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Beachside Wine Festival - California Wine Festival


Chase Palm Park Plaza at the Beach, E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA


Beachside was the final event of the California Wine Festival.  It was held on Saturday, July 18th from 1pm – 4pm on Santa Barbara’s East Beach.  This was the biggest event of the Festival and featured over 65 Californian wineries and 20 restaurant and food providers.


The day started a little overcast, but very hot and humid, becoming progressively cloudier as the afternoon went on.  We had a spell of heavy rain and had to take shelter from a loud thunderstorm.  Thankfully, the downpour was short lived and the sun eventually came out.


Music was provided by “Upstream” a lively and colourful 5 piece band complete with steel drums.  They played a mix of reggae and some funky Caribbean beats.  They continued playing throughout the storm whilst everyone else sought cover and they had been joined by some dancers by the time I left.


My VIP tickets gave me early entry and access to the VIP Pavilion.  Here there was the opportunity to try some special reserve wines, cheeses and other gourmet foods.  There was also plenty of shade and comfortable seating.


There was an excellent selection of foods today, everything from tasty chicken noodles, lobster bisque, fish ceviches, artisan breads, olive oils and vinegars, olives, sundried tomatoes and a huge range of cheeses.


Wineries were grouped by regions and I found an interesting facts board in the Lodi region; some of which I have shared below:


  • Lodi has more than 80 boutique wineries and specialises in small production handcrafted wines

  • The Lodi AVA covers 100,000 acres

  • Wines are farmed by more than 750 growers

  • The Lodi AVA was approved by the US government in 1986

  • 7 smaller AVAs were approved in 2005

  • Lodi is the “Zin” capital of the world and produces more than 32% of California’s premium Zinfandel.


Ancient Peaks had some glass jars on their stand with samples of different soils from their vineyards ranging from ancient sea bed, rocky alluvium, shale, granite and volcanic.  I took a photo; bit geeky I know but interesting to see.


I also had a final opportunity to taste the fantastic Cabernet Sauvignons from Kevin and Wendy at Tara Bella. 



It was great to see some familiar and new faces and try some new wines.  Below are some memorable ones:


Niner Wine Estates (

2014 Albarino – dry, crisp acidity, very fragrant, ripe pears

2013 Chardonnay – rich and tropical with mangos, guavas, pineapples and a hint of oak 


Pomar Junction (

2014 Cotes de Pomar Blanc - Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Viognier - the first white Rhone blend they have produced and really good

2013 Chardonnay - rich, creamy and buttery 


Navarro Vineyards and Winery (

Edelzwicker - Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris and a hint of Muscat - fantastic easy drinking wine at a superb price of only $12

2014 Pinot Noir rose - dry Provence style - great picnic wine 

2011 Gewurztraminer – dessert style, lychees, pears and high acidity which prevents it from being cloying.  Lovely wine.


Ancient Peaks (

2014 Sauvignon Blanc – light, grassy with complementing acidity 


Calcareous Vineyards (

Lily Blanc - Viognier, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc – a very easy drinking white Rhone style


Chateau Margene (

2012 Cabernet Franc - limited production and simply stunning


J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines (

St. E – named after St. Emilion in Bordeaux - elegant Cabernet Franc dominated blend, ripe red raspberries, very smooth tannins


Michael David Winery (

2012 7 Deadly Zins – old vines, blackberries, spice, velvety smooth, beautiful

Freakshow - 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot – big, bold and fruity


Rideau Vineyards (

2013 Estate Syrah – smooth, plummy, good levels of acidity

2013 Chardonnay - full bodied, buttery and fruity, good supporting oak


Cannonball Wine Company (

2012 Angels and Cowboys Proprietary Red - rich, full bodied, black cherries and dark chocolate - Robert Parker likes this!   


Ahnfeldt Wines (

2012 Merlot – soft, plummy and rich

2013 Chardonnay - light, fresh and fruity

2012 Quid Pro Quo - 59% Cabernet Sauvignon (Monticello Vineyard), 8% Cabernet Sauvignon (Kreuse Canyon Vineyard) and 33% Merlot (Hardman Vineyard) - beautiful wine black fruit, soft tannins and a hint of oak


Nottingham Cellars (

2012 Sheriff - Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre - soft, fruity, easy drinking Southern Rhone style


Copyright of - July 2015

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