Sunset Magazine's SAVOR the Central Coast, the annual wine, food and outdoors extravaganza, returns to the historic Santa Margarita Ranch the weekend of Sept. 29 and 30, as well as at various locales throughout San Luis Obispo County. The entire event encompasses four days, Thursday through Sunday. SAVOR is organized by the San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Conference Bureau, and Sunset Magazine. The event saw nearly 9,000 visitors in its second year (2011) and is expected to grow even more this year.

Details about all four days can be found via www.savorcentralcoast.com

Sunset's new International Wine Competition will take place Sept. 28 during a Grand Tasting and Dinner in the Dinosaur Caves Park in Pismo Beach. Hosting will be Sunset Wine Editor Sara Schneider, and Editor-in-Chief Kitty Morgan. The dinner itself is sold out, but tickets to the Grand Tasting's reception remain available at $50 per person.

"SAVOR brings it all together to celebrate the good life, while giving attendees a first taste of these amazing wines, which will be featured in the November issue of the magazine," Schneider said.

She will lead or moderate several wine-related sessions scheduled throughout the weekend at the ranch, and most are just $20 with the purchase of a main event ticket — $85 each Saturday or Sunday, or $150 for both days.

Tickets and updated information about sold-out sessions are available at www.savorthecentralcoast.eventbrite.com/

While all of the adventure tours and most of the food- and wine-specific sessions are already sold out, tickets remain available (as of this posting) for the 10:30 a.m. Sunday session with Chef Rick Moonen of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, and rm Seafood. Moonen has devoted his culinary career to being the nation's top advocate for sustainable seafood.

The Santa Margarita Ranch: Spanish padres established a farm with assistance from the Chumash Indian population, and in 1787 it was formally recognized as an outpost of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

The Asistencia was built circa 1817, and is one of the first recorded uses of mortar in California. Today the 13,900-acre ranch is owned by the Rossi, Filipponi, and Wittstrom families, whose management practices have been recognized with several stewardship awards.

Using a rotational cattle-grazing program has allowed perennial grasses to return and has boosted the regeneration of many oak trees. A 975-acre vineyard on the property was one of the Central Coast’s first to employ resource conservation practices.

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