Event Recap: Santa Barbara Vintners Celebration of Harvest

The 2014 harvest is almost complete. Most of the grapes have been picked and the grapes are in tanks and barrels so it was time to celebrate at the Santa Barbara Vintners Celebration of Harvest Festival (Oct 10-13). Over a three day weekend, Santa Barbara wineries opened up their tasting rooms with special offers and other events. The main event of the weekend was the Festival Grand Tasting.

The Festival Grand Tasting took place outdoors at the Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang. More than 100 members of the Santa Barbara Vintners were there, as well as local restaurants and artists. With all of the participants, the question always is, “which wines should we try? where should we go first?”.

By default, we headed to the tables of some of our most familiar wineries. We have visited their tasting rooms and love their wines so it is only natural to want to revisit – Andrew Murray, Fiddlehead, Flying Goat, Clos Pepe, Larner Wine, Melville, SamSara, Brewer Clifton, Palmina, Pence, Liquid Farm, Hilliard Bruce, Tercero and more!

Tasting current releases, as well as some new releases, or just revisiting the wineries we know and love can fill up the day. But, here are a few new finds.

Michael Brughelli and Mikey Giugni make Scar of the Sea which includes 600 cases of elegant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and super bone-dry apple cider. We were lucky to taste this high-acid cider as it is currently sold out.

Mikey Giugni of Scar of the Sea Scar of the Sea Michael Brughelli of Scar of the Sea

Since the Whitcraft wines are sold primarily to the wine club, this was the first time we have been able to taste them. Winemaker Drake Whitcraft has dedicated the 2013 vintage to his father, Chris Whitcraft, and the labels all say “Homage A Papa”.

Pence Ranch Open House (6) Whitcraft Winery

Lucky Dogg Winery is a new project by owner and winemaker Brent Melville (yes, part of the Melville family). 2013 is the first vintage with approximately 750 cases of Viognier, Rose, Pinot Noir and Syrah.

Brent Melville, Lucky Dogg Winery

New Custom Bottle

The Celebration of Harvest Festival was the first time we saw the new Ballard Canyon AVA bottle. Ballard Canyon, the only American Viticultural Area dedicated to Syrah, became an AVA last year and now they have a custom bottle only for Syrahs made by grower-producers that own estates within Ballard Canyon. The bottle has the words BALLARD CANYON encircling the shoulder of the glass, with the letters raised above the surface. It is subtle but something to start looking out for on retail store shelves.

Ballard Canyon AVA Custom Bottle

We look forward to the next new finds at the Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Festival on April 25, 2015.