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Laurie Jervis: Raise a Glass to Autumn Warmth with Santa Barbara Vintners’ Celebration of Harvest

Residents of Santa Barbara County know that our region's warmest days show up in late August and linger through September.

While the calendar proclaims "autumn," Mother Nature happily dishes out more summer-like days.

So the odds are good that the Santa Barbara Vintners' annual Celebration of Harvest festival Oct. 10-12 will feature balmy temperatures ideal for outdoor wine tasting.

This weekend-long event will be the second time Santa Barbara Vintners has teamed with Relevé Unlimited, an event planning company, to produce its twice-yearly festivals.

The addition of the Solvang-based Relevé for the April Vintners Festival expanded the weekend from the traditional Saturday Grand Tasting and weekend-long Vintners Visa to a multiday jubilee with a golf tournament, wine seminars, vineyard tours and private winemaker dinners.

Poor ticket sales forced the cancelation of an all-day wine education seminar program and a couple of outings, but the Saturday tasting and most of the vineyard- or winery-specific events resonated with attendees.

The Celebration of Harvest weekend, for many years based at the rustic Rancho Sisquoc Winery on Foxen Canyon Road, relocates this year to Solvang's Mission Santa Ines. This site hosted both the original Vintners Festival in 1982 and the April 2013 event.

The Grand Tasting will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Mission. Participating will be more than 110 member wineries, as well as food and lifestyle purveyors. Cost: $75.

After being pulled from the April Vintners' Festival lineup, the popular Vintners Visa will return for October's weekend. At $50, it remains a bargain for those who eschew the crowds. The visa is ideal for those who wish to visit new wineries and partake of special tastings offered throughout the weekend. Check details by clicking here.

Each Visa provides one free wine tasting at 12 of the participating wineries, Friday through Sunday or, in some cases, Monday. Check the above link for details.

New to the Celebration of Harvest this year is the Santa Barbara Wine Seminar, 10 to 11:15 a.m. Saturday at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall, across from the Mission. The cost is $30.

Matt Kettmann, senior editor of the Santa Barbara Independent and a contributing editor and reviewer of Central Coast wines for Wine Enthusiast, will moderate a panel of six Santa Barbara County winemakers. 

The panelists are Dick Doré, Foxen Vineyard & Winery; Sonja Magdevski, Casa Dumetz Wines; Doug Margerum, Margerum Wine Company; Andrew Murray, Andrew Murray Vineyards; Richard Sanford, Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards; and Peter Stolpman, Stolpman Vineyards

Click here for details on participants.

And raise of glass to our beautiful fall weather. Everyone should be so lucky.

— Laurie Jervis blogs about wine at www.centralcoastwinepress.com, tweets at @lauriejervis and can be reached via [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

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