Thursday, October 18 , 2018, 7:19 am | Fair 50º


Central Coast Wine Classic Expands Boundaries, Plans Inaugural Events in Santa Barbara

Chef Frank Ostini of The Hitching Post is one of the chefs for the Rare & Fine Wine & Lifestyle Auction Saturday, Aug. 13 at the Bella Vista Polo Estate.
Chef Frank Ostini of The Hitching Post is one of the chefs for the Rare & Fine Wine & Lifestyle Auction Saturday, Aug. 13 at the Bella Vista Polo Estate. (Richard Carter photography)

Wining and dining is coming to Santa Barbara in the form of new Central Coast Wine Classic events, taking place over three palate-pleasing days Aug. 12-14  after it’s opening in San Luis Obispo Aug. 10-12, where the event first took root.

Make your plans now to attend the 31st annual event, which is getting enhanced this year with the addition of a dozen stunning locations in Santa Barbara.

This is now the only wine classic spanning two counties with some highly rated vines and inspired vintners inside the boundaries of those counties. Wine Spectator rated it one of the Top Ten Wine Classics in the nation.  

Registration is now open at and advance purchasing is highly recommended.

Tastings, touring the vineyards, luncheons, brunches, winery dinners, symposia and auctions have been honed by founder Archie McLaren over the years, and everyone who has attended the Wine Classic remarks on the intimacy and almost family-like air around all of the 18 events. McLaren insists on meeting every one who attends the events.

His singular vision and passion for wine is matched only by his generosity for the arts nonprofits in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. The Wine Classic Foundation has gifted an astounding $2.5 million since 2004 to 125 organizations.  

This year individual packages under the “Fund-A-Need” lot title will be designated to the three arts-centric nonprofits that will be beneficiaries this year.

The Healing Arts Beneficiary is the Boys & Girls Club of Northern San Luis Obispo (to help the children of migrant farm/vineyard workers); The Leni FeBland Foundation for the Performing Arts, a newly minted organization created by Sara Miller McCune to honor her longtime friend and philanthropist who loved the lively arts; and the Studio Arts choice is going to be Friends of Hearst Castle, which keeps one of the living treasures of our Central Coast in tip-top shape for the millions of visitors who journey to see it annually.

The Wine Classic is a thoroughbred event that has proven itself over and over. In the center ring, the Rare & Fine Wine & Lifestyle Auction will be on the luxurious Bella Vista Polo Estate in Summerland owned by Pat Nesbitt Saturday, Aug. 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. You’ll be able to see some of the superb horses Nesbitt owns in their stalls in the motor court when you arrive. 

The auction draws people from all over the world, and with it being a polo estate, ladies, get your “Pretty Woman” hats out for this one.

Part of the auction ambiance will have an Exotic Car Showcase featuring McLaren’s own 1987 Ferrari Gemballa Testarossa. Only one of three made and two still existing, it’s as rare as some of the wine to be found up for bidding.

More lots include fine art, foreign excursions (Bhutan, Monte Carlo and France to name a few destinations), unique wine experiences and other creative lots not found in many auctions.

Highlights from the 18 events in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara include a five-course dinner at Hearst Castle; Qupe & Brander winery dinner at The Mural Room at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse; rare wine dinner at the Santa Barbara Club in San Luis Obispo; and the Greengate Winery dinner, featuring San Luis Obispo County wines, live music and dancing to the evening, which starts with barrel tastings and barrel auction.

There are two opportunities to taste the high-life with the Louis Roderer Champagne and Black River Caviar at the symposium or the brunch (because no one can ever have too much champagne or caviar).

Education is an important aspect of the Wine Classic, which delves into the newest Rhone Rangers in Santa Maria, the revered Santa Rita Hills’ pinot noirs, deeply toned Napa Valley cabernets and from down under Australian wines from the McLaren Valley (no relation to Archie, but so synergetic).  

Don’t miss your opportunity to be among the first to experience all the top-notch wines, symposiums, auctions, luncheons, touring excursions and dinners so carefully planned for the most captivating and enjoyable experiences for your palate.  

The Wine Classic is now only a hop, skip and a jump from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Maureen McFadden is a publicist representing the Central Coast Wine Classic


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