The Santa Barbara Vintners Festival, now in its 37th year, stands out in a world awash in wine festivals. Not only is it one of the largest wine festivals in Southern California, but it is often the actual winemaker or winery owner who is pouring for the public. Slated for May 4, 2019 at Rancho Sisquoc Winery, this festival sets itself apart as the wine festival put on by winemakers for wine lovers.
Novice and experienced oenophiles alike get the opportunity to ask their wine-related questions during the weekend’s signature Festival Grand Tasting. Held the afternoon of May 4th, at majestic Rancho Sisquoc, the Festival Grand Tasting features over 70 wineries, many pouring newly released wines. Local food purveyors, live music, culinary and wine demonstrations, and a silent auction are a perfect pairing with the wine.
The Santa Barbara Vintners Festival allows wine lovers to taste over 70 varietals grown locally. No other wine festival in the world offers the opportunity to experience more local grapes. Santa Barbara is blessed with such great diversity because of its unique geography which includes a transverse valley. This east-west valley creates a quilt of micro-climates in the area, allowing for the wide range of grapes that thrive.
Drawing on the wealth of wine knowledge represented at the festival, guests will get a behind-the-scenes look at how wine is made. There will be museum-like displays providing insight into the winemaking world, from watching a cooper make barrels, to seeing how wine actually gets in the bottle, to barrel-tasting at the winery itself.
During the weekend of the festival, the Vintners Visa is also available. This $50 Wine Country Tasting Pass allows guests to pick tastings at 12 wineries in the county with over 40 wineries to choose from during the May 2-6, 2019 window. This pass is the most robust tasting ticket offered all year.
Several ticket options are available for the Santa Barbara Vintners Festival. Early Entry VIP access ($100), which allows holders access to the Festival Grand Tasting an hour before it opens to the public, General Admission ($75), Locals Only ($60) and Designated Drivers and Under 21 ($25).
This year the festival returns to Santa Maria’s Rancho Sisquoc Winery, the beloved site of past festivals. Rancho Sisquoc is part of an 1852 Mexican land grant. The winery is part of a 37,000-acre cattle ranch and farm purchased in 1952 by Mr. and Mrs. James Flood, who still own the property today. The Chumash Indians called this area “Sisquoc,” which meant “gathering place.” Today, Rancho Sisquoc remains a gathering place, this time for wine lovers.
The northern region of the Santa Barbara County, Santa Maria Valley, is renowned for world-class Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah. The area boasts 34 tasting rooms, six unique AVAs, 13 beaches, and a growing selection of local breweries, all within a beautiful 30-minute drive. If you are looking for sand dunes, hiking trails, horseback riding, cycling, and authentic Santa Maria Style dining, you’ll find all that right here. Santa Maria Valley is the perfect home base to eat, drink and do more for less. Guests who are staying at any Santa Maria Valley hotel receive a special pass that included tastings at Santa Maria area tasting rooms.