The Chardonnay Symposium returns to the Santa Maria Valley Friday, June 29, through Sunday, July 1, with events ranging from a barbecue at Sierra Madre Vineyard and a winemaker seminar moderated by Wine Enthusiast Editor Steve Heimoff to an outdoor concert Sunday. The weekend is sponsored by the Santa Maria Valley Wine Country Association, the organization behind the promotion of the region's wineries, vineyards, hotels and other tourist-related businesses.
The annual symposium remains the only event of its kind dedicated to chardonnay, Slaughter said.
During the Friday night barbecue and BYOChardonnay at Sierra Madre Vineyard and Saturday's day-long events at Byron Vineyard and Winery, the more than 60 participating winemakers will strive to educate participants about the varied styles of chardonnay and the climate and soil conditions under which the Burgundian grape varietal thrives.
Its cooling marine influences make the Santa Maria Valley AVA a top region for growing chardonnay, Slaughter said.
The eight chardonnay producers scheduled to participate in Saturday morning's panel include the 2011 Wine Enthusiast Winemaker of the Year, Bob Cabral of Williams Selyem; Jenne Lee Bonaccorsi, Bonaccorsi Wine Company; returning 2011 panelist Dieter Cronje, Presqu'ile Wines; James Hall, Patz & Hall; Eric Johnson, Talley Vineyards; Heidi von deer Mehden, Arrowood Vineyards & Winery; Bill Wathan, Foxen Winery; and Graham Weerts of Stonestreet Wines.
The local chefs who will demonstrate their talents and provide samples for tasting include Budi Kazali of The Ballard Inn; Alfonso Curti of Trattoria Uliveto; and Ryan Gromfin, consulting chef for the Santa Maria Inn, Slaughter said.
Friday's BYOC (Bring Your Own Chardonnay) Barbecue at Sierra Madre Vineyard includes a gourmet Santa Maria-style barbecue, music and dancing. Cost: $30 per person.
Among the other symposium events are a Kenneth Volk winemaker dinner Saturday evening, a sparkling chardonnay Sunday brunch at Cottonwood Canyon Winery and a "Pops in the Vineyard" concert Sunday afternoon at Tres Hermanas Vineyard.
Details: www.thechardonnaysymposium.com, or www.smvwines.com. Media sponsor of the June event: Wine Enthusiast. Transportation: Included in the $95 cost of Saturday's Heimoff seminar and the Grand Tasting is shuttle transportation from the Santa Maria Radisson Hotel to Byron Vineyard and Winery; parking on-site at Byron will be $20 per vehicle, organizers say. All events Friday through Sunday are listed on the Chardonnay Symposium website.