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Thursday, January 17 , 2019, 10:28 pm | Fog/Mist 56º


Tara Jones: Annual Wine Races Inspire Imbibers and Wannabe Runners

As wine races gain in popularity, Gainey Vineyard's Wicked Wine Run is among those getting creative in their approach

Wine races promise that wine will be waiting at the finish line. Click to view larger
Wine races promise that wine will be waiting at the finish line. (Tara Jones / Noozhawk photo)

Is it just me, or is it incredibly difficult to get off the couch to be active now that we’re finally experiencing a real taste of winter?

Every week I schedule short runs or other outdoor activities and then easily come up with flimsy excuses to dismiss the reminders that regularly pop up on my smartphone or laptop.

While I want to get a jump on that summer beach bod, I really just want to stay home and drink wine.

The struggle for me has been a constant reality. That is until I discovered wine races.

Wine races aren’t just for the casual walkers, mind you.

These types of races do actually involve running, but promise that wine will be waiting at the finish line.

Years ago I participated in The Chardonnay Run and have witnessed the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon (read: helped a friend drink wine after watching her run the race).

Now, finally, there is a wine race that is suitable for the person who would rather be drinking wine, but who also wants to be active and feel somewhat healthy.

The third annual untimed Wicked Wine Run will be hosted at Gainey Vineyard in Santa Ynez on March 18.

At first glance, I was immediately hooked by the super late start time of 5 p.m., but was fully sold on the idea when I read that there would be wine tasting along the running route.

Gainey Vineyard wines will be on hand — and in hand — at the Wicked Wine Run on March 18.
Gainey Vineyard wines will be on hand — and in hand — at the Wicked Wine Run on March 18. (Tara Jones / Noozhawk photo)

Participants can either walk a 1K and wine taste as they go, run a 5K with a glass of wine handed to them at the finish line, or do both.

Gainey staff will be pouring their Estate Wine labels of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir and merlot.

While the heavier chardonnay and merlot are great for strolling through a 1K wine-tasting, my recommendation would be grabbing a swig of sauvignon blanc or pinot noir as soon as you cross the finish line where the staff will be waiting with small, pre-poured glasses of wine.

The sauvignon blanc has a well-balanced, gentle palate of tropical fruit and a hint of peach on the nose, while the light-bodied pinot noir has a slight floral bouquet and sweet bing cherry flavor.

Can’t decide which one to have first? Don’t worry; you’ll have time to mull it over during the 5K run.

I’ll see you at the finish line.

Racers can sign up for the race by clicking here.

Tara Jones leads Eat This, Shoot That! and welcomes reader tips and ideas for future columns. She can be reached at [email protected]. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

The crops at Gainey Vineyard in Santa Ynez. Click to view larger
The crops at Gainey Vineyard in Santa Ynez. (Tara Jones / Noozhawk photo)

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