After more than a decade of celebrating wine, food and music, the popular California Wine Festival is scheduled for July 17-19 in its home base of Santa Barbara.

“Over the years, we’ve taken the CWF from San Diego to Monterey,” president and founder Don Fritzen said. “Santa Barbara is where we started, and we’ve always enjoyed tremendous support here.”

“I’m expecting an even wider variety of wineries from every wine region in California to pour at our prestigious three days of events, plus we’ve added regional microbreweries and several new features this year,” said Emily Kaufmann, vice president of festival operations. “We’re adding special wine-experience seminars to the lineup this year. Guests can enjoy either the Cabernet Clinic and Tasting or the Experience a World of Wine in One AVA: Lodi seminar conducted by winemakers and other industry experts. These new events  precede the Sunset Rare & Reserve Tasting at the beautiful Fess Parker Resort on Friday, July 18.”

“We’re very excited about the great chefs and delicious gourmet appetizers they bring from the finest local and regional restaurants and gourmet food purveyors from around the country,” Fritzen said.

Of course, live musical entertainment has been lined up at all three main events to provide an exciting soundtrack to this outdoor extravaganza.

Kaufmann, who runs the day-to-day operation of the growing company, agrees with Fritzen’s vision of a bright future.

“Our customers are going to love the new events this year,” she said. “Our new wine seminars will be lots of fun and educational as well and should sell out quickly.

“We’re adding new wineries from around the state every day for our five events this year. Our California Wine Festival brand, now in its 11th year, has become the premier wine festival company in the state, and has stood the test of time. We’ve always maintained the highest standard of wine, food and fun entertainment, giving our guests more for their dollar.

“Elite wineries, gourmet food manufacturers, top restaurants, and especially a new and enthusiastic group of event sponsors recognize the value they receive from marketing to CWF’s high profile clientele in an environment of prestigious wines, foods and lots of sun and fun. Tickets are going on sale sooner than ever before this year as demand seems to continue to rise for California Wine Festival’s blend of quality wines and gourmet foods, presented in a one-of-a-kind California beachside setting.

“Better buy early and take advantage of our early bird prices, as we expect to sell out again!”

» Thursday, July 17, 6:30 to 9 p.m. — “Old Spanish Nights Wine Tasting”

In the courtyard of the historic De La Guerra Adobe, Old Spanish Nights Wine Tasting is a celebration of wines, foods and music true to Santa Barbara’s Spanish roots. The adobe, site of the original Spanish fiesta’s in downtown Santa Barbara, provides the perfect setting for this exciting evening of wine and food festivities. A large contingent of wineries will showcase their world-class wines accompanied by a spicy array of appetizers from top local restaurants. Colorful Flamenco dancers, accompanied by blazing guitars and hot Latin sounds will keep everyone ‘caliente’ throughout the event.

» Friday, July 19, 5 to 6 p.m. — “Cab Collective: Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting”

The elegant and friendly confines of Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort hosts our Cabernet Clinic and Tasting. Guests will sample a selection of ultra premium Cabernet’s from some of Paso Robles  best vineyards. Winemakers will share their expertise and artistry in this hour-long wine tasting experience.

» Friday, July 19, 5 to 6 p.m. — “Experience a World of Wine in One AVA”(American Viticultural Area)

You may know that Lodi is a unique and exciting AVA, but did you know that because of its diverse geography, climate and soils Lodi is now producing over 100 varieties of grapes brought in from all corners of the globe? In this fun and informative session you will taste your way around the wine world while experiencing the rich history and diversity of this emerging wine-producing region – Lodi, California!

» Friday, July 18, 6:30 to 9 p.m. — “Sunset Rare & Reserve Wine Tasting”

Limited to just 500 lucky ticketholders, this is the toughest ticket in town! California’s best winemakers dust off their rare and reserve level bottles in a wine-lovers fantasy night of sipping the ”GOOD STUFF”!  Some wines being poured are impossible to buy! – no longer in distribution or on allocation.

A sparkling champagne reception greets guests who will then be treated to Napa trophy cabs, rare bottles from Sonoma, old vine wines from the high Sierras, and California’s Central Coast and Santa Barbara County’s best. Top chefs from Santa Barbara’s most popular restaurants will prepare amazing hot and cold gourmet appetizers while live music keeps things super cool.
The charming old-world carousel at Chase Palm Park Plaza provides the backdrop for this romantic summer night under the stars. A silent auction of fine wines, exotic super-sized-wine bottles including dozens of magnums, double magnums and special luxury wine trips will raise money for Foodbank of Santa Barbara.

» Saturday, July 19, noon to 4 p.m. —   “Beachside Food & Wine Fest”

This is CWF’s signature wine event! Thousands of wine lovers pour into Santa Barbara’s sun-splashed beachside location for a day of sun, sea, wine, food and music. Literally hundreds of premium California wines are served up along with the best of the regional microbreweries, local top chefs and food purveyors and vendors of all things related to wine.

Print-at-home tickets are available on the festival website by clicking here. Groups of 10 or more call 805.223.1880. For more sponsor and exhibitor information, contact Kaufmann at or 805.886.5103.

— Emily Kaufmann is the vice president of festival operations for the California Wine Festival.