Local vintners pour their wares during Santa Barbara Zoo’s Roar and Pour

Photo Courtesy Of JZPR
ALL ABOARD: Attendees of Roar and Pour on May 4 get the opportunity to ride the Santa Barbara Zoo’s iconic train with their wine glasses in hand.

Lompoc winemaker Eric Wilson is on a first-name basis with two of the Santa Barbara Zoo’s most famous felines.

“The lions, Ralph and Felicia, are always the first stop for us,” said Wilson, whose 2-year-old daughter is obsessed with animals. “We have an annual zoo membership and visit often, so I know my way around.”

The penguins and otters are among Wilson’s other favorite inhabitants of the Santa Barbara Zoo, where he’ll be pouring some wines on May 4 as part of the venue’s Roar and Pour tasting event.

Wilson, winemaker at Longoria Wines (based in Lompoc, with tasting rooms in Lompoc and Santa Barbara), is one of more than a dozen vintners set to participate in Roar and Pour. Guests of the event will have access to unlimited wine tastings and can walk around the zoo at their leisure. 

click to enlarge Local vintners pour their wares during Santa Barbara Zoo’s Roar and Pour
Photo Courtesy Of JZPR
RAISE A GLASS: Vintners from wineries based in Santa Maria, Lompoc, the Santa Ynez Valley, and other areas will participate in this year’s Roar and Pour, a festive gathering with unlimited wine tastings for guests at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

With a 5 to 8 p.m. time frame, Roar and Pour also offers its attendees a rare evening experience at the zoo, as it’s usually closed before dark on a regular day.

“What better wine to enjoy a sunset with than Golden Hour?” said Wilson, who will be pouring glasses of Longoria’s Golden Hour pinot grigio at the event, alongside a pinot noir and a rosé.

Wilson described the pinot grigio as bright, full of tropical fruit notes, and “the perfect wine to stroll with.”

“It will pair perfectly with the exotic experience of the zoo,” said Wilson, who described Longoria’s whole wine lineup at the event as “fresh and delicious as well as diverse, so there’s something for everyone.”

Representing Santa Maria’s Ca’ Del Grevino, Sales Manager Jeff Fernandes—who’s excited to visit the zoo’s red pandas and meerkats—plans to pour two reds and two whites at Roar and Pour.

click to enlarge Local vintners pour their wares during Santa Barbara Zoo’s Roar and Pour
Photo Courtesy Of JZPR
ANIMALS TO ADORE: Along with its featured wine tastings, Roar and Pour grants its guests access to the Santa Barbara Zoo’s exhibits throughout the event. Patrons will be able to stroll around the zoo and visit its various animal inhabitants.

“My process for curating a wine list is based on the setting and the time of year,” said Fernandes, who prepared Ca’ Del Grevino’s selections for Roar and Pour with warm weather in mind. “I believe a nice 20 percent neutral oak chardonnay that tastes like green apples or semi-sweet riesling with notes of pears and pineapples would be the perfect way to cool off on a lovely evening at the zoo.”

Pouring wine is just one of Fernandes’ tasks the manager plans to accomplish at the event.

“There are a few animals I want to see. … My mom loves big cats,” Fernandes said, “so I promised a couple of videos of them.”

Dean Heck, owner of Lavender Oak Vineyard in Buellton, is “looking forward to sharing some of our French Burgundian style—very dry wines—with some of the locals from Santa Barbara,” the vintner told the Sun.

Others slated to pour at Roar and Pour include wine industry professionals from Arthur Earl Winery, Brick Barn Wine Estate, Cutruzzola Vineyards, J Dusi Wines, Melville Winery, Riboli Family Wines, Summerland Winery, Turiya Wines, Lumen Wines, and more.

click to enlarge Local vintners pour their wares during Santa Barbara Zoo’s Roar and Pour
Image courtesy of Lumen Wines
YES TO PINOT: Representatives of Lumen Wines in Los Alamos will be pouring pinot noirs and other wines at Roar and Pour, winemaker Will Henry told the Sun.

Guests of Roar and Pour will get their own souvenir wine glasses to receive tastings in and take home after the event ends. Aside from getting to stroll through the zoo’s exhibits freely, attendees can also take their libations onto the venue’s iconic train to enjoy during the ride.

For Will Henry, winemaker at Lumen Wines in Los Alamos, the opportunity to pour pinot noir and other wines on-site at the Santa Barbara Zoo was tough to resist.

“You can’t get a much better site for wine tasting than that,” Henry said, “where you’re close to the beach … and a stone’s throw away from [the zoo’s animals].

“It’s exciting to drink great wine when you’re right next to an animal that could kill you in a second,” Henry said with a laugh. “Everything tastes better when you’re in the wild.”

Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood loves pinot and penguins. Send comments to [email protected].

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