Embracing new social-distancing norms, Santa Barbara County vintners have been able to continue raising their glasses alongside wine lovers thanks to social media.
Organized by the Santa Barbara Vintners Association and hosted on their Instagram channel every Monday and Thursday evening at 6 p.m., according to the association, the virtual outreach program called "Virtual Taste Through Santa Barbara" which was launched over a month ago, profiles a different county vintner discussing the unique attributes of their wine labels – live on camera.
The biweekly wine tasting program also features behind-the-scenes video chats with which patrons can interact.
- Thursday, May 14th @ 6 p.m.: Holus Bolus & Joy Fantastic; Powerhouse duo, Peter Hunken and Amy Christine will be live to talk about their wine, vines and the beautiful Sta. Rita Hills. They will be tasting: 2017 Holus Bolus Syrah- Sta. Rita Hills and 2017 The Joy Fantastic Pinot Noir - Sta. Rita Hills
- Monday, May 18th @ 6 p.m.: Ken Brown Wines; Talk about a Santa Barbara Wine Country Legend! We're honored to have Ken Brown join us to talk about the history of Santa Barbara wine and how the sites he works with translates to his epic lineup. They will be tasting 2016 Rita's Crown Chardonnay, 2016 Envision Pinot Noir and 2016 Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir
- Thursday, May 21st @ 6 p.m.: Alma Rosa Winery; Winemaker, Samra Morris and General Manager, Debra Eagle will talk about their wines and their historic vines in the Sta. Rita Hills. Wine lineup to be determined.
- Monday, May 25th @ 6 p.m.: Presqu'ile Winery will be joined by one of Santa Maria Valley's intriguing sites. Details to be revealed.
- Thursday, May 28th @ 6 p.m.: Dragonette Cellars; Proprietors and winemaking team, John Dragonette and Brandon Sparks-Gillis, will be going live to talk Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA and why it is so special. Wine lineup will be determined.
For an updated schedule and to order product prior to the scheduled taste-along program, visit www.sbcountywines.com/virtual-events.html
“We were having such an amazing eight months before this all happened. Now we’re fighting to pay our rent and just trying to stay afloat.”
Following the postponement of the 14th annual Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon due to social distancing restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, event spokesman Dan Cruz recently announced that a new date has been set.
As always in a storm there is a silver lining, the incredible deals wineries are offering for online sales. Most include shipping within the U.S., most offer discounts to everyone, which may be deeper (but not always) for their wine club members. Fortunately, I receive press releases and I stay informed of these sales through social media. I do it to share the news with my readers, who much like me, always appreciate a good deal when we find them.
KEVIN MERRILL Thanks to the rains in April, wild oats and other grasses growing in our rolling hills have all headed out.
Lisa André covers Valley Life for Santa Ynez Valley News.
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