In 1983, 17 wineries were lured to the grounds of Mission Santa Inés by Bob Lindquist (of Qupé Wines) and Deborah Kenly Brown (then of Zaca Mesa and Byron Winery, now of Ken Brown Wines) to pour samples and raise money for the first wine-tasting map of Santa Barbara County. This Saturday, 30 years later, the annual Vintners’ Festival returns to the historic site, this time with more than 100 wineries and 25-plus restaurants/caterers to try. The festival weekend — which extends to Friday and Sunday and includes numerous events at wineries throughout the region — also welcomes the new director of the Vintners’ Association, Morgen McLaughlin, who comes from the Finger Lakes region of New York to replace longtime head Jim Fiolek, who left earlier this year.
“There is a way to successfully market a wine region, and we’ve done that in the Finger Lakes with a relatively small budget,” said McLaughlin, who plans to use digital and social media to boost our region. “If you’re not staying abreast of the rapidly changing marketing strategies, you become behind the eight-ball very quickly.”
Come say hi to McLaughlin and taste some of the best wine and food anywhere this Saturday, April 20, 1-4 p.m. at Mission Santa Inés. Call (888) 330-6744 for the $75 tickets or see sbcountywines.com for a full weekend schedule