The Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance welcomed Wine & Fire for three days last weekend of celebrating the wines and food of the region.
The Sta. Rita Hills American Viticulture Appellation is located on California’s Central Coast in Santa Barbara County. The coastal valley runs between the Purisima Hills and the Santa Rosa Hills, creating a perfect environment for growing pinot noir, chardonnay and other cool-climate wine grape varieties.
Guests from around the region, California and the United States enjoyed one, two or three events for a weekend of fabulous wine and food. Starting off the fun was the Friday Night Barn Party at the Foley Estates Winery in Lompoc. The sold-out Speed Tasting with a Winemaker event took place at Peake Ranch with four hours of tasting and conversation with nine winemakers beginning at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. A lunch of wood-fired pizzas with a salad and cheese buffet was provided by Bello Forno.
The centerpiece event was the Grand Tasting, where 40 wineries, local chefs and farmers provided generous samples for an evening of chillin' and grillin' at the beautiful La Purisima Mission, located in Lompoc on the edge of Sta. Rita Hills AVA.
Restaurants that fired up their grills included the Ballard Inn, The Hitching Post II and others. Additional food purveyors were Homegrown Cowboy, Valley Eatery, Scratch Kitchen, Just 2 Sweet Candy Creations, Campbell Farms, Babé Farms, High on the Hog and Central Coast Specialty Foods.
Barbara Satterfield, executive director of the Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance, has been organizing the event for eight years and said that 400 people participated this year. Explore Lompoc was an event sponsor and offered Lompoc-branded bling, including mugs, mousepads, postcards and bags at its booth.
Just a few of the participating wineries at the Grand Tasting were Barden, Fiddlehead, Foley, Kessler-Haak, Byron, Liquid Farm. Kita, Spear, Sweetzer, Transcendence, Samsara, Loring, Longoria, Flying Goat, Siduri, The Hilt, Seagrape and Sanford.
Kim and David Lafond were on hand to pour at the Lafond Winery table. On display was the large, wood-carved lifetime achievement award that was presented to winemaker Bruce McGuire at the Friday Night Barn Party. McGuire is enjoying his 38th harvest for Santa Barbara Winery.
The Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance was formed in 1997 to unify growers and winemakers in the western Santa Ynez Valley for the purpose of developing their own American Viticulture Area and to promote this unique wine-growing region.
The Sta. Rita Hills AVA status was granted in 2001 by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Regulation Division. The mission of the alliance is to support the viticulture and enological business interests of its 47 members as they relate to grapes and wine from their AVA.
Click here for more information about the Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance, or email email@example.com.
— Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.