Santa Barbara Flavor: Winter Wine Classic

Prepare for "nearly 100 classic California wines" at this American Riviera soiree.

SPRING'S STILL ON THE FAR HORIZON, and summer is farther past even that, but awaiting the sort of lighter-of-days to-dos that are staples of those two seasons isn't all that necessary. Oh, we're not claiming the bulk of breezy festivals don't happen when temperatures grow warmer, but we are claiming that festivals that happen in California, regardless of what the calendar says, can pull of finding that summery party spirit (even if the breeziness is on the chill side). The American Riviera understands that summer's spirit can be found even in deepest winter, even if things wrap up a little more warmly and move indoors. If you have a hunch we're talking about the...

WINTER WINE CLASSIC, in Santa Barbara, well, the "American Riviera" part probably gave us away (though good guess on the wine part). It's one of the most vivacious vino gatherings on the sippable schedule, and that goes for winter, spring, summer, or fall. And it happens just a month after winter's official start, on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Fess Parker: A Doubletree by Hilton Resort.

"CALIFORNIA'S ELITE WINE-MAKING MASTERS": This event, top to stem to rim, is all about the top-flight labels being produced by Golden State vine-smart superstars. You'll encounter "nearly 100 classic California wines" during the evening, with mondo regional names like Ahnfeldt and Lieff Wines popping up. Local restaurants'll be on plate-filling, sustenance-lovely duty, and the beneficiary of the night is The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. Do you feel spring, or even summer, on the wind? Prepare for a little pocket of tannin-terrific sunshine'll pop up, near the ocean in Santa Barbara, on the third Saturday of January.

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