4 great winter wine events and festivals

Tastings in Santa Barbara and Santa Monica, Los Olivos' first wine fest, and the Masters and Makers in Napa

The wine event calendar doesn't shut down for the winter. Here are a few coming up in late January and February:

Saturday is the fourth Winter Wine Classic at the Grand Ballroom of the Fess Parker Resort in Santa Barbara. It’s an evening tasting of nearly 100 California wines paired with bites from Santa Barbara restaurants, including the Lark, Cielito, Olio e Limone and more. Tickets are $90 or $110 for early access. For more information, call (800) 936-3126 or email info@californiawinefestival.com.

Most of the wineries featured will be pouring current releases and some older vintages, too. The list of participating wineries and their wines (with Parker points attached) can be seen online. You'll recognize many of the names: Heitz Wine Cellars from Napa Valley, Melville Vineyards & Winery from Santa Rita Hills, Navarro Vineyards from Anderson Valley, Tablas Creek from the Central Coast, among many others. 

On Saturday, January 31, Wally’s will host the 2015 Union des Grands Crus Bordeaux Tasting, with all net proceeds going to Food on Foot, a nonprofit that provides the poor and homeless of Los Angeles with meals, clothing and other assistance.

Representatives from more than 95 Bordeaux châteaux will over 100 wines from the highly lauded 2012 vintage. Some of the stellar properties in attendance include Château Pape Clément, Château Pichon-Longueville, Château Climens, Château Léoville Barton, Château La Louvière and Château Troplong Mondot.

In previous years, the event has been a sellout and this year is moving from the Hyatt Century Plaza to larger quarters at the Santa Monica Airport’s Museum of Flying. Tickets are $69 per person in advance, $100 at the door, and can be purchased online at Wally’s Wine & Spirits or by calling (310) 475-0606.

 The weekend of Feb. 13 to 15 is the Masters and the Makers event at the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa Valley. A series of tastings, seminars and winemaker dinners are planned, each individually priced. At the grand tasting on Saturday night three dozen or so wineries from Napa Valley and Sonoma County will be pouring their wines to go with a selection of cheeses, prepared meats, seafood and more ($125).

On that Sunday morning, a farewell brunch will showcase sparkling wines from the Napa Valley ($49). And for those enthusiastic souls who want to attend every event at the festival, a 3-Day All Access Pass costs $509. Discounted room rates are also available. For tickets and information visit the Masters and the Makers site.

And on Feb. 28, Los Olivos is putting on its first-ever Wine Fest celebrating the tiny Santa Inez Valley’s wineries, tasting rooms and restaurants. It starts at 11 a.m. and goes to 6 p.m. Winemakers will be holding forth at participating tasting rooms.

The Austrian wine glass specialist Riedel will be giving a seminar on how the shape of a wine glass affects the taste of a wine ($55, including a tasting glass). There will be music, too, and lots of tempting bites from local restaurants. Plus a Mystery Tour ($65), though not many details on that yet. For more information and to buy tickets go to lowinefest.nightout.com

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