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California Wine Festival: Santa Barbara Edition

Familiarize yourself with several wineries in one sippable swoop.

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    California Wine Festival
    California Wine Festival, the on-the-road vino bash, swings in Santa Barbara over the middle weekend of July 2015.

    A TOUR YOU CAN TASTE: The only kind of tours that were regularly on the road, at least for many years, were the kind that spotlighted a play or band or book or musical or album. In short? You were in the entertainment business if you were traveling from city-to-city, doing your thing. But that paradigm is changing, and incorporating more things the public craves beyond a fabulous story or song. Food tours are hotter these days, and we're not just talking about cooks who've authored cookbooks showing up in a town. Tomatomania! puts all things tangy and tomatolicious on the road starting in early spring, for one. And look to the two large beverage tours of the California summer, multi-place happenings that focus on two things pretty intensely: beer and wine. There's the California Beer Festival, which stars in Marin County in June and then makes its way south, finally landing in Ventura in September. And there's the not-related California Wine Festival, a lavish 'n lively 'n label-riffic bash that shows up in Orange County in the springtime and Santa Barbara in the summer (there's an on-the-ocean cruise to boot). Are you ready to add a few more regional wineries to your home shelf? Trying them on some pretty grounds near the Pacific with wine reps close at hand, to answer questions, is a way for oenophiles to up their education. And that education is happening on...

    JULY 16, 17, 18... in Santa Barbara. The big Beachside Wine Festival on the afternoon of Saturday, July 18 is the marquee event of the weekend, but there are some run-up-to-the-fest festivities you may want to check out (including a Sunset Reserve & Rare Wine Tasting). If you're just doing the Beachside, it is sixty nine bucks, plus a few additional bucks, but you can lock into the other vino-nice gatherings on an a la carte basis. And while you sip that chardonnay from Santa Ynez, the one you've been wanting to try, you can ponder what other great things might go on tour in California, beyond singers, authors, tomatoes, craft beers, and wines. A berry tour? A bread tour? Let the good stuff go to more good places more often, we say. And if there's a "concert" t-shirt involved, listing cities and dates, so much the better.