The Wandering Wino Blog

Harvest Festival

Sea Smoke


It's that time of year when the grapes are being harvested and wine is being produced. It's also a time of celebration of the harvest, to enjoy the outdoors with good food and wine, while we still have great weather.

On October 8th, the Santa Barbara Vintners Association put on the annual Celebration of Harvest, held at Rancho Sisquoc winery, in Santa Maria Valley. There was no shortage of media covering this wine event, and I saw many familar friendly faces. Chris Czar was out with his crew taking footage for a television show, while local photographer Bob Dickey, and Jeremy Ball of Bottle Branding were out and armed with camera's. (Chef Leonardo Curti below)

Over 100 wineries in participation from as far North as Santa Maria Valley to as far South as Downtown Santa Barbara were pouring their wines. With so many great wines offered at a single venue, it can be a challenge for some celebrating in the event, including myself. It's these types of events that allow the opportunity to discover wineries you've never seen or tasted, and revisit favorites.Wineries like Thorne and Sea Smoke, do not have a tasting room to visit. They did however offered some nice Pinot Noir produced from the Sta Rita Hills at this weekends celebration. Several highly respected and top winemakers like Kenneth Volk, Jim Clendenan of Au Bon Climate, Andrew Murray, and Richard Sanford of Alma Rosa were also in attendance to speak with those celebrating and offer the literal fruits of their labor.


Ken Volk

(Ken Volk above)

While there were plenty of respected winemakers, there was also lots of outstanding food produced by some of the best around. Famed celebrity chef Bradley Ogden was on hand to do a book signing named "Holiday Dinners with Bradley Ogden." I picked up a copy and the glossy pictures look good enough to eat. His restaurant Root 246 located in Solvang offered braised beef short ribs at the festival.


One of the main sponsors of the event was the Hitching Post II located in Buelton. Frank Ostini (below), owner, was maning the BBQ to ensure great tri tip would be ready for festival goers. Leonardo Curti of Trattoria Grappolo and Alfonso Curti of Trattoria Uliveto were both friendly greeting guests ad offering some of their amazing Itallian samplings. 

hitching post

Richard Sandford/Alfonso Curti

Rex Pickett of famed book/movie "Sideways" was doing a book signing to his sequal, "Virtical." 

Rex Pickett

As the property and festival is so large, two different bands played at the same time. If anyones glass went dry during the event or went home hungry, it was their own fault. So much offered and so little time to do it all. 

You could not have asked for a more perfect fall day to celebrate the fantastic wines of this region, the amazing food to compliment it in a more picturesque setting! Looking forward to the lineup that Santa Barbara County Vintners' Festival has for us in the sping. Hope to see you there! Cheers!