Cracked, wine-stained hands, stiff muscles, and bloodshot eyes are the standard aesthetic for Santa Barbara County winemakers during harvest. But that didn’t slow anybody down when the winemaking community convened at Rancho Sisquoc Winery in Santa Maria on Saturday, October 10, for the annual Celebration of Harvest.

Over 100 wineries and 38 food vendors from Santa Barbara County showed up on the beautiful hillside venue to pour wines and prepare mouth-watering morsels for a cheerful crowd. Tasters and winemakers alike got their groove on to the lively tunes of two local bands, House Red and Lady Blue.

The bucolic setting at Rancho Sisquoc Winery.

A silent wine auction benefiting the FoodBank of Santa Barbara County was charged with hopeful energy and generated important pre-holiday funding for the organization. Fran Clow of the Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association declared the event a success. “We had a spectacular, sold-out crowd of about 1,500 guests and the weather was absolutely perfect.”

Standout wines included pinot noirs by Prodigal Wines and Flying Goat, Blair Fox’s sumptuous Syrahs, Margerum Wine Co.’s well-balanced blends, Melville Chardonnay, and Vogelzang Sauvignon Blanc. The word on the street was that the savory steelhead tacos from New West Catering, pumpkin ravioli from Trattoria Uliveto, and melt-in-your-mouth truffles from Jessica Foster Confections were huge hits on the food scene.

The natural beauty of the Rancho Sisquoc, accompanied by exquisite wines, outstanding cuisine, and rockin’ tunes, made for an blissful afternoon in wine country-and for winemakers, a necessary diversion in an otherwise grueling season.


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