Summer is upon us: Time to start planning for some wine country fun.
One event not to miss, especially if Chardonnay is the first thing that leaps to mind when you think wine: the Chardonnay Symposium in the Santa Maria Valley. In its fourth year, the symposium is set to take place July 19-21.
The event is scheduled to kick off with a dinner in honor of Central Coast pioneer Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat at the historic Bien Nacido Adobe. He's to be toasted and/or roasted by Bob Linquist of Qupé, Frank Ostini of the Hitching Post, sommelier Raj Parr and winemaker Gavin Chanin. The four-course dinner and wine pairing goes for $200 per person. If you feel like treating your friends, tables of 10 are discounted to $1,700 (just something to keep in mind).
That Saturday (July 20) packs in a full day of education and tasting, starting off with a panel discussion by winemakers headed up by Wine Enthusiast magazine's Steve Heimoff. Speakers are to include Merry Edwards of Merry Edwards Winery, Matt Dees of Jonata and Clarissa Nagy of Riverbench Vineyard & Winery.
After, participants will break for a box lunch followed by the Grand Chardonnay Tasting at Byron Vineyard & Winery that afternoon.
You’ll be able to taste Chardonnays from more than 50 producers, some local, some from farther afield. Wineries pouring include Au Bon Climat, Dierberg Vineyard, Edna Valley Vineyard, Foxen, La Fenetre Wines, Duckhorn Wine Company, Presqu’ile Winery, Qupé and Talley Vineyards.
The cost for the whole day is $150 per person, while admission to the grand tasting only is $65. If you want to bring a designated driver, his or her ticket will run $30, parking (normally $20) included.
Why the high parking price? Limited availability on the property. And because of the narrow, winding roads, guests are encouraged to use the bus transportation included in the ticket price to access the tasting site.
What’s happening on that Sunday? That's to be announced soon. Hint: It involves more Chardonnay.
For more information and to purchase tickets, contact (805) 699-6290, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.thechardonnaysymposium.com.