Harvest is here and Santa Barbara County takes time out to celebrate the 2011 Vintage

A cornucopia of food, wine and harvested local produce will be featured at annual event
Its Harvest time in California and that can only mean The Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association will once again
host its popular “Celebration of Harvest” festival, this year highlighting the amazing variety of food, as well as wine produced in Santa Barbara County.

 “Harvest is such an exciting time for everyone workinghere in the Valley” states Michael Larner, President of the Vintners’ Association. “Not just for the winegrape harvest, but also for apples, pears, and other fruits as well as pumpkins, tomatoes, squash, greens- you name it. We thought it would be really enjoyable for our visitors to experience the harvest a whole.”

 The stunning grounds of the Rancho Sisquoc Winery will provide a perfect venue for the festival, to be held on Saturday, October 8, 2011. The 100+ winery members of the Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association will all be pouring their wines at the festival and will be joined by local caterers and restaurants, many of whom are partnering with the grower members of the Santa Rosa Hills CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to create appetizers with a truly local flair.

 To keep the action lively, Margie Nelson’s jazz/swing band and Sean Wiggins & One Lone Goat  will provide swinging music for the event, and author Rex Pickett returns to sign copies of his  Sideways and Vertical, his  new novel
Vintners are also planning special events to enhance the festival at the many tasting rooms in Santa Barbara County that feature many of the countries finest wines. The “Vintners’ Visa”, a 4-day passport to 12 participating wineries is a great deal and is  available for sale through the Vintners’ Association, and a detailed listing of events hosted by member wineries will be posted on their website.
Santa Barbara County has become  a premier winegrowing region. There are currently over 100 winery and grower members. For more information, contact the Vintners’ Association at (805) 688-0881 or via email at


See you there !

October is National Seafood Month , a perfect opportunity to pair the Bounty of the Sea with Great Wines

October is National Seafood Month. With the emphasis on great seafood, the question may arise,“What wine should I pair with my Seafood dish.”Many answers are available for the seafood and wine lover. Let’s begin with some basic food pairing knowledge. Wine can enhance any meal to make it memorable to last beyond the immediate fare.Let’s start with the role of color in selecting the right wine.

 When selecting a wine one would like to consider the flavors of the wine with certain fruit or vegetable characteristics; For example a green vegetable aroma may be found in a cool climate Sauvignon Blanc which may enhance the side dishes of green beans or asparagus. In other words, the colors of all the foods on the plate should be brought into consideration when selecting a wine. One should keep in mind intensity of flavors in their wine selection. It is easier to create a more balanced scenario if the basic ingredients are of equal strength.

 Also,decide what function you would like the wine to perform. Do you wish to enhance the food by balancing similar flavors, tastes and textures? Or is your goal to showcase the food by providing a contrast of flavors, tastes and textures. Using the contrasting method is one that is often favored by chefs. Try to look at the wine as an extension of the ingredients. If you are pairing a salty or cured fish, one could complement with fresh fruit and slight sweetness in a wine.

 A Pinot Noir along with its cherry, cola, and smoky notes, could pair well with salmon or smoked trout.  How the dish is prepared is another point of consideration. Will the dish be steamed, poached, broiled, sauté, grilled, The intensity of the flavors will also be affected by any sauces you may want to serve with the main protein. For example, Scallops with a citrus marinade are to be considered much differently than scallops served with a beurre blanc sauce. The citrus infused scallops would pair better with a Sauvignon Blanc, while the scallops served in a butter sauce would do well with an oaky Chardonnay or a lighter style Pinot Blanc.

 Also matching tastes and textures of food and wine for example acidic wines with acidic food or combining texturally smooth and creamy wines with the creamy sauces or rich dishes. Since there are so many considerations, here are some suggestions that one may find useful in pairing seafood and wines.

 Try Cerviche and grilled scallops with a Sauvignon Blanc or dry Riesling or pick up a bottle of Chardonnay or white Burgundy to accompany mussels  , lobster or swordfish dishes.Chardonnay can also pair well with seafood dishes that are served with creamy sauces.

Match an Albarino with oysters, sushi and fried shrimp.  Try being a bit adventurous with mouth watering crisp, acidic  Rose  that can lend refreshing, melon and strawberry notes to many dishes. Red wines should also be considered such as Pinot Noirs, Burgundies, and Beaujolais for Salmon, shrimp, or Tuna dishes.

 Remember the bubbles for the beginning or ending of any great meal. Champagne with Caviar and fresh oysters is always a winning combination. With the onset of online recipes and great chefs abounding, many now provide a list of wine pairings that will make any seafood dish a memorable one. Yes, there is much to consider for that perfect seafood and wine pairing, but with a little research and insight, one can go from a good meal to a great one.

Bledsoe Family Winery Opens Its Walla Walla Winery At The Box Factory Location.

Not long-ago Drew Bledsoe was throwing touchdowns in the NFL. Shortly after his retirement in 2007,  they planted their first vineyard. ...

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