IF YOU WERE TO ASK... a devotee of weekend road-tripping to grab a pencil and draw their most picture-perfect wine town, a place that is both easily walkable but impressively outfitted with tasting rooms, restaurants, and a fine hotel or two, they might unhand their pencil and hand you a brochure of Los Olivos. The Santa Barbara County nook is reached by wending -- yes, "wending" is brochure-speak but oh-so-appropriate here -- through vineyards and those quintessential rolly SBC hills. And its appearance matches its atmospheric approach; Los Olivos is pretty much le ultimate in cute (but not cutified) wine country towns. So the fact that it is coming upon its first-ever Wine Festival may stop the devoted Los Olivos visitor for a second. For sure, they do the jazz and olive fest thing quite well, and have for several years, but the town's inaugural wine fest is about to lay down some roots right here in 2015. And you don't have to wait for springtime, when so many sip-focused soirees pop up around California's wine-rich regions; Los Olivos is getting its glass-and-grape party started in February: Wine Fest Los Olivos.
WELL, THE END OF FEBRUARY... as in the very last day, so, nope, it isn't happening in the thick of wintertime. (Let's be honest: The end of February around Santa Barbara County would count as the middle of spring in a lot of other areas.) Saturday, Feb. 28 is the date, "An intriguing Mystery Tour is also part of the fun!," and a Reidel Master Glass seminar will go down (and down various hatches, too, we imagine). A general admission ticket ahead of time is sixty five bucks -- that's bumped up by a tenner on the day-of -- so if you daydream of Los Olivos wine tasting with a festival, wine-tasting-plus element, and you fancy a day spent with the goods grown in the rolly-hilled area, then your February will end on a very fine note. Is it gloating, by the by, to say that the end of winter 'round Santa Barbara's wine growers is springlike? (Yes, probably, but gloatable things can be true, too.)