SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The California Wine Festival is returning to the Santa Barbara waterfront this weekend in a showcase event that is far from a regional afternoon of tasting.
Organizers have pulled together vintners from throughout the state along with award winning chefs and a few breweries.
The wine industry relies on these events as part of its outreach to consumers, and with the COVID crisis there was a drop in tasting events and similar festivals.
This weekend there will be a reserve tasting Friday night at the carousel park location.Saturday from 1 - 4 p.m. there will be a full-on festival at Chase Palm Park on the ocean side of Cabrillo Boulevard.
Those attending can meet wine makers in person, learn about the latest varietals, planting acreage, yields and market trends.
Executive Director Emily Kaufmann said, "it is a great opportunity for not only local wineries but also wineries from all over California to get out here and get back in front of their customers and show they what they have been up to in the last couple of years. It is the first time we are back at our original date since 2019"
She said the state will be represented well. "We will have over 50 wineries on Saturday. as far north as Mendocino. county. Napa Valley, Sonoma and as far south asTemecula and obviously our own backyard," said Kaufmann.
Wine grapes are listed as one of the top crops on the Central Coast annually.
In Santa Barbara County in 2020, wine grapes ranked fifth behind nursery products, broccoli, cauliflower and strawberries,
The top wine grape by acreage is the Pinot Noir followed by Chardonnay and Syrah.
The draw of the wine industry and tasting visits has boosted tourism in the region. That includes tours, restaurant reservations, hotel bookings and special events on vineyard property.
The Central Coast wine region is often featured prominently in food and travel publications along with similar TV shows.
For more information go to: The California Wine Festival.
A donation from the event benefits the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County.