The 15th annual California Wine Festival saw an array of wineries, breweries and food purveyors gathered amidst a classic summer day in sunny Santa Barbara. Taking place in downtown Santa Barbara, literally steps from the beach, the festival attracted a fun-loving crowd that perused from tent to tent, different tastes in tow every step of the way.
Many familiar labels and storefronts from years past returned for repeat performances, accompanied by a few new faces. And as the festival’s name reveals, wines were the star of the show, with free-flowing red, white, rose, champagne and sangria. Wineries included 3 Steves, Miner Family Winery, Ferguson Crest, One Madrone, McGrail Vineyards, Rutherford Wine Company, Wood Family Vineyards and Vinemark Cellars among many others.
Beer lovers found themselves right at home as well, with breweries gaining a stronger presence year after year. Everything from Mexican lagers and red ales to hoppy IPA’s and avocado ginger compilations made for an intriguing and palate-pleasing addition to the wine scene. Featured brewers included Unibroue, Santa Barbara Brewing Company, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Island Brewing Company, The Brewhouse in Santa Barbara, Firestone Walker and M. Special.
While food isn’t a namesake feature of the festival, a scattering of culinary vendors kept libations in check. Enterprise Fish Co., Hippy Pop Popcorn, Oat Bakery, Hoppy Fused Food, and Santa Barbara Woodfire Catering represented some of Santa Barbara’s local food scene, joined by larger brands such as Kerrygold and Gelson’s.
Be on the lookout for the next California Wine Festival, with events taking place across Southern California year-round. Visit CaliforniaWineFestival.com for more info.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.