CALIFORNIA LIVING: When people talk about the quintessential Golden State lifestyle, what exactly do they mean? Well, easy-breezy days and no-worry weekends are way up on the list, two things often symbolized by surfing, skiing, or a combination of both. Suntans are a popular symbol of the lifestyle, and sundresses, and shorts, and anything that connotes a good amount of outdoor living. And drinking wine by the beach near sunset? Please, that's practically California (TM). Truly, that's the image that kicks off the whole California lifestyle discussion, hands and wine glasses down. Throw some jazzy jazz or yacht rock or seagull cries into the mix and you've got the ideal state postcard. But that scene isn't just a dream: It happens every year, when the two-city, oh-so-mega California Wine Festival pulls into Dana Point. Pulls in with bottle after bottle after bottle from growers and award-nabbing vintners from across this lush, grape-producing land. And, yep, Dana Point indeed means that all of that wine tasting goes down very much adjacent to the beach. Dates? The last weekend in April, with the Beachside Wine Festival happening from 1 to 4 p.m.
SO, OKAY... you won't quite be at ocean-close Lantern Bay Park at sunset, but you'll be there at the perfect time to do the ray-catching thing (wear sunscreen). Tickets are $59 in advance and $80 at the gate and the labels on the tables? Niner Wine Estates, Klinker Brick Winery, and Tara Bella Winery are three of the dozens. (If you think "dozens" is merely poetic license, here's the hefty list.) Live tunes and other ease-through-the-afternoon amenities are afoot. Can't make the Orange County to-do on April 26? It heads for Santa Barbara in July, and, yep, many, many new wineries'll show. (If you think "many, many is merely poetic license, here's the hefty list.)