5 Wines to Try at Santa Barbara's Vintners Spring Weekend

Photo by Michael Cervin

With the Santa Barbara Wine Country Festival approaching this weekend, these are the top wines to taste-test at the annual fest.

With the Oscar-winning film Sideways celebrating its 10th anniversary, Santa Barbara is feeling giddy. The annual Vintners Spring Weekend, the largest of the county’s wine events, is sporting a new attitude of high-end events, partially as a nod to the flock of Angelenos who make the trek north.

The new and improved festival includes four days of events, from April 10 to 13, including a golf tournament at Sandpiper Golf Course on the bluffs above the Pacific (imagine a modest Pebble Beach), a Santa Rita Hills Wine pairing dinner (mainly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), a Farm-to-Table Picnic and Concert at Fess Parker Winery in Santa Ynez, vineyard hikes, and a 90-plus-points Top Rated Wine Dinner at the beach. Most local tasting rooms will be rolling out the red carpet, offering special wines, incentives, and entertainment.

The Grand Tasting, that festive contact sport of imbibers attempting dignity, is the place to sample wines from 100 Santa Barbara wineries. There will be food, an art walk, a farmers market, live bands and a chance to discover new favorites. The Grand Tasting will be held Saturday, April 12, at the River View Park in Buellton, just off Highway 101.

PHOTOS: What Wines to Give and Drink Now

Five Wines to Watch That Will Be Poured:

Grassini, Cabernet Sauvignon
Rich, layered, smooth and swanky with typical dark fruits and oak; ready to rival Napa.

Clos Pepe, Pinot Noir
From the Santa Rita Hills, these Pinots are indicative of the seductive minerality and silken quality of the region.

Cold Heaven, Viognier
This is the vanguard of Viognier in Santa Barbara; comprehensive with various strata of texture and flavor.

Tessa Marie, Vermentino
Actor Fess Parker’s granddaughter continues the wine legacy with this compelling, crisp wine.

Tercero, Grenache
Burly yet soft and subtle, wide-ranging in terms of food pairing, it’s one of the best examples of Rhone wines.

Single events at the fest run $95-$200, while the Grand Tasting is $95. Get more info here.