Lively Libations: Ventura Winter Wine Walk

Stroll over three blocks and experience a host of grape-good tastes.

VINO IN A VARIETY OF SPOTS: If you've been to a town that's located in or adjacent to a well-known wine country, and you've done a tasting or two, chances are very good that your tasting happened at an actual bonafide wine shop or tasting room, the kind of place with a counter, a few stools, some nicely hung paintings, and loads of bottles lining the walls. But sometimes a clutch of wine shops and tasting rooms isn't quite enough to hold a full-on, large-scale, labels-aplenty wine walk. Then the tastings have to move beyond tasting rooms and into other stores, stores that have never sold a bottle of vino, ever. Such is the yearly case of the Ventura Winter Wine Walk, which features "over sixty tasting locations" in a fairly snug three-or-so-block stretch (the 300, 400, and 500 blocks of Main are the main hub). Sixty-plus tasting locations in an easily bounce-around area means that shops that sell shoes, surf gear, eyeglasses, fine soaps, and, indeed, work in real estate, will be taking on the wine pouring duties for the event. When one considers that five dozens locations are involved, one considers a stay-over, and the Marriott has a deal on, one that includes two Wine Walk tickets.

DATE AND DETAILS: The Winter Wine Walk happens on Saturday, Dec. 6, which just happens to be the same day as the Holiday Street Fair, which ramps up, in its boothy, stock-up-on-stocking-stuffer ways, at noon. The tasting room roaming kicks off at four, participants'll get a cup -- so hang onto that cup -- and a map. It wraps a smidge after 7 p.m., so don't dilly-dally and show late. And later, you'll be in downtown Ventura, which adds up to several good local eateries, to end that Holiday Fair shopping, local wine sipping, bopping from shop-to-shop kind of day. Wine walk tickets? They're fifty bucks. Dressing in festive hues and enjoying one of Ventura's big holiday alfresco affairs? You can do the street fair and not pay a nickel to attend. Save those nickels for holiday gifts and a stay-over in town that night.

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