Hot Events For Cool-Climate Wines On The California Coast


For hot summer days, nothing is more appealing than tasting lighter, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, especially on the cooler coast where the grapes are grown. Here are five destinations from Santa Barbara to Mendocino to escape the heat.

Wine and Fire in Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County

Easy to get to from LA and right off the 101, Santa Rita Hills appellation’s unique transverse valley pulls cool Pacific breezes inland, allowing vintners to make beautiful Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah wines. Explore the region during Wine and Fire on August 17 – 19 with an opening night Barn bash at Fiddlehead Cellars’ Fiddlestix barn with music by The Bryan Titus Trio, Saturday lunch and winemaker speed tasting at Hilliard Bruce and early Saturday evening grand tasting of 40+ wineries at La Purisima Mission. The events feature wood-fired fare and specialty foods from local purveyors. Wine lovers can purchase event tickets individually ($85 – $120 pp) or as a package and they include a weekend passport to visit individual participating wineries through Sunday. For more details and to book, check the Wine & Fire website.

Carneros Wine Tasting & Cornhole Tournament

Photo courtesy Leong Architects

The only appellation to straddle both Napa and Sonoma, Carneros is easy to get to from the Bay Area. The Carneros Wine Alliance is hosting a wine tasting on Saturday August 11 from 4 – 6 p.m. at the private Carneros estate of ZD Wines with a beautifully restored Victorian and translucent modern barn designed by Leong Architects as the backdrop. The tasting is followed by a cornhole tournament. Tickets are $40 pp with all proceeds being donated to the Carneros and Schell-Vista Fire Departments. 1080 Cuttings Wharf Road, Napa

West of West Wine Festival on the Sonoma Coast

West Sonoma Coast Vintners represent the true, far west Sonoma Coast, producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as fresh and pristine as the rugged, forested coast. On Saturday August 18, over 20 vintners will pour at the West of West grand tasting on the coast at the Occidental Center for the Arts from 1 – 5 p.m. ($125 pp), or 2 – 5 p.m. for general admission ($100 pp). 3850 Doris Murphy Court, Occidental

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival

Dress up, or not, in polo attire at this one-of-a-kind festival that celebrates Southern California living. The full-day event takes place on Saturday September 8 at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club on the coast, featuring two official polo matches, live music including Booker T. Jones and ZZ Ward, and local Santa Barbara food and wine tasting. For the un-initiated, sommeliers will be on hand to give guided tours of the wineries at the event.

Get your design fix at the fest with Living Vehicle™, one of the event sponsors, who will showcase a mobile living space activation in the VIP area. Living Vehicle™ is the latest mobile living concept by Santa Barbara architect Matthew Hofmann who has designed over 400 mobile spaces, primarily Airstreams, with Hofmann Achitecture.

General admission is $75 pp; VIP tickets, including access to the Polo clubhouse, stage side tents and a complimentary Champagne and cheese hour, is $175 pp. VIP box and cabana tickets for polo matches are also available. For further details and to book, check the Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival website.

Long Meadow Ranch’s new Tasting Room in Anderson Valley, Mendocino

Long an influential sustainable farmer, rancher and grower in Napa Valley, Long Meadow Ranch now welcomes guests to their new Anderson Valley estate tasting room at The Madrones. The flights, ranging from $10 pp to $25 pp feature Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir wines from their 145-acre estate cooled by the Navarro River and nearby Pacific. In the hands of Burgundy winemaker Stephane Vivier, the wines have an extra level of finesse. Also available for tasting are Long Meadow Ranch wines and olive oils from their Napa Valley estate. Go deeper into Anderson Valley terroir with more extensive estate experiences including vineyard tours later this summer. Open Thursday-Monday 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday-Wednesday by appointment. Wines by the glass and bottle are also available here. The Madrones, 9000 Highway 128, Philo

More news: