Monday, June 1, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 13

Santa Maria Sun / Eats

Wine it up! The best local wine and food events this fall on the Central Coast


This time of year presents Central Coast wine lovers with an embarrassment of riches—so many wine events to choose from, and all just a short distance from home.

In the span of a few weeks, we can attend Harvest in the Wine Ghetto; SAVOR the Central Coast; Bubblyfest; Santa Maria Grapes & Grains Beer and Wine Tasting Event; Santa Barbara Vintners’ Celebration of Harvest; Beaverstock; and Paso Robles’ Harvest Wine Weekend.  

The Lompoc Wine Ghetto is the site of the inaugural Harvest in the Wine Ghetto, Sept. 26 and 27.

A first-time event, Harvest in the Wine Ghetto, is Sept. 26 and 27, sponsored by the Lompoc Wine Alliance. 

“We are one of the highest concentrations of world-class, small-production wineries in Santa Barbara County, I venture to say, perhaps in the whole state,” said board member Kate Griffith of Flying Goat Cellars. “One of the fun things about the Lompoc Wine Ghetto is you can walk to the majority of the tasting rooms.” 

The Alliance includes many great labels such as Ampelos, Brewer-Clifton, Palmina, Lutum, Longoria, Bratcher, Samsara, Stolpman, and Zotovich. 

The 25 member wineries will host open houses, rare barrel tastings, live graffiti demonstrations, and a grape stomp. 

A highlight of the weekend will be the four-course, “Farm to Ghetto” La Paulee dinner, catered by Bell Street Farm, featuring more than 20 Lompoc winemakers. 

In collaboration with Explore Lompoc, there will be free shuttle service to other Lompoc wine tasting rooms and Lompoc hotels.

Visit for tickets. 

SAVOR the Central Coast

Also Sept. 26 and 27, the historic Santa Margarita Ranch plays host to Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast, a two-day extravaganza called “California’s premier food, wine, travel, and lifestyle event.”

Master chefs, Sunset magazine experts, winemakers, and brew masters will be there to share their expertise. 

There’s a whole lineup of winemaker seminars, including “Meet the Syrahs,” featuring Central Coast syrah.

The new opening night kickoff, Strings at Sunset, features String Theory and “the DJ violinist” Spags, at the Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles on Thursday, Sept. 24. 

Attendees will taste 20 winning wines from the 2015 Sunset International Wine Competition and dine with celebrity chefs Mary Sue Milliken from The Border Grill Truck, and from Bravo’s Top Chef TV show, chef Louis Maldonado of Spoonbar.

Visit for more specifics.

Bubblyfest by the Sea

Bubblyfest by the Sea, held in Pismo Beach Oct. 2 through 4, offers sparkling wine-focused tastings and educational events.

Sparkling wine lovers, reserve the first weekend of October for Bubblyfest by the Sea.

Event planner extraordinaire Holly Holliday is outdoing herself for the second year, organizing the nation’s first and only dedicated sparkling wine festival, Oct. 1 through 3. 

She’s bringing in 60 domestic and international producers to Pismo Beach, promising, “You’ll party like Gatsby.” 

“Bubbles are fun, they should never be intimidating. Like wine, sparkling wines and Champagnes have their own nuances that either work with or don’t agree with your palate,” Holliday said. “This is the event to learn about what works for your tastes, and have fun doing it. There really is something for every bubbly lover.”

The San Francisco Wine School is on board this year as Bubblyfest’s educational partner. Master Sommelier David Glancy will host the edu-tasting seminar series. 

One topic is a side-by-side comparison of some of the top Champagne houses in France with three stellar sparkling wines from the Central Coast; Riverbench, Flying Goat Cellars, and Halcyon Wines. 

Bubblyfest’s Grand Tasting is Oct. 3 at the SeaCrest Oceanfront Resort.

Get your tickets at, before they sell out.

Grapes & Grains Beer and Wine Tasting Event

Santa Maria’s 32nd annual Autumn Arts Festival featuring the Grapes & Grains Beer and Wine Tasting Event is Oct. 3, at Elk’s Field behind the Abel Maldonado Center, 600 S. McClelland St.

Santa Maria Valley wines will be featured, in addition to a wide variety of beers, along with an art show, street fair, and live music. 

For tickets go to

Celebration of Harvest

Santa Barbara Vintners’ Celebration of Harvest Weekend is Oct. 9 through 12.

More than 120 member wineries will pour at “the big event,” the Grand Tasting, Saturday, Oct. 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. on the lawn next to Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang. Area restaurants, caterers, and purveyors will provide food samples. 

There’s also a Friday night harvest dinner at Mattei’s Tavern attended by many local winemakers, and a Santa Barbara wine seminar/tasting on Saturday morning at Hotel Corque. 

Individual wineries hold special events all weekend, such as vineyard hikes, movie night, and wine-and-cheese pairings.

The Vintners’ Visa allows celebrants to taste wine at 12 different participating wineries for $60.

For more information and tickets, go to


The annual Beaverstock music festival is Sept. 19 and 20 in the meadow at Castoro Cellars in Templeton, benefitting the Templeton Education Foundation.

Sip Castoro wines, local craft brews and ciders, eat good food, do yoga, and visit the artist village while listening to the music of 15 bands on two stages, headlined by rock bands Dawes and WAR. 

Bring the kids—children 10 and younger are free with adult admission. 

Tickets are available at

Harvest Wine Weekend

Paso Robles’ Harvest Wine Weekend is Oct. 16 through 18; 140 weekend activities at participating wineries including dinners, wine and food pairings, grape stomps, barrel tastings, live music, and more. 

For a full list of events, go to

Harvest on the Coast

SLO Wine Country’s Harvest on the Coast Weekend is Nov. 6 through 8.

The harvest party at the beach Grand Tasting and wine auction is Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Avila Beach Resort, with 50 wineries and restaurants.

There’s more information at

Garagiste Festival

And finally, one more terrific wine event later this fall—don’t miss the fifth annual Garagiste Festival in Paso Robles Nov. 5 through 7. This is your chance to discover excellent, up-and-coming wineries.

More than 50 of the best small-lot winemakers from the Paso Robles area will pour 150 different handcrafted wines at the main event at the Paso Robles Event Center on Saturday, Nov. 7. 

Proceeds benefit Cal Poly’s wine and viticulture program.

Go to for details.

Sun wine and food columnist Wendy Thies Sell keeps trying to juggle it all. Contact her at

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