The California Wine Festival, Southern California’s premier wine event, returned to Chase Palm Park for two days of tasting events on Friday and Saturday.
Guests were able to sample wines from regions across California, paired with gourmet appetizers from many of Santa Barbara’s top restaurants, while experiencing lifestyle exhibitors, live entertainment and breathtaking seaside vistas.
“It was a great sold out crowd. We had wonderful wineries from all over California and an amazing representation of some really beautiful high end wines. On Friday, there was a silent auction, from which 100% of the proceeds benefited the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County,” Emily Kaufmann, executive director of the California Wine Festival, told the News-Press.
The event overlooked the glimmering pacific ocean at Chase Palm Park’s Carousel House. Friday evening kicked off with the Sunset Rare & Reserve Tasting, a curated experience for wine connoisseurs. A sparkling wine reception began the evening by sampling rare and vintage reserve wines and offered tasting room exclusives and limited-production wines hailing from vineyards based in California’s most venerable wine producing regions. A number of Santa Barbara County’s top Pinot Noir selections were featured. Delicious hot and cold appetizers were paired with the world-class wines.
“I think the biggest highlight is that we have the event back in full force since the pandemic. Although, in September of 2021 we had an abbreviated version of the festival. The biggest asset to our event is our wineries, there aren’t many places you can go to the ocean and taste wines from all over California. It’s going to be hard to top for our 20th anniversary next year,” said Ms. Kaufmann.
The VIP Pavilion presented by HexClad featured six serving stations, which showcased cooking demos and food samples for VIP guests. Serving stations included demos by: Chef David Schoen of Knife & Grill; Doughy: Mexican Street Food; Salt Hank; Caroline D’Amore a.k.a. Pizza Girl; Aquamar Seafood; and Bluewater Grill. The VIP Pavilion also boasts a selection of reserve-level wines as well as craft brews.
“It’s definitely a rare and beautiful venue across from the beach at the Carousel House, which features great live music. Everyone was happy to be back for an event we have been doing for 19 years. Saturday featured a tri-tip competition featuring six competitors vying for the title of the best tri-tip in the 805,” said Ms. Kaufmann. The competitors included: Yesica Arredondo, executive chef at Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, The Shift Food Truck & Catering, Solvang Brewing Company, Santa Barbara WoodFire Catering, Convivo and Beans BBQ and Catering.
“The weekend featured excellent wines from all major wine regions in California, including six breweries and a few local breweries as well … I think what they will see is for the first time in a longtime we have a great number of brand new wineries and boutique wineries that you can’t find in your grocery store or wine store,” said Ms. Kaufmann.