The leaves are changing and the smell of wine and excitement lingering in the air means that the Celebration of Harvest weekend was here. This year almost 150 vintners shared the fruit of their labor with festival attendees. Many winemakers and winery managers were present to personally answer questions about each bottle.
The Celebration of Harvest weekend kicked off with the inaugural La Paulee De Santa Barabara Dinner. A Paulee is a traditional end-of-harvest celebration amongst winemakers and winery workers where they bring their most prized bottles from their cellar to share and celebrate the end of the harvest. The event was catered by Chef Pink of Bacon & Brine and was served family style. Attendees were invited to bring a bottle of wine from their personal collection for everyone to share.
Saturday started with a seminar moderated by Matt Kettmann, of Wine Enthusiast and senior editor at the Santa Barbara Independent. The seminar also featured a panel of six wine producers, each representing a different area of Santa Barbara County. The panelists all shared their wines and personal stories.
Saturday also held the cornerstone event, The Festival Grand Tasting. Over 100 members of Santa Barbara Vintners gathered to present their season’s wines. Most of the actual winemakers were present and shared more than just wine with the guests. They shared their stories and answered questions, sharing themselves along with their wines.
The day also included barrel tastings, library sales, and a silent auction. There were also pop-up seminars where attendees could pick the brains of growers and winemakers. Along with great wines, attendees enjoyed great food and live music that made the Festival Grand Tasting a memorable experience for all.
Those who purchased the Vintners Visa had the unique opportunity to choose from 60 wineries and tasting rooms to visit between Friday and Monday. So if by chance, they missed the opportunity to ask a winemaker questions at one of the other events, this was their time to have a personal experience both with the wine and the winemaker.
Overall, this weekend was a wine lovers dream. The mission of bringing together winemakers and the community was a huge success. From light to full-bodied, woody to sweet to dry, corky to sulphury, each wine tasted during the weekend brought its own unique taste and flavor.
The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott was honored to host and provide transportation for many of the festival participants. For those who missed the festival, we would love to help you put together your ideal tour of wineries and tastings.
Contact us to find out about our current specials and packages. Most of the winemakers at the festival are in close proximity to our hotel and we can assist you in arranging a visit. Visit our site for a list of upcoming Santa Ynez Valley events and make the most of your California wine adventure.