume: 17, Issue: 20

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Where is the traffic the worst on the Central Coast?

Highway 101 between Pismo Beach and SLO.
Santa Maria, Broadway, anytime.
The San Marcos Pass, those people are nuts!
Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, two lanes and tipsy drivers!

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Santa Maria Sun / Eats

So much wine, so little time: Sip your way through the rest of summer with wine parties on the Central Coast


Hey guys. I’ve got some bad news: Summer is one-third over.

If you’re anything like me, that news brings to mind a flurry of panic: But my body’s still not summer ready! or But I still haven’t started on that summer reading list! or But what happened to all that wine tasting I was going to do?!

It’s summertime, and the grapes are growin’ easy. This means a lot of vintners are taking a break from the yard and throwing some wine parties.

Sorry, friends. A good chunk of your summer has passed. There’s a decent chance that bikini body’s going to have to wait until next year, and there’s no way you’re going to get through all those books on your reading list in the next eight weeks.

But don’t fret—there’s a silver lining: You can still do all that wine tasting. And without a diet to worry about or a book to read, you can do even more of it than you’ve originally planned. So let’s get started.

If we’re going to pack the rest of your summer full of wine, we’ve got to be efficient. That means more wine and fewer trips. And that means one thing: wine parties.

We know exactly where you should start: Fiddlehead Cellars. Fiddlehead’s flagship pinot noir, “728,” calls for an annual celebration of the stuff on (or, in this case, around) its corresponding date (July 28). This year the party’s happening on July 23 at the Lompoc Wine Ghetto tasting room from 12 to 4 p.m.

Tickets for Fiddlehead’s 728 party are $30 for pre-sale, $35 at the door, and $20 for wine club members. Your ticket includes some fun swag, like a take-home etched Burgundy glass, and the party will feature a pinot tasting lineup (think Bubbles, Burtie Baby, and Clonal Trio in addition to 728) and some El Palmar tacos. You can also get your cheese on in a photo booth and snag some discounted bottles of 728. Sounds like the perfect way to kick off the rest of your summer.

Post-728, you’ll have a week to recharge before your next important wine party: Palmina’s 2016 Summer Vineyard Party at Sogno del Fiore in Santa Ynez, which will run from 5 to 8 p.m. on July 30. It’s a little pricier—tickets run for $70, or $35 for designated drivers—but you’ll also get your fill of live music, as well as food from SY Kitchen, Jake Frances of Valley Piggery, and David Cecchini of Cecco Ristorante.

To get the most tasting bang for your buck (and time), we recommend hitting as many wine parties and events as possible.

As for tastings at Palmina’s party, you can look forward to wines from Palmina (obviously) and La Voix, Pressed Wines, Solminer, and Baehner Fournier Vineyards. So get ready to check off a good portion of your wine tasting bucket list on July 30.

And the grand finale? The must-attend party that’ll beef up your summer wine tasting portfolio so much it’ll almost be as if you’d started filling it a month earlier?

The Central Coast Wine Classic.

Prepare your palate (and liver) (and wallet) for five days of barrel tastings, tours, and winemaker dinners all around Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. For $550 per person, you can select from more than a dozen events spanning from Aug. 10 to 14, and if you want to shell out an additional $650, you can also attend the Rare Wine Dinner on the night of Aug. 12.

We're already a month into summer, but don’t worry if you haven’t gotten out to the wineries as much as you’d planned—opportunities still abound.

By the end of the classic, you’ll be perfectly content with your accomplishments this summer and ready for fall to roll around. So, hop to it—you’ve got two months left of summer to enjoy, and endless wines to taste while you’re at it.

Wine not?!

Cheers to summertime and wine parties! Check out more details about the wine parties online.

  • • Fiddlehead Cellars :
  • • Palmina Wines:
  • • Central Coast Wine Classic:

Brenna Swanston would pick well-drunk over well-read any day—but why not be both? Send your favorite wine-book pairings to