By Barrie Cleveland
December is a great time of year to be touring the wine country. The harvest activities are over and most of the wines have finished their fermentation. The pace has slowed and the tasting rooms are ready for visitors. And with many wineries sporting gift shops, this can be an opportunity to not just taste wine, but to find some unique gift items for the holidays.
Frequently wineries and tasting rooms get all gussied up for the holidays. Here is a rundown of some stops you might consider along the Central Coast.
Locally, a few wineries always do it right. Morovino in Avila Beach is always a memorable stop. Let Andrea or David walk you through their wines and keep you entertained as well. They have good specials (Krazy Kase Sale) this time of year and if you’re in town in mid-December stop by during their Holiday Open House on December 11th.
Also, Salisbury Vineyards has some great wine along with some beautiful fine art in the old 1907 schoolhouse near Avila Beach. Owner John Salisbury farms 51 acres on a hillside just a mile or two from the beach. They make a nice Syrah and a few special Pinot Noirs. Try their popular Devil Dog Red for an affordable tasty treat.
Talley Vineyards is also worth a stop due to their fine range of wines, excellent visitor facilities, special holiday events and great people. In addition to a Cabernet tasting event on December 11th they will be hosting a Holiday Celebration on the 17th. Discounted tastings, light appetizers, holiday gift offerings and an extra 5% off case and ½ case pricing will be available for all wines.
If you are heading north seek out Harmony Cellars north of Cayucos in the little berg of Harmony. The winery sits up on the side of the mountain and has a wonderful gift shop with some very unique gift items and wine accessories. They will be offering complimentary mulled wine and holiday cookies on Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of December. Owners Chuck and Kim Mulligan created a winery and make lots of award winning wines. Their idyllic country setting includes a beautiful redwood winery, fully stocked gift shop, gardens and nice picnic areas.
If you like small wineries and big beautiful wines check out Autry Cellars in San Luis Obispo. Known for killer Tempranillo, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese this 900 case “urban winey” is just out of town on Capitolio Way. No gift shop and you may be tasting on top of a barrel, but Steve Autry offers a selection of a dozen hand made artisan wines-all at 20% off.
With over two dozen tasting rooms and wineries in the area you should have plenty of destinations to choose from during this holiday season. Cheers! [Originally Posted on Pismo Beach Wine Country Travel Log]
California Wine Festival – Santa Barbara
6 – 8:30 pm De La Guerra Adobe Courtyard
This new and exciting event precedes Santa Barbara’s world-famous “Old Spanish Days” Fiesta by a few weeks, and in the spirit of Fiesta, the night is charged with exciting Spanish music, passionate flamenco dancing, and spicy tapas appetizers. Santa Barbara County’s finest wines will be spotlighted along with hot Spanish imports! Don’t miss this festive upscale event!
This romantic evening of rare wine tasting begins with a champagne reception under the stars at Santa Barbara’s charming old-world carousel at Chase Palm Park Plaza. Extremely limited reserve level wines are matched with gourmet appetizers from top local chefs, artisan cheeses, even fresh strawberries dipped in a chocolate fountain.
$99 in advance. $125 at the door. Limited to 500.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Beachside Wine Festival 1 pm – 4 pm
(11:30 am entrance for VIP/Press/Trade) Chase Palm Park Oceanside This is the “Biggest Wine Festival Under the Sun” in Santa Barbara! A spectacular gathering of over 200 of California’s finest wines from every wine region in the state – showcasing a total of over 350 fine wines at our sunny beach front location. Over 2,500 wine fans will grab their glass and start swirling and sipping just a frisbee throw away from the sparkling Pacific, while live music on stage keeps the party going.
$59 in advance. $75 at the gate. Limited to 3,000.
C’est Cheese, Santa Barbara!
C’est Cheese takes their cheese seriously! Once a month they hold tastings, classroom style. These monthly tastings generally include 5 cheeses from a given region paired with a complementing glass of wine.
Sometimes they get a little wild at their cheese tastings and they’ll feature more out of the ordinary pairings, covering such topics as salami, olive oil, vinegar, honey, chocolate or caviar. Atmosphere is casual, welcoming and questions are always welcomed.
Below is a listing of all the Wineries & Wine Stores throughout Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley that serve C’est Cheese cheeses at their wine tasting events.
East Beach Wines – Locally owned & operated wine store
Vino Divino – Locally owned & operated wine store
Alma Rosa – Locally owned & operated winery in Santa Ynez Valley
Brander Winery – Locally owned & operated winery in Santa Ynez Valley
Carr Winery – Locally owned & operated winery in downtown Santa Barbara
Lucas & Lewellen – Locally owned & operated winery in Santa Ynez Valley
Oreana Winery – Locally owned & operated winery in downtown Santa Barbara
Scott Cellars – Locally owned & operated winery in Santa Ynez Valley
C’est Cheese is right in the heart of lovely downtown Santa Barbara, near the corner of Santa Barbara Street and Canon Perdido.
825 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
For more info about their monthly in-store tastings:
Phone: (805) 965-0318