ON THE ROAD: The Golden State is a place so rich with wonderful vineyards and wonderful winemakers and famous labels that some of its best libation-oriented festivals actually have enough oomph that they can hit the road. And, in fact, when you think about the sheer size of our state, building a party that lands in a few cities over a year's time makes sense; try as we might, it can be hard to reach the other side of California for a weekend, even if something really delicious happens to be on the other end. The California Beer Festival, which gets foaming in Santa Cruz in a few weeks' time, in one such traveling outfit, and the California Wine Festival is another. But we don't have to wait as long for the vino down in SoCal and the Central Coast: We get to enjoy it from Thursday, July 19 through Saturday, July 21 when the three-day vino soiree lands in Santa Barbara.
WHO WILL BE THERE: Have your index ready to scroll for this one, because the two-column list is too big for the average screen. Edna Valley Vineyard, Martian Ranch & Vineyards, Hearst Ranch Winery, and Toad Hollow Vineyards are just a handful of the expected turnout. And it won't simply be about drifting table-to-table, picking up small plastic glasses filled with rose-colored liquid. There are seminars on reserve wines and classes on glasses -- the actual glasses -- and more to-dos away from the traditional tasting.
CAN'T MAKE IT? Monterey is the next stop for the California Wine Festival; that's happening the first weekend in October. And it will swing back through Orange County on April 19 and 20, 2013. Cheers to vino that goes places!