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The perfect way to end summer is with bare feet in the sand, eating tasty food, drinking good wine and all for a good cause. That is what An Evening on the Beach is and that is why it is the Please The Palate pick of the week. I look forward to An Evening on the Beach every year. I put the date on my calendar and wait in anticipation. This year, I had a last minute trip up to Mendocino for an event that was set to end at 4pm. I booked the 5:20pm flight out of Santa Rosa and left the event a little early to make my flight. I landed at 6:50pm, hopped in my car and headed straight to the Jonathan Club in Santa Monica. I arrived at 8:00pm, two hours after the event started but nothing would stop me from attending.
Since Maude changed its format to focusing on wine regions every quarter, they have taken us on journeys to Rioja and Burgundy. For their third featured region, Maude takes us to our own backyard, the Central Coast. From Santa Barbara to Monterey, the Central Coast is a region filled with so much bounty and the Maude team spent a week visiting farmers, purveyors and winemakers to create the menu. The menu generally focuses around the fresh local seafood that we are so fortunate to have access to. Spot prawns, abalone, oysters and uni are just some of the delectable treats we enjoyed. And each dish was paired with wine selections from producers in the Central Coast, from under-the-radar producers to well-known names. As we arrived to Maude for our reservations, we were escorted upstairs to the wine cellar lounge. This room is now incorporated into the regional tasting menus. For Rioja, we started in the lounge with a glass of Cava and a plate of jamón serrano and cheese. For Burgundy, we ended the evening in the lounge where we enjoyed a cheese and dessert display. And for Central Coast, we again started our meal upstairs where we were greeted with a glass of Broc Cellars, Chenin Blanc, Petillant, Shell Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles 2017. The effervescent wine has a floral honeyed nose with notes of citrus, peach, pineapple and key lime pie, as well as yeasty aromas and was the perfect way to start the evening. 
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?".