Enjoy a taste of the Central Coast wine scene during the fall harvest season in Santa Barbara. The Celebration of Harvest Weekend is an event that locals and wine aficionados look forward to every year. These four days of wine tasting are punctuated by seminars, live music and a grand tasting event that features wines from more than 100 participating wineries and the creations of local chefs and restaurants.
Fall in Santa Barbara means one thing for the wine industry: harvest season! — Photo courtesy of Josh McFadden
Celebration of Harvest Weekend takes place this year from Friday, Oct. 10, through Monday, Oct. 13; the celebration will be centered around the Solvang area. Although the wineries are located throughout the region, the grand tasting is to be held at the scenic Old Mission Santa Ines on Saturday.
Your ticket to the grand tasting entitles you to unlimited wine tasting from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., although eager tasters can pay extra for early admission and start sipping one hour earlier than the rest of the pack. Vineyards and wineries from all over the Central Coast are represented. In many cases, the winemaker is there pouring the wine and telling you the story behind it. Get your tickets here before this event sells out.
Dozens of local caterers and restaurants also set up booths with samples of local specialties that pair well with wine. A silent auction gives you a chance to bid on large-format bottles and special releases of wine. Proceeds benefit the Santa Barbara County Foodbank.
In addition to the Harvest Festival Grand Tasting, there are four other components to this wonderful weekend that celebrates the 2014 wine harvest:
Get a wine tasting pass that lets you taste at a dozen different wineries during the four-day weekend for just $50 (or $40 when purchased with a festival grand tasting ticket). Participating wineries include Demetria and Carr.
Friday Night Dinner
This winemakers' dinner happens annually near the end of the harvest to celebrate the bounty and success of the year.
Santa Barbara Wine Seminar
In the morning before the festival, sit in on this seminar that features six interesting wine producers from Santa Barbara County sharing their wines and personal stories. Discover why Santa Barbara is a world-class wine destination. There will be panelists from Andrew Murray, Foxen and more.
Toad the Wet Sprocket Concert
Enjoy an outdoor concert at the Solvang Festival Theater. All tickets include a souvenir wine glass and three tickets for complimentary wine tasting to be used at seven winery tasting tables. These tables feature wines from notable Santa Barbara County Vintners.
If you attend any part of the weekend, share your experiences and photos on social media with the hashtags #SBCWINE and #COH14 to connect with other attendees (and to show people who couldn't make it what they're missing).
Solvang is a fun small town with Danish heritage that is located just 30 minutes north of Santa Barbara. If you're planning to visit the area for multiple days, check out this list of the 10 best attractions in Solvang. For vintages of the two-wheeled variety, visit the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum.