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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 8:11 pm | Fair 52º


Laurie Jervis: ‘Sip Lompoc’ Brings Focus to Wineries Thriving in Lompoc Valley

"Sip Lompoc," a one-day winery event held in conjunction with "Shop Lompoc, Shop Small," returns Friday, Nov. 28, with tasting and discounts at more than 21 participating wineries in the Lompoc "Wine Ghetto" and throughout the town.

The event will be held from 2 to 6 p.m.

Advance tickets are $25 and include a logo glass and map of wineries offering discounts and holiday-themed events. Tickets are available at firststreettickets.com.

Sip Lompoc, produced by the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce, has made a tradition of benefiting the Lompoc Valley community; the all-volunteer Education Foundation will receive $5 from each ticket sold, organizers said.

Shop Lompoc, Shop Small emphasizes support for local business owners — "the same ones who coach your kids and volunteer in the neighborhood," said Heather Bedford of Graphic Systems. Bedford and Robin Dunaetz of Surf Connection are co-organizers.

"We love the wine industry and value what it has brought to Lompoc, not just in tax revenues, but how generous the owners, winemakers and tasting room workers are, and how they add so much good will to the community," Bedford said.

The check-in time and location for Friday's "Sip Lompoc" will be 1 to 4 p.m. at Southside Coffee Company, 105 South H St.

"Small Business Saturday" was founded in 2010 by American Express to help businesses secure more customers, and encourages shoppers to patronize small businesses on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

In an effort to boost local vendors, all of Sip Lompoc's promotional materials — posters, postcards, wine glasses, T-shirts, buttons and online ticket sales — were created and managed locally, Bedford noted.

Lompoc lies just west of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, famous for its cool-climate chardonnay and pinot noir. The region is one of the coolest grape growing appellations in California.

                                                                        •        •

Santa Ynez Valley resident and sommelier Eric Railsback has joined Mattei's Tavern as wine director, bringing his decade of wine service in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Francisco to Los Olivos.

Railsback leaves behind his partnership at Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant in Santa Barbara, which he co-founded in 2012 with Brian McClintic, a master sommelier featured in the documentary Somm.

Under the duo's direction, the bar at 131 Anacapa St. has amassed notoriety in the nation's food and wine magazines since opening in August 2013.

Forbes named Railsback to its "2014 Thirty Under 30" list of those most influential in the world of food and wine.

After stints at several Santa Barbara institutions, among them the Wine Cask and The Hungry Cat, Railsback, who attended Westmont College, then moved to Los Angeles, where he directed the wine programs first at Osteria Mozza and then at Gordon Ramsay.

Later, in San Francisco, Railsback helped Michael Mina's Rajat Parr open RN 74 in 2009, where again, he led a team of sommeliers before his return to Santa Barbara.

Railsback and longtime friend and winemaker Justin Willet of Tyler Winery founded Lieu Dit Winery in 2011 to focus on grapes indigenous to France's Loire Valley — ones that also thrive in Santa Barbara County.

At Mattei's, Railsback will boost food and wine pairing with chef Robbie Wilson, and expand the existing wine list to focus on both local producers and their international counterparts.

The historic Mattei's reopened under the ownership of Charles and Ali Banks of Terroir Selections about one year ago after brothers Matt and Jeff Nichols, who operated as Brother's Restaurant at Mattei's Tavern, lost their lease. (No matter: The siblings have cultivated huge success with Sides Hardware and Shoes in Los Olivos and their second restaurant, the iconic Red Barn in Santa Ynez).

Wilson and his wife, Emily, partner with the Banks to manage Mattei's.

— 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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