First Annual Santa Ynez Valley Signature Event to include Town-Wide, Progressive Dinner; VIP Wine Tastings and Seminars; Varying Menu of Winemaker Dinners; Live Music; Film Screening; Vineyard Tours and Outdoor Activities; plus, “Solvang Grape Stomp” and “Sideways Fest”
Santa Ynez Valley, CA – The Santa Ynez Valley, home to one of the California Central Coast’s renowned wine regions, will host its inaugural four-day food, wine and experiential event, “Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley: The First Course in Food, Wine, and Experiences” (TasteSYV.com), Thursday through Sunday, October 17-20, 2019. The new signature event will take place in the six Santa Ynez Valley wine country towns of Los Alamos, Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, Solvang, Ballard and Buellton, with immersive experiences meant to serve as an introductory course to the edible and imbibe-able bounty of the burgeoning food, wine and beer destination.
More than 100 restaurants, wineries, wine tasting rooms, breweries, distilleries and entertainment venues will welcome Santa Ynez Valley visitors and locals during the four days of foodie adventure, with nine main events and upwards of one- to two-dozen ancillary happenings spread throughout the region, with associated tickets and pricing designed for all wining and dining budgets. Approachable in terms of both itinerary and location, sitting approximately two hours north of Los Angeles by car, and four hours south of the San Francisco Bay Area, the Santa Ynez Valley’s six distinct communities will showcase their defining food and wine features during their respective Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley event days.
“Santa Ynez Valley is quietly rising to the top of wine and food lovers’ lists as a must-visit wine region, and our offering of not one, but six towns to explore and consume, means there’s something here for nearly every ‘taste’,” said Shelby Sim, President / CEO of Visit the Santa Ynez Valley, the destination marketing organization overseeing the event’s production.
Launching Thursday, October 17 in the final food-frontier of Los Alamos, guests may pull up a chair for a seated dinner served at a lengthy communal table, on the atmospheric Old West town’s main thoroughfare of Bell Street. Featured chefs and restaurants will include the likes of entertainment exec-turned-baker, Bob Oswaks, of Bob’s Well Bread Bakery; pioneering Los Alamos chef/restaurateur, Clark Staub, of Full of Life Flatbread; heavy-hitting wine tasting room and restaurant combos like winemaker Will Henry’s joint venture with chef Drew Terp, Pico at the Los Alamos General Store, or farmer James Ontiveros’ Ranchos de Ontiveros Wines coupled with chef Conrad Gonzales’ Cisko Kid oakwood grilling; and Bell’s Restaurant, at which the serious culinary cred of husband/wife team Greg and Daisy Ryan, takes a French twist. The al fresco dinner will begin with a sparkling toast featuring Riverbench Vineyard & Winery.
Thursday event attendees may also sample from the wine, beer and cider havens of Casa Dumetz Wines and Babi’s Beer Emporium, natural-leaning Lo-Fi Wines or Bodega Los Alamos, Bedford Winery, Municipal Winemakers and more, either at the businesses’ Los Alamos locations or at a wine tasting and live music gathering in the town’s Ferrini Park, where Santa Maria and Los Alamos wineries will pour in a grand tasting format.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings will offer event attendees stand-alone, optional activities such as hikes, bicycling, horseback riding, yoga in the vineyards, brunches, breakfasts and coffee experiences, plus a Saturday-only “Sideways Shuttle Tour”.
Continuing on Friday, October 18, in the Valley’s namesake town of Santa Ynez, Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley will educate guests during wine seminars and wine tastings – the latter showcasing Santa Ynez-proper and Happy Canyon AVA wines – to be held at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum. The storied Maverick Saloon will host an evening concert and BBQ, while Carr Winery pairs with a local chef for a wine dinner at their Santa Ynez Warehouse.
Also on tap for Friday, is the beginning of the Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance’s Sideways Fest Wine & Movie Celebration (sidewaysfest.com), an event-filled tribute to the film which 15 years ago, kick-started the Santa Ynez Valley’s place in wine and movie history. The Friday night Sideways Fest happening, to be held at the open-air Solvang Festival Theater, will include a movie screening and wine tasting spotlighting wineries tied to the now-iconic film. A Q&A Panel featuring Sideways film personalities will precede the screening.
The foodie fun will continue on Saturday, October 19, in the Santa Ynez Valley hubs of Los Olivos and Solvang. The festival within a festival which puts the “country” back in “wine country”, Los Olivos’ annual “Day in the Country” (losolivosca.com/day-in-the-country) fall fest will serve as the family-friendliest portion of Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley. The Victorian-era village’s streets will be closed to traffic, boasting rows of artisan vendors, food trucks and booths, an early morning family “fun run”, and a small-town parade. Los Olivos’ walk-able avenues will lead tasting passport-holding guests through the wine-soaked town, while a tented VIP Lounge will feature Los Olivos-area labels lacking in-town tasting rooms.
The second annual Solvang Grape Stomp (solvangusa.com/wine-country/solvang-grape-stomp) will also take place on Saturday, with an actual grape stomping opportunity, live music, and Valley-wide producer wine tastings lining pedestrian-friendly streets in the heart of Solvang, “California’s Denmark”. Saturday evening will bring wine dinner experiences scattered about both Los Olivos and Solvang, at Santa Ynez Valley wine country restaurant favorites like local-food-driven Root 246 at Hotel Corque; Michelin-honored First & Oak; in the pastoral burg of Ballard, at chef/owner Budi Kazali’s The Gathering Table at his Ballard Inn; and a BBQ at the luxe cowboy lifestyle resort, The Alisal Guest Ranch.
On Sunday, the festivities move down the road to the travel-town of Buellton, where Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley culminates with a Sideways Wine Festival grand tasting at River View Park featuring wine, beer and food from all over the Santa Ynez Valley, accompanied by live music. Sunday night stays will award guests with both wine- and beer-pairing dinners in and around Buellton, including vineyard events at some of the Valley’s most picturesque winery properties, in addition to a daytime cooking class and evening wine dinner at Industrial Eats.
“With so many fantastic, regionally unique places to eat and an unending supply of excellent wine and beer coming from all corners of the Santa Ynez Valley right now, there’s never been a better time to capitalize on this culinary concentration,” remarked Matt Kettmann, editor at Wine Enthusiast and The Santa Barbara Independent. “It’s exciting to see all of the individual communities band together to host a series of educational and edible events to promote the overall Santa Ynez Valley brand. Every place is distinct, yet they all share a commitment to making world-class wine and serving delicious food, mostly grown in the surrounding fields.”
Produced in partnership with Santa Barbara-based En Fuego Events (eventsbyenfuego.com), and with media sponsorship by Wine Enthusiast Magazine (winemag.com), ticket proceeds from the inaugural Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley will benefit Santa Barbara Vintners (sbcountywines.com). A “VIP” lanyard package will be available for purchase, granting attendees access to all Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley main events plus one wine dinner experience per night. Single-day lanyards will also be available for purchase, providing access to any given day’s main events and one of that evening’s wine dinners. Individual event wristbands will also be available, for entry into the weekend’s individual, main events.
Sim added, “The Santa Ynez Valley’s layout is as diverse as our food, wine, beer and spirits craft culture, making the area an ideal multiple-day getaway. What’s more, we have numerous hotels and lodging options to suit nearly any vacation budget and itinerary. Our menu of wine country getaway offerings is as fruitful as our land, so we’ve created this event to give visitors just a little taste of the Santa Ynez Valley…knowing that they’ll come back for more.”
More information is available at TasteSYV.com