Roll Out the Barrels is a three-day event June 22-24, offering Edna Valley wine, food and music in downtown San Luis Obispo, one of dozens of great events in California wine country throughout the state this summer.
SAN FRANCISCO — Summer in California is great for surfing, hiking and visiting theme parks with the family, but wine lovers know it’s also the perfect time to visit the dozens of distinct wine regions across the Golden State. Throughout the summer, wineries host concerts, festivals and experiences that range from scenic picnics and pool parties to unique pairing experiences and movie nights.
To help wine-focused travelers plan their summers, California’s Wine Institute has compiled dozens of a list winery experiences that’s a starting point for exploring activities and events around the state. Wine fans can find more and also learn about year-round winery amenities, recipes and information about California wines at www.discovercaliforniawines.com.
1) Winery Concerts
Free Summer Concert Series at Halter Ranch Vineyard, Paso Robles (June-Aug.)
Halter Ranch Vineyard in Paso Robles kicks off its first-annual complimentary Summer Concert Series, where guests can pair award-winning wines with an impressive range of local music and vineyard views. The concert lineup includes Rewined (June 16), Kenny Taylor Band (July 14), Bear Market Riot (August 25) and more.
Robert Mondavi Winery Concert Series, Napa Valley (July)
Robert Mondavi Winery’s annual Summer Concert Series benefit the Napa Valley Unified School District Music Program. Artists include Andrew McMahon (July 1), Patti LaBelle (July 8), Michael Franti & Spearhead (July 22) and more.
Summer Sundays at Edna Valley Vineyard (July-Aug.)
Enjoy live music at the newly renovated Edna Valley Vineyard tasting room and deck with views of Islay Peak. Lineup includes: Bear Market Riot, Black Market Trio, Dan Curcio and more. Food and wine are available for purchase. Bring a blanket or low-back lawn chair.
Rodney Strong Vineyard’s Annual Summer Concert Series, Healdsburg (July-Sept.)
Every summer, fans of this series look forward to intimate performances by headliners in a stunning vineyard setting. Attendees can bring a picnic meal or purchase food from local purveyors and listen to Chris Isaak, Kenny Loggins, Chris Botti and Kool & The Gang.
Vina Robles Concert Series, Paso Robles (Ongoing)
This boutique amphitheater offers a variety of outdoor concerts this summer, from Dustin Lynch (June 15) and Trevor Noah (June 24) to REO Speedwagon, Styx & Don Felder (June 25), Michael MacDonald & Boz Scaggs (Aug. 16), Doobie Brothers (Aug. 22) and Idina Menzel (Aug. 27) and Chicago (Sept. 2).
Wente Vineyards Concert Series, Livermore (July – Sept.)
For more than 30 years, The Concerts at Wente Vineyards have showcased world-renowned entertainers in the winery’s picturesque natural amphitheater. Guests enjoy pre-concert sunset dinners outdoors or in The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards. This year’s headliners range from Alanis Morissette and Diana Krall to Seal, Smokey Robinson, Dwight Yoakam and Collective Soul.
2) Wine Events, Festivals and Passports
Rhone Rangers California Tour, San Francisco (June 10)
Join the Rhone Rangers at the Golden Gate Club in San Francisco to celebrate California’s Rhone-style wines. Start the afternoon with lunch honoring 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Sondra Bernstein of the Girl and the Fig restaurant followed by a live auction, grand tasting and special seminars.
Taste of Mendocino, San Francisco (June 10)
More than 30 Mendocino wineries will be pouring their best wines at Fort Mason Center and Mendocino County artisanal food producers will serve up delicious bites to complement the wines.
2nd Annual Tunes, Trucks & Tastes, Monterey County (June 11)
Enjoy the boutique wineries along Salinas’s River Road at this fun festival, which also features local food trucks and bands. Participating wineries include: Pessagno, Manzoni, Scheid and Ventana.
31st Annual Ojai Wine Festival, Ojai (June 11)
The Ojai Wine Festival, in this sub-region of Santa Barbara recently named by Sunset magazine as one of the top five “Food and Wine Havens in the West,” lets wine visitors enjoy 60 award-winning wineries serving more than 250 selections of wine at the beautiful Lake Casitas Recreation Area.
22nd Annual Taste of Howell Mountain, Napa Valley (June 17)
Guests can indulge in wines from 50 Howell Mountain wineries at this event, which takes place noon – 5 p.m. and includes gourmet food pairings from winery chefs, a silent auction, prizes, live music and more.
Carmel Valley Art & Wine Celebration, Monterey County (June 17)
The event showcases over 50 artists, local wines and strolling musicians at restaurants, shops and galleries throughout the Carmel Valley Village.
Roll Out the Barrels, San Luis Obispo (June 22-24)
Come celebrate San Luis Obispo Wine Country’s 27th anniversary at Roll Out the Barrels, a three-day event offering Edna Valley wine, food and music in downtown San Luis Obispo.
Santa Barbara Wine & Food Festival, Santa Barbara (June 24)
Taking place along the banks of Mission Creek at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, guests can enjoy the best of wine and food from this Central Coast region while mingling with winemakers, bakers, and chefs.
21st Annual Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival, Atascadero (June 24)
This unique wine festival supports the local Charles Paddock Zoo. Featuring local wines, live music, craft beer, tasty eats, craft vendors and local artists, the event also includes the Mayor’s Winemaker Dinner, Wine Festival Golf Tournament and Wined Down with Favorite Local Wineries.
Wine Showcase Day, Madera Wine Trail (July 1 & Aug. 5)
Wine lovers can go off the beaten path on Madera’s Showcase days, which take place July 1 and August 5 from 12 to 4 p.m. Each day features a different wine varietal and special tasting.
14th Annual California Wine Festival, Santa Barbara County (July 13-15)
Enjoy wine, food and a seaside setting at this festival, touted as one of the largest and best outdoor wine festivals in the state, featuring hundreds of wines complemented by dozens of top regional chefs and specialty food purveyors.
Mammoth Food & Wine Experience, Mammoth Lakes (July 14-15)
The event offers tastings from more than 20 wineries, food, beer and dessert tasting from local establishments, a wine walk, auctions and more—and it all takes place in Mammoth Lakes, the gateway to Yosemite. For more information, visit www.mammothfoodandwine.org.
2nd Annual Blind Barrel Event, El Dorado (July 15)
Put on your suspenders, bow ties, hats, flapper dresses, pearl necklaces, and dancing shoes and step into the Roaring Twenties for El Dorado Winery Association’s 2nd annual Blind Barrel event, which features food trucks, a live swing band and fine wine.
Santa Cruz Mountains Passport Celebration Day (July 15)
“Passport” holders can choose among 50+ wineries throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains, each offering a unique winery experience and various specials, such as discounts on wine purchases, live music, food and other extras.
Taste Our Terroir, Livermore Valley (July 20-23)
Livermore Valley’s premier food and wine affair returns for four days to educate visitors about its unique “taste of the land.” Livermore Valley wineries will offer 13 different events, including the popular food and wine pairing competition, a progressive dinner, cooking demonstrations, wine tasting seminars and vineyard tours.
Salinas Valley Food & Wine Festival, Salinas (Aug. 12)
Stroll charming Oldtown Salinas while tasting the bounty of Monterey County, from its wines and craft brews to culinary delights straight from “The Salad Bowl of the World,” paired with live music.
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, Sonoma County (Sept. 1-3)
Guests can sample wares from wineries across the county’s 17 diverse wine regions, engage in conversation with Sonoma County’s winemakers and winegrowers, and nibble locally sourced food from the county’s premier chefs.
3) Winery Experiences
Benziger Family Winery, Glen Ellen (Year-round)
Eco-conscious wine enthusiasts can take a behind-the-scenes look at Benziger’s Biodynamic estate vineyard and wine caves, finishing with an exclusive tasting of estate wines. The educational tram tour, pulled by tractors, lets visitors enjoy the scenery – shown in the Keanu Reeves film “A Walk in the Clouds” – filled with long-haired Scottish Highland cattle.
Korbel Winery Bubbles & Bags Event (June 24); Garden Tour, (Now-Oct. 11) Guerneville
Compete in Korbel’s 2nd Annual Cornhole Tournament paired with BBQ and DJ music on June 24. Take an in-depth tour of Korbel’s historic California champagne cellars and the elaborate rose garden now through Oct. 11 – ending with a tasting. Enjoy lunch at the Korbel Delicatessen and Market with patio seating amid the redwoods.
Trefethen Re-opening & 50th Anniversary, Napa (Year-round)
The historic Trefethen winery has re-opened after a 6.0 Earthquake in 2014. Enjoy a Classic or Reserve tasting or a vineyard/winery tour to learn about the architecture and recent restoration of the winery and guided walk through a teaching vineyard.
Unique Wine Pairings
Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates and Gardens, Santa Rosa (Year-round)
Foodies can enjoy an exceptional seated food and wine pairing experience, featuring tastings of limited-production wines and original bites created by K-J’s culinary team. The educational pairings reflect the seasonal nature of the 2+ acre Kendall-Jackson culinary gardens where the ingredients are harvested.
First Friday Movie Nights at Rosenthal, Malibu (June-Sept.)
Located on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway, Rosenthal – The Malibu Estate Vineyard & Tasting Room offers spectacular ocean views and great food and wine tasting opportunities. For those who like to pair wine with blockbuster movies, Rosenthal offers free First Friday Movie Nights this summer, including: "Beverly Hills Cop" (June 2), "Dirty Dancing" (July 2), "Jaws" (Aug. 4) and “Friday” (Sept. 1). Bring your blankets to cuddle under the stars while sipping wine.
Summer Sip and Shop, Livermore (June 21)
Savor fine Livermore Valley wines while you shop at Livermore Premium Outlets. Tickets include wine tasting, a commemorative wine glass and discounts at participating stores.
Shakespeare in the Vines, Baily Vineyard & Winery, Temecula (June-Aug.)
Pair the performing arts with your wine at Shakespeare in the Vines, now in its 11th season, at Baily Vineyard & Winery. Shows include “A Winter’s Tale” (June 8-24), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (July 13-29), “MacBeth” (Aug. 10-26) and more. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own picnic baskets to fully enjoy the evening.
J Vineyards Food & Wine Pairings, Healdsburg (Now-Nov.)
Enjoy a flight of four of J’s award-winning varietal or sparkling wines with four bites on the scenic winery terrace Friday, Saturday or Sunday, 11-4 pm. Dine among the vines at J’s Bow Tie Vineyard dinner party July 15 or enjoy pink pairings at J’s Pink Party Aug. 26.
Sunset Yoga and Wine, McGrail Vineyard, Livermore (June 13)
Begin the evening at McGrail Vineyard with an hour-long yoga class, which will prepare the body for a special tasting of three wines.
Wine Ice Cream at LangeTwins Winery, Acampo (Lodi) (June 25)
Take wine and ice cream pairings to a deeper level by tasting wine-infused ice cream on the sunny patio or in the cool barrel room.
Joseph Phelps Vineyards Wine & Cheese Pairing, St. Helena (Year-round)
Learn how different foods and wines interact with each other and discover your favorites.
Black Stallion Annual Barbeque, Napa (July 15)
Savor the culinary delights of Back Forty Texas BBQ paired with Limited Release award-winning wines.
Wine & Ice Cream Pairing, Concannon Vineyard, Livermore (Aug. 30)
Cool down with a little ice cream and wine as you learn how to pair them. While most wine professionals say this is an “impossible pairing,” Estate Sommelier LeeAnn Kaufman proves it is definitely doable!
Picnics and Pools
Sip and Swim at Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Geyserville (Seasonal)
Guests can add a splash to their summer wine tasting by renting a cabine by Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s pool. Enjoy wines by the glass and tasty crepes, pizzas, salads, panini, gelato or cocktails, delivered to your poolside lounge chair.
Scenic Picnic Spots, Livermore Valley (Year-round)
Summer is the perfect time to sit back and take in the scenic Livermore Valley wine region as you sip local wines. Concannon Vineyard offers beautiful seating areas on the lawn reserved for groups up to eight people. At Retzlaff Vineyards and Estate Winery, visitors can lounge on the lush lawn, framed by organic certified vineyards and mature pepper trees and conveniently close to the tasting room. Charles R Vineyards offers a picnic area by the tranquil tasting room nestled among oak trees, as well as photos and artifacts telling the area’s mining history. Steven Kent Winery’s Party on the Patio Series lets wine lovers sip and sway to local bands, while food trucks offer delicious treats.
Paso Robles Picnics, Paso Robles (Year-round)
Various wineries offer outstanding opportunities to picnic overlooking magnificent views of Paso Robles wine country. At Thacher Winery’s historic Kentucky Ranch, guests can grab a picnic lunch in town and pair it with the winery’s California Rhone, Bordeaux and Zinfandel wines. Wine lovers can choose among various picnic-ready lawns and check out shaded groves, vineyards and historic barns. Castoro Cellars features assorted cured meats and cheeses for sale, as well as drinks and crackers, while Eberle Winery, lets you order a gourmet picnic lunch 72 hours in advance or bring your own. Peachy Canyon, Pear Valley Vineyards, Pomar Junction and Zenaida Cellars also offer picnic areas.
Temecula Valley Picnics, Temecula (Year-round)
Temecula Valley in Southern California also offers wonderful winery picnic spots. Maurice Car’rie Winery’s expansive grass picnic area includes picnic tables and an outdoor artisanal marketplace with homemade sourdough and brie bread baked to order. Robert Renzoni Vineyards features a hilltop picnic area with tables and its own tasting bar as well as a panoramic view of De Portola Wine Trail. Wilson Creek Winery boasts a grassy creek area with picnic tables and a playground for the children. They also offer picnic snacks for purchase in the tasting room that pair wonderfully with their wines.
For ideas on California wine and food road trips in more than a dozen other regions of the state, click here.
Visit discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wines and wineries throughout the Golden State and for planning a trip to California wine country. California is the number one U.S. state for wine and food tourism with dozens of wine regions, 138 American Viticultural Areas and 4,700 wineries that produce 85 percent of U.S. wine. Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries. See: wineinstitute.org.
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Wine Institute Communications Dept., 415/356-7525