In 1983, 17 Santa Barbara County wineries organized by Bob Lindquist and Deborah Brown held their first wine-tasting festival on the lawn in front of historic Mission Santa Ines. Thirty years and more than 100 new wineries and vineyards later, the Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Festival returns to the city of Solvang and the beautiful grounds of the mission in an annual rite of spring designed to heighten public awareness by showcasing the award winning wines which are grown, produced and bottled locally.
“Just as they have for the past 30 years, visitors come from all over the United States to soak in information about the unique attributes of the wine growing regions here in Santa Barbara County,” said Jim Fiolek, executive director of the association. “We are thrilled to return to our roots, which are also the historic roots of this community.”
What started as a small food and wine event targeting the local population in order to raise enough funds to print a map showing where visitors could locate the wineries has developed over the years into an attraction that draws thousands into the area not only to attend the festival but also the wineries themselves.
“We try to produce a festival that enlightens the mind as well as lightens the spirit of those who attend,” Fiolek said.
Click here for more information on the members of the Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association or to purchase tickets to the festival.
— Jim Fiolek is executive director of the Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association.