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Wine

Judy Foreman: Santa Barbara Wine Festival Portrays Wine Country at Its Best

Benefit for Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History delivers wine, food and fun to hundreds of satisfied guests

Sue Parker, right, with Stephanie and Chuck Slosser at Saturday’s Santa Barbara Wine Festival benefiting the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Click to view larger
Sue Parker, right, with Stephanie and Chuck Slosser at Saturday’s Santa Barbara Wine Festival benefiting the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. (Judy Foreman / Noozhawk photo via iPhone)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

The expression “eat, drink and be merry” aptly summed up Saturday’s Santa Barbara Wine Festival, one of the Central Coast’s premier wine events and a benefit for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Although Santa Barbara is renowned as a beachside resort community, Santa Barbara County also happens to be one of the top wine regions in the world.

The topography is perfectly suited for growing grapes, with the inland flow of fog and the presence of the nearby Pacific Ocean creating an ideal environment for the cultivation of classic varietals.

Santa Barbara County’s growing season in the five federally recognized American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs — the Santa Maria and Santa Ynez valleys, Ballard Canyon and Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara and Sta. Rita Hills — is considerably longer than some other wine-producing regions.

As a result, oenophiles know the unusually long “hang time” on the vine makes for world-class wines with many notable characters.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s sumptuous, oak-shaded campus provided an ideal backdrop for the more than 1,000 guests — all of whom were over 21. The property at 2559 Puesta del Sol Road, right around the corner from the Santa Barbara Mission, was packed with tables and booths set up for wine and food tasting, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Even though the focus was wine, food purveyors partnered with dozens of wineries on pairings that were unmistakably delicious and fun. Just ask those who were there … like me.

Upon entering the event, guests received a pro forma wine glass. Because of the enormous crowd, I was unable to get to all of the vintners’ tables (probably a good thing) and food booths.

Without intending to slight the more than 60 wineries and three dozen food vendors, I did make it to Alma Rosa, Au Bon Climat, Beckmen, Koehler, Lindquist, Margerum, Qupé, Rancho Sisquoc, Tatomer, Vogelzang and Whitcraft.

Food morsels that I sampled included treats from Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, cupcakes from Coveted Cakery, Neighbor Tim’s BBQ pulled pork, Sama Sama Kitchen, Tartisan’s handmade sweet and savory pastries, and Bloody Mary and many pickle choices from Pacific Pickle Works.

Also, il Fustino lemon olive oil, sage and butternut squash ravioli from Ca’ Dario’s, ceviche from Country Catering, The Berry Man strawberry wine, salad from The Berry Man drizzled with olive oil from Le Sorelle, Jessica Foster Confections’ dark chocolate salty caramel truffles, and iced tea and ice coffee from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

There was much more than anyone could eat or drink, but the opportunity to hang out with the vintners and local food purveyors made for a first -class community event.

It was also more affirmation that living in Santa Barbara is so sublime. Exalted, elevated, noble, majestic, magnificent, glorious, superb, wonderful, marvelous, splendid … you pick the superlative; they all captured the day.

All proceeds from the event benefited the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s exhibits and education programs at both the museum and the Sea Center on Stearns Wharf.

Festival sponsors included Mission Wealth, Riviera Insurance Services, Real Water, On Q Financial, Noozhawk, The Berry Man and Classic Party Rentals.

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, or call 805.682.4711. Click here to make an online donation.

Click here for Noozhawk’s iSociety coverage of the Santa Barbara Wine Festival.

— Noozhawk columnist Judy Foreman is a longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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