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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 2:36 am | Fair 45º


Savoring the Best of the 2017 Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival


The Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival was held June 24 on the grounds of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. The annual event celebrated its 30th anniversary and is one of the largest fundraisers for the museum, with 100 percent of the net proceeds going toward education for kids and adults.

The festival has served as a showcase for local wineries for the past three decades, with local restaurants and caterers joining just a few years ago. I won two tickets to the event from Noozhawk as a Hawks Club member, so I asked my husband, Jason, to be my photographer and we headed to the event to sip, taste and take notes to share.


All of the local big-name wineries were well-represented, such as Gainey, Foxen, Longoria, Fess Parker, Sunstone, Margerum and more. Click here for a full list of the participating wineries.

A few of the standouts to my palate: Andrew Murray poured a viognier with honey overtones; Buttonwood’s syrah rose had deep and delicious berry flavors; Fox Wine’s chardonnay had a complex but light oak flavor without any butteriness; Larner’s offering of malvasia bianca is an Italian varietal I’ve yet to try and is unique to the area with flavors of citrus and an aroma of orange; Palmina poured a sparkling nebbiolo with delicious bubbles in a fruity, berry red that I’ve never experienced; Rideau is notable for its all-women winemaker team and a delicious viognier; Tatomer poured a grüner veltliner single varietal that was unique to the event and featured a crisp, citrus acidic undertone that was refreshing; Tercero winemaker Larry Schaffer’s passion was as entertaining as his wines, and we learned about the carignan grape from the Mediterranean region that’s now home in Los Olivos.

If you haven’t yet heard of Tatomer, search it out or even buy online. Now branching into pinot noir, Graham Tatomer is a Santa Barbara native who is a big fan of “bone dry” rieslings. He spent a year in Austria learning from Weingut Knoll and brought home a new love of the grüner veltliner.


Local well-known establishments such as Renaud's Patisserie & Bistro, Finch & Fork, Country Catering Co. and Ca’Dario shared space with many others. Click here for a full list of the participating restaurants and caterers.

I tasted just about everything, and these bites rose to the top: Barbareno’s chilled avocado gazpacho with basil seeds was perfectly refreshing on the warm day; Bob’s Well Bread from Los Alamos was beyond delicious, but the bacon bread was its star; Brophy Bros. served fresh oyster shooters with the spiciest horseradish cocktail sauce I’ve ever had, which I enjoyed; Farmer Boy offered pozole with big, fat kernels of hominy, a little heat from green chiles and luscious pulled pork; Hippy Pop popcorn had perfectly light (and big!) kernels with delicious flavors such as ranch and barbecue; Industrial Eats from Buellton had the absolute star bite of seared tuna with avocado guacamole on a crunchy wonton — the words sound like an Asian flavor but this was an elevated fish taco; The Berry Man served a carrot cake that was amazingly airy, moist and flavorful with creamy icing that wasn’t rich; Tondi Gelato’s peach flavor absolutely captured the essence of a perfectly ripe peach, and I’ve never had a peach gelato so delicious.

— Christine Knight of Santa Barbara is a member of Noozhawk's Hawks Club. The opinions expressed are her own.


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