Friday, April 20 Avant Tapas and Wine, Buellton — Santa Rita Hills' Rockin' Wine Tasting and "Club Avant," 5 to 11 p.m. Join 16 of the winemaking members of the Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance as they pour wine produced in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Meet the winemakers and get a souvenir tasting glass. Cost is $20; all proceeds from wine tasting will benefit the Avantastic Relay for Life Team benefitting the American Cancer Society. Following the tasting will be a Prix Fixe, family-style dinner: $35 plus tax and gratuity. From 9 to 11 p.m., Club Avant. Limiting seating for dinner. Tickets: 686-4742. Information: www.avantwines.com. Avant is located at 35 Industrial Way, Buellton. Follow the driveway and signs to the rear of Terravant.
Sanford Winery & Vineyards, Lompoc — Friday Night Wine Down, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Enjoy Sanford wines for purchase by the glass along with complimentary light appetizers and live music. No cost to attend; reservations appreciated but not required. Sanford is located at 5010 Santa Rosa Rd., east of HIghway 1. Information: www.sanfordwinery.com
Succulent Café, Solvang — Join Larry Schaffer of tercero wines for an intimate winemaker dinner at the Succulent Café & Trading Post, 6 p.m. This multi-course meal will pair a broad selection of tercero's wines with the creative cuisine of Brian and Cynthia from Succulent. The meals will be served family style, allowing for greater give and take between Larry, Brian and Cynthia, and the diners. Hors d'oeuvres: pork and ginger potstickers, sweet soy dipping sauce, dried cherry and bacon salad with blue cheese vinaigrette paired with the 2011 mourvedre rose and the 2010 grenache blanc; spicy prawns, cornbread with habanero brittle tempura fried squid and spanish choirzo, sweet chili sauce and butter leaf lettuce paired with the 2010 Outlier and the 2008 Cuvee Christie; crispy seared duck breast, adobo sauce cumin and cayenne spiced ahi with guava reduction cucumber and cilantro slaw, paired with the 2008 Larner Vineyard grenache; baby back ribs with pineapple and chili glaze miniature steak au poivre crispy potato cake, paired with 2007 Thompson Vineyard syrah and the 2009 Camp 4 mourvedre; and finally, for dessert, individual vanilla panna cotta with almond cookie and rhubarb-strawberry preserves, paired with the 2008 petite sirah. Tickets: $95 per person (includes food, wine, tax and gratuity). Reservations required. Contact Larry Schaffer, (805) 245-9584, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday-Sunday, April 20-22
Santa Barbara County Vintners' Festival, Los Olivos — Weekend of wine tasting and special events, highlighted by the annual festival on Saturday, April 21, at a new location, the property known as the "The Carranza," on Zaca Station Road just east of Highway 154. During the festival, the SBCVA's winemaking members, who number more than 110, gather to pour and discuss their wines alongside the Central Coast's top restaurateurs and caters, proffering samples of their food. Festival also includes live music and a silent auction, featuring large-format bottles, vacation packages and special dinners with local winemakers. A unique feature of the weekend is the Vintners' Visa, a multi-day passport to one's choice of 12 of the many wineries that offer special tastings for one price — $35. Wineries participating as of March 28 include Ampelos, Andrew Murray Vineyards, Baehner-Fournier (at Bin 2860, Los Olivos), Bedford Winery, Buttonwood Farm, Cambria, Carr, Casa Dumetz, Coghlan Vineyard & Jewelers, Costa de Oro, Dascomb Cellars, Demetria, Dierberg, Dragonette Cellars, Fontes & Phillips, Imagine, Municipal Winemakers, Oreana Winery, Palmina, Point Concepción Wines Rancho Sisquoc, Riverbench, Roblar, Royal Oaks, Sanford Winery, Scott Cellars, Sevtap, Silver Wines, Stolpman Vineyards, Summerland, Tercero Wines and Zaca Mesa. Check wineries' respective websites for specific discounts and events. Visit www.sbcountywines.com for updates on participants as Vintners' Festival weekend nears. Ticket details: Festival: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 21, on site located approximately 1.5 miles east of Highway 154 along Zaca Station Road. Parking available. Tickets: $75 advance, and $85 at door (if available); Vintners' Visa: $35; Designated Driver: $25; VIP tickets to festival, noon entry, $100 (wine only; food served beginning at 1 p.m.). Combination festival and Vintners' Visa tickets: $100. Roundtrip shuttle service will be available from locations in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Solvang. From Santa Barbara: 11:30 a.m. pickup at Fess Parker Doubletree Resort, Cabrillo Boulevard at Calle Puerto Vallarta; from Santa Maria: 11:45 a.m. pickup at the Holiday Inn & Suites, Broadway; and from Solvang, noon pickup at Hotel Corque, 300 Alisal Road. After the festival ends at 4 p.m., the buses will wait for all passengers to re-board before returning to their destinations. Roundtrip tickets: $25 each. All categories of tickets available via www.sbcountywines.com, and by phone: (888) 330-6744. Information: email@example.com
Saturday only, April 21
Sanford Winery & Vineyards, Lompoc — Open house to coincide with Vintners' Festival weekend, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Taste current and new releases on the patio that overlooks Sanford's historic vineyards, and tour the winery and barrel taste with cellar master Auggie Rodriquez. Barbecue and live music. Cost: $30 general; $20 wine club members and Vintners' Visa participants. Sanford is located at 5010 Santa Rosa Rd., east of HIghway 1. Information: www.sanfordwinery.com
Sunday, April 22
Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard, Solvang — Hike in the vineyard with winemaker Karen Steinwachs and soil guru Stan Kadota; they will discuss bud break, pruning and more, and the various wines available for tasing during the tour; and on April 29, tour the gardens at Buttonwood with Seyburn Zorthian and Abel Navaro and end with a tasting of "savory" wines on the patio of the tasting room. RSVPs are required; the $10 cost includes the tour, wine tasting and logo wine glass. Buttonwood Farm Winery, 1500 Alamo Pintado Road, Solvang. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 688-3032.
Cold Heaven Cellars, Buellton — Join winemaker Morgan Clendenen at Cold Heaven's open house, which will include lunch and rare magnums for tasting and sales. Cost: $15 at the door. Cold Heaven Cellars is located at 92-A Second St., Buellton. www.coldheavencellars
Clos Pepe Estate Vineyards, Lompoc — Open House at the winery, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Taste current releases and library wines and chat with winemakers Wes and Chanda Hagen. Magnums available for sale and pending orders will be available for pickup. Taste the 2011 wines in the barrel. Cost: $10 for tasting. Clos Pepe Winery is located at 1273 W. Laurel Avenue in Lompoc. No reservations required. Information: www.clospepe.comor 686-1343.
D'Vine Wine Bar, Lompoc — JBird Surf Designs and Lone Coast Studios present "The Birth of Surfboard," a show that captures the various stages that end in a finished product — a hand-crafted surfboard. Exhibit continues through April. Information: www.LoneCoastStudios.com. D'Vine Wine Bar is located at 107 W. Ocean. Information: 735-8771, e-mail: email@example.com
Gather Wine Bar, Arroyo Grande — Live music Friday and Saturday evenings; wines by the glass and full menu. Winemaker Wednesdays offer three tastes, discounts on wines by the bottle and a chance to meet the winemaker, all for $10. Gather Wine Bar is located at 122 E. Branch St., Arroyo Grande. Hours: 1 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 2 to 11 p.m. Friday, 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday. View all events at http://www.eventbrite.com/org/462843382. (805) 474-4771; www.gatherwinebar.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Taste in the Vineyard, Santa Barbara County — Spend a morning or afternoon in the tranquility of Santa Ynez Valley vineyards with exclusive access during a walking tour, led by Lee Tomkow. Learn how vines are managed and how wine is produced from a guide who will detail clonal differences, rootstocks and how to identify varietals, among them syrah, sangiovese and grenache. Tour times: 9 a.m. to noon, or 1 to 4 p.m. daily except Saturday. Reservations required; each tour limited to 10 people. Cost: $50 per person. Information and reservations: 693-4424, or www.vineyardwalkingtours.com.
— Calendar: email@example.com Copyright www.centralcoastwinepress.com