ONE DAY... not to far into the murky future scientists may find a way to distill quintessential California-ness down into an eau de perfume or body lotion or one of those hangy fragrance things that goes on your rearview mirror and makes your car smell nice. We suspect that how they'll do this will involve visiting some place at certain times a day to soak up, via their special California energy-gathering meters, how it really feels to connect with the state's state of mind. Might we suggest that one of the first stops be The Plaza next to the Mission in San Luis Obispo? If you've been there in early evening, then you know. The light kind of goes golden and the air is perfect and the Mission is grand and all of the brochure-y elements come together in one spectacle of California-o-sity.
SO THE FACT... that the wine people of the SLO region would make that the sip-and-soak-in-the-vibes setting for the Thursday evening opener of the annual Roll Out the Barrels event falls in the "makes perfect sense" category. Heck, we're inclined to say all winemakers everywhere, even in other states, should open their big wine weekends in this Plaza. But Roll Out the Barrels, which is on from June 19 through 22, isn't just about glorious settings. It's about local vino, with a passport to over 20 wineries. It's about foodstuffs made regionally. And it is about other to-dos, like a Barrel Sample Sunday and a concert at Avila Beach. (If "concert at Avila Beach" doesn't boast the sheen that should come with the first weekend of summer, we don't know what does.)
PLUS... Winemaker Dinners is the Friday, June 20 highlight. It's just a big SLO weekend, with some spectacular settings -- we mentioned the Plaza like eight times, right? -- and loads of summer sip-ability. As for cost? You can go a la carte, on the events, but the Weekend Passport is $55. Seriously, all this time we've been talking about the Plaza, next to the Mission, and we could be there right now. Well, we are in our minds, usually, anyway.