SOLVANG, Calif. - The 38th Santa Barbara Vintners Festival will fill glasses in many areas as part of the annual celebration that has a highlighted event at Mission Santa Ines.
Saturday, October 8, from 1 to 4 p.m. more than 59 wineries will be on hand across the mission lawn with their selections, along with food pairings nearby. 20 chefs will also be on site from area restaurants.
This is a chance to meet the winemakers and owners to learn about the industry history and growing trends ahead.
Santa Barbara Vintners Association CEO Alison Laslett says, "you can find, guaranteed, something that you have not tasted before and something that you will like."
Early on the wine produced in the region was described as "European" style. It took the United States a little bit of time to catch up to our style of wine making and I think now with this award it lets us know we are there," said Laslett.
It's been a honored year for the region. Santa Barbara County was named 2021 Wine Region of the Year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
In addition to the festival day, there will be several days of activities from tasting rooms to wineries. That will include special events, live music, and other activities to celebrate the region.
It is an event for first-timers and veterans to enjoy and explore the wines made in the regions that can range from traditional and historic appellations to some of the smallest in the U.S., all in Santa Barbara County.
Laslett says the impact on the consumer to learn about the wine at this event is significant. "When you taste a wine in the presence of the person who made it and grew the grapes, it is a completely different experience," she said. "When you see that bottle later you are not just looking at that wine you are looking at the family or the location or the vineyard that you have been able to experience."
Nicholas Miller with Miller Family wine and J. WIlkes, was in the Wilkes tasting room on lower State Street in Santa Barbara and says unlike other festivals, you get a direct connection in Santa Ynez. "You will see in Santa Barbara disproportionately, the owners, the winemakers, it is your opportunity to not just go and try the wine but actually meet the people behind the wine."
Angelo Garcia travels to Santa Barbara regularly for tastings and his work in the wine and spirits industry. "Best in class, second to none and they make it very much an experience as opposed to a wine tasting," he said.
For those in the industry, they say these festivals do result in return visits and a solid connection to the area. Laslett, "you learn their story, you learn where they came from. What it takes to make that bottle of wine."
Miller says, "the wine industry is really recognized and Santa Barbara's time has arrive and with that comes the consumers that want to come and support, figure us out and come back."
MORE TASTINGS WITH THE VINTNERS VISA
There will also be at Vintners Visa offer for $50. That will give the holder complimentary wine tastings at more than a dozen Santa Barbara Wine Country tasting rooms.
Laslett calls it, "the best deal in wine tasting in Santa Barbara County. You get 12 tastings at those 30 tasting rooms. It is meant to to introduce you to our entire county and sample all of the wine that we make here and figure out what you like."
The Vintners Visa is valid from Thursday, Oct. 6 through Monday, Oct. 10, from 11am to 5pm each day.
For more information and to get a list of participating tasting rooms go to : www.SBCountywines.com.
WINE GRAPES RANK #3
The 2021 Santa Barbara County Agricultural crop report shows wine grapes number three on the list of top crops with an estimated value to the economy of $105,101,000. The grapes are behind nursery products at number two and strawberries at number one.