A trio of spring wine events to celebrate the season

It’s almost spring. You’re eager to go somewhere, for some kind of adventure. For those who plan ahead: a trio of wine events to celebrate the season and the incredible gift of California wine.

Family Winemakers of California

The group will hold its 11th-annual Pasadena tasting Sunday, March 9 at Pasadena’s Convention Center. Over 175 small, family-owned wineries will participate. All in all, you’ll have the chance to taste 750 wines. The tasting starts at 3:30 p.m and ends at 6 p.m., which means you’ve got basically 2½ hours to find the wines you want to taste and chat up the winemakers. General admission pre-sale (until March 8) is $60. Add $20 for the chance to taste wines that sell for over $75 from 30 wineries at the iSip Lounge. Designated Driver Tickets, no charge.


Tickets can be purchased online at At the door on the day of the event, the charge is $70.

CabFestNV 2014

For the first time, Napa Valley Cabernet gets its own festival this year on Feb. 28 through March 2 when more than 100 Napa Valley wineries will be presenting their Cabernets at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center’s Lincoln Theater. Tickets are $125 for a single-day Grand Tasting pass, $225 for a two-day Grand Tasting pass, and $500 for the all-access, full-weekend pass. Hey, actor/musician Jeff Bridges and his country-rock band the Abiders will give a concert Friday night. Karen MacNeil, author of “The Wine Bible,” will give the keynote lecture, and the Culinary Institute at Greystone will present cooking seminars. Buy a pass online or by calling the Lincoln Theater box office at (707) 944-9900.

Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend

Up in Buellton, April 10 to 13 is set aside for the annual Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend. There’s lots going on, but the big event is the Festival Grand Tasting on Saturday, April 12, at River View Park in Buellton where more than 100 local wineries will be pouring their latest releases. Early-bird special admission is $85. The weekend also includes winemaker lunches and dinners, seminars, vineyard walks and more. It’s quite a mix. I like the idea of one of the five vineyard hikes on that Saturday or the barrel-tasting seminar. On Sunday, you could go to a farm-to-table picnic and concert or attend Au Bon Climat and Qupe’s spring open house. There’s lots more. To see the full schedule or to buy tickets for events, go to


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