Category Archives: Travel

Have Degree, Will Travel

It’s graduation season, so we thought we’d take a look at how graduates in recent years are bridging the gap between college and entering the work force. Economic uncertainty, greater numbers of graduates and an ever-growing job shortage don’t make jumping directly into a professional career a reality for everyone. Instead, greater numbers of grads are embarking on life-changing journeys, volunteering, and getting creative before jumping at the first job that comes their way. Here, we look at how modern grads are making delicious lemonade out of lemons from the fallout of the recession.

GAP YEAR

Our own Jaime Lewis on gap year in Italy.

Our own Jaime Lewis on gap year in Italy.

An established tradition in the UK and other parts of the world, the “gap year” is a year-long sabbatical taken for travel. The gap year is often taken between graduation from college and professional life, but many professionals who have already established a career opt for a year-long sabbatical in the same spirit. “Gappers” have been known to immerse in language course programs, work on organic farms for food and lodging, and take paid or unpaid internships. Although these gaps are meant to be stops along the career path, they often become forks in the road, taking graduates down a different, better path than any they had imagined while in school.

VOLUNTEERING

care a vannersWith needs so great across the globe, many recent grads find meaning in taking time out to support a good cause before leaping into the rat race. Programs like Global Work & Travel Co. set volunteers up with projects in countries like Africa, India, Nepal, Thailand, Morocco and Vanuatu for anywhere from two to twelve months. Projects range from rescuing wild animals to caring for orphans, wildlife photography and teaching preschool. Other volunteering projects include working with Habitat for Humanity to build affordable housing for those at home and abroad. Habitat projects like Global Village involve raising funds for building initiatives across the world, while the RV Care-A-Vanner program rallies people of all ages who travel in recreational vehicles to join affordable house-building projects across the United States, wherever they may roam. The best part? No previous construction experience is required.

PLAY-SLASH-WORK

Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard

Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard

Sometimes the only chance to pursue a passion occurs after college, when the ink is still fresh on the diploma and the first loan payment bill hasn’t yet arrived. Plenty of recent grads pick up a hobby like candle-making or letter-pressing, or (ha!) winemaking…and then the “side job” becomes the job-job. Stranger things have happened! Examples: Randall Grahm, Mark Zuckerberg, and a whole lot of other very successful-slash-crazy entrepreneurs.

 

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A Perfect Three-Day Weekend, Four Ways

Still making plans for Memorial Day? Haven’t even started? Don’t let the holiday find you splayed out on the couch bingeing on Game of Thrones and eating Cool Ranch Doritos. Get out there! Eat something special!

Easy for us to say, eh? Here, we asked each member of the Parker Sanpei Team to share how they want to spend this Memorial Day Weekend.

Elissa WieseElissa Wiese, Account Manager
Cocktails With Girlfriends

My weekend plans somehow always include: bathing suits, baseball caps or big hats, the beach, Ray Bans, and cocktails with my girlfriends.  We rarely all drink the same thing, so here are three ideas that would please a group.

Memorial Day Cocktails

Aloha Sparkle

  • 1 oz. Skinnygirl White Cherry Vodka
  • 4 oz. sparkling water
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • Garnish: pineapple wedge, cherry, mint sprig

Combine all ingredients in a glass filled with ice and stir. Garnish with a cherry and mint sprig.

Mister Three Step

  • 1½ oz. Campari
  • 1½ oz. Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 oz. bourbon
  • 1 dash celery bitters
  • lager beer

Combine all ingredients except beer in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with lager beer.

Red, White, & Boom

  • 1¾ oz. SVEDKA Stars & Stripes
  • ¾ oz. lemonade
  • ½ oz. triple sec
  • 1 oz. cranberry juice
  • 6 limes, juiced
  • 12 c. ice
  • Garnish: blueberries and strawberries

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher filled with ice. Garnish with blueberries and strawberries.

Kyndal KennedyKyndal Kennedy, Acct Manager
Leisurely Staycation

Long weekends call for time in the kitchen (and the beach, of course) cooking up something special for me and my man. Here’s my ideal menu that is simple enough to save time from slaving over a stove, but gourmet enough to know you’re doing something right:

 

Breakfast
Strawberry Shortcake, hold the whip cream…or not.
Eggs Benedict
Mimosas

salmon-asparagus-salad-cl-lLunch (Picnic on the Beach)
Shrimp and Beef Skewers with Soy and Scallion Butter. Add skewers of fresh veggies and you’re set!
Sun Tea
Prep everything at home and take along with a small charcoal grill to the beach.
(Don’t forget shelter from the sun!)

 

Dinner
Keep dinner light and simple after a day of sun, fun and food!
Grilled Salmon and Asparagus Salad
Parrish Family Sauvignon Blanc

Jaime LewisJaime Lewis, Copywriter
Family Chill Time

A long, sunny weekend with kids calls for plenty of time poolside with friends, a date at the drive-in for mom and dad, and at least one glorious dinner from the grill.

Delicious poolside snack to share: Chimichurri Popcorn

  • ¼ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Mix together  first seven ingredients for chimichurri and let rest. Pop popcorn kernels in vegetable oil. Once popcorn is popped, mix the chimichurri sauce into the popcorn to evenly coat. Spread out onto a baking sheet and let cool. Pair with Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale.
sunset-drive-in-theatrePerfect Mommy/Daddy Date: Time with kids is awesome, but Mommy and Daddy need to be able to look each other in the eye and finish a sentence every now and then. For this, adouble feature at the drive-in, Indian food, and a bottle of dry German Riesling or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has been our go-to date since time immemorial. It’s cheap, it’s fun, and it’s tasty.

 

Delectable Family-Friendly Dinner…(in just one hour!): Pancetta CheeseburgersBalsamic MushroomsWhite Bean and Tomato SaladCoconut Cupcakes.

LiLindanda Parker Sanpei, Principal
In the Lap of Luxury

The kids are grown and we are free to do whatever we want! My perfect long weekend could go one of two ways:

bernardus1) Spent at Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley.  Bernardus is a sort of one-stop-shop for me. I love its terrific spa, super food, great shopping nearby and near-perfect year-round weather. A couple’s massage, a glass of the lodge’s proprietary Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir by the pool, shopping at The Barnyard, and a dinner of Sonoma Duck would absolutely fit the bill…

 

SARoompanorama

2) …If I wasn’t flying to Puerto Vallarta with a handful of other couples for an indulgent getaway weekend! I would reserve the 5-bedroom Villa Paraiso at Villa Amor in the tiny fishing/surfing village of Sayulita, just outside PV, and plan for plenty of communal barbecuing, stargazing, swimming, exploring, hammocking (is that a word?), and laughing into the night with a glass of something delicious in hand.

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The West’s Best Comfort Food Restaurants

Much as we’d like to believe we have seasons here in San Luis Obispo, the truth is, we don’t. Witness New Year’s Day, 2014, in which each of us spent time either in shorts and/or flip-flops. A travesty, we know.

But sometimes we long for the taste of a hearty, comforting meal, enjoyed before the warmth of a crackling fire. When such cravings hit, here are our favorite West-side restaurants in which to indulge.

Black Cat Bistro, Cambria, California

black_cat_bistro_logoIf the quaint Central Coast hamlet of Cambria wasn’t charming enough, Deborah Scarborough’s Black Cat Bistro has certainly thrown it over the edge. Located in Cambria’s East Village, the Black Cat Bistro was established in 2004 with a tasteful, French-infused menu and elegantly cozy decor. Dishes to swoon over include Braised Lamb Shank with pearl couscous, currants, cinnamon and kale; and a Duck Confit & Stonefruit starter with Happy Acres chevre, shallots, pepitas, cilantro, bread crumbs, and apricot-habanero glaze. Don’t miss the Central Coast-heavy wine list. 1602 Main Street, Cambria, CA 93428

Wolf Lodge Inn, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

9120

Just east of beautiful Coeur d’Alene in Idaho’s panhandle, housed in a wide-roofed red barn, is a fantastic example of The Great American Steakhouse. While the Wolf Lodge Inn’s decor is down-home with snow shoes hung on the wall, stuffed game heads, and even a life-size Indian mannequin, the food is legit. Thick steaks are cooked on an indoor wood pit barbecue, and the baked potatoes are truly Idaho-enormous. All entrees are served with, among other delectables, Krebel bread, which is not unlike an unglazed donut. Who’s complaining? 11741 E Frontage Rd. Coeur D Alene, ID 83814

Park Chow, San Francisco, California

park_restaurantCan you imagine such a thing as healthy comfort food? Park Chow can, and has been serving some of the tastiest “healthy comfort food” from it’s tucked-away San Francisco’s Inner Sunset spot since 1997. Favorite menu items to enjoy beside their roaring fireplace include a steaming bowl of Smiling Noodles of Chicken & Shrimp with bok choy, mushrooms and fresh curry; and the organic beef pot roast. We think of it as the ultimate neighborhood eatery, all the more for its breakfast/lunch/dinner/late-night service and kid-friendliness. 1240 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94122

Le Pichet, Seattle, WA

cover_pichet01This Pike neighborhood bistro is our definition of refined comfort. The ambiance is simple and très francais, just like the menu, which features plenty of charcuterie, mustards, cheese, freshly-baked bread, and roast meats.  The meal we dream of when the temperature drops? La poulet rôti à votre commande – roast chicken with apples and potatoes, cooked to order, alongside a crock of simple red wine, bien sûr1933 1st Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101

 

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Your 2014 International Festival Punch List

Life is short, travel-hungry friends! And what better time to put together a must-do list of festivals across the world for 2014 than now? Allow us to suggest a few, some you’ve always wanted to try, and a couple you’ve probably never heard of. You’re welcome!

Rio

carnival_in_rioRio de Janeiro, Brazil: Carnival
February 28th – March 4th, 2014

Street parades, samba dancing, fireworks, and crazed revelers mark this annual festival – the largest Carnival in the world – held before Lent every year. The first festivals in Rio go back to 1823, and, today, Rio’s Carnival hosts two million people per day on the streets.

Venice, Italy: Festa del Redentore
July 19-20, 2014

Festa del Redentore, Venice, Italy

This massive festival began as a feast to celebrate the passing of the Black Plague of 1576. Today, the festivities are marked by parties across the city, boats filling the Basin of San Marco, an extravagant fireworks display, and even a city-sponsored hangover breakfast on the beach in Lido.

Bastille Day Parade, Paris, France

Paris, France: Bastille Day
July 14, 2014

The first events of France’s democracy in the 18th century are celebrated with Bastille Day, or La Fête Nationale. A giant dance party at the Place de la Bastille, a military parade down the Champs-Elysées, and fireworks over the Eiffel Tower are always included.

Sydney, Australia: Vivid Festival
Late May, early June annually

Opera House Test

Top international artists transform Sydney into a spectacular canvas of light, music and ideas when Vivid Sydney takes over the city after dark. Immersive light installations mark the festival, but music performances in the Opera House and talks given by leading creative thinkers are also on the bill.

songkranPhuket, Thailand: Songkran Festival
April 13-15 , 2014

Dubbed “the world’s biggest water fight,” the Songkran Festival commemorates the beginning of the solar calendar, but has become a massive excuse to douse thy neighbor. Parades of trucks carrying full water buckets, barrels, and water guns are the norm, and kids especially enjoy the chance to spray anyone and everything they can.

Tunisia: International Festival of the Sahara
End of December annually

Tunisia

For four days at the end of December, thousands of people, mostly from all over Tunisia and other Maghrebien countries, flock to Douz, Tunisia, to celebrate the country’s oldest and most beloved festival. Established in 1910 to make people aware of and appreciate nomadic ways of life and traditions, the festival includes song, dance…and camels, camels, camels.

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IDEAS: Last-Minute Holiday Getaway Destinations

Here we are, a week from Christmas Day, dreaming of the perfect place in which to celebrate. Of course, there’s no place like home for the holidays, but perhaps next year…?

Below, enjoy a few of our (widely varying, yet equally appealing) picks for a last-minute getaway Christmas.  And to you and yours, we at Parker Sanpei wish a season full of wonder and merriment!

Park City, Utah

Holing up in this chic ski resort town for Christmas sounds like heaven. We like the idea of renting a condo and inviting the whole family to enjoy the holiday torchlight parade down the slopes on Christmas Eve at Park City Mountain Resort, followed by toasty drinks around the fire pit and pancakes in the kitchen on Christmas morning.

Park City Collage

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Okay, confession time: We lifted this idea directly from one of our favorite designer’s blogs, Trina Turk.  She spent last Christmas there and describes it as

“a beautifully preserved 500-year-old hill town in central Mexico, and the birthplace of the Mexican Revolution.”

 – http://www.TrinaTurk.com

She lists off a few musts including restaurants, churches, galleries, and public spaces where Mariachi bands play. Sounds perfect!

Paris, France

Is there really any comparison, here? Paris for Christmas is superlative in all the right ways. We like the thought of renting an apartment in the Marais, ice skating beneath the Eiffel Tower and attending Christmas services at Notre Dame Cathedral. But then again, what’s not to like about the City of Lights?

Paris collage

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A Few of Our Favorite Things

We at Parker Sanpei consider ourselves fortunate to work with some of the most thoughtful innovators in the  food, beverage, hospitality and lifestyle industries.  Here, we profile a few of our favorite things from several clients.

Cocktails at La Cosecha Bar + Restaurant

la-cosecha-menu-21La Cosecha, in downtown Paso Robles, was launched by respected Chef Santos MacDonal of Il Cortile Ristorante.  The style? Laid-back Latin cuisine and progressive mixology.  We are totally smitten with the Peruvian Fizzare cocktail and Manchego cheese fondue with plantain chips.

Laetitia Vineyard & Winery Les Galets Pinot Noir

les galets

Laetitia’s Les Galets Pinot Noir is consistently incredible, and we don’t use that word lightly.  Lately we’ve been enjoying the 2010 vintage with pork roasts and braised lamb.

The stones indigenous to the Galets Vineyard perfectly describe the wine produced, rich in mineral driven notes of chalk and wet limestone, with prevalent dark berry aromas and dried black cherry. The palate shows flavors of tobacco and root beer spice, with structure of lingering velvet and finishing with a gorgeous floral flavor.

- http://www.LaetitiaWine.com

Julie 1

Thomas Hill Organics Chef Julie Simon

If you’ve never dined at Thomas Hill Organics in downtown Paso Robles, we think it’s safe to say you haven’t lived.  Chef Julie Simon is an ace with fresh ingredients, and what she lacks in years (she’s only in her 20s) she makes up for in verve.  Born and raised in France, she comes by her kitchen mastery honestly, with inventive dishes like her Pan Roasted Alaskan Halibut, Arugula and Carrots Salad, Cara Cara Oranges, Roasted Kumquats, Kumquat Olive Oil, Spicy Harissa, Coriander-Crème Fraiche, and Cumin Almonds.

Villa San-Juliette Sunday music series

villa-san-juliette-patio-sf13So often, we find ourselves at home on a Sunday afternoon wondering what to do, where to go.  Enter Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery in San Miguel, where their outdoor Sunday music series includes easygoing tunes from top-rate musicians, beautiful views in all directions, $1 off wine by the glass and 10% off bottle purchases off VSJ’s featured wine along with a complimentary bread and olive oil appetizer plate with the purchase.

Sanpei Optics Eyewear

glassesEver wanted to design and live out your own personal soundtrack?  Enter Sanpei Optics, sunglasses with a patented ear bud docking station so you can look suave (we like the wayfarer style) and enjoy audio like music and podcasts or talk to a friend via BlueTooth.

Hammersky Vineyards & Inn

hammersky-vineyards-farm-house-sf12When we really start to fantasize about the perfect staycation, Hammersky Vineyard & Inn is the place to be.  As a member of the Paso Robles CAB Collective, Hammersky produces estate Bordeaux varietal wines and boasts a restored 107-year-old farmhouse that welcomes guests to enjoy a gourmet kitchen, large dining room, Wi-Fi, satellite, barbeque and phenomenal outdoor living space.

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Four Delicious Days to Savor

When it comes to defining our lifestyle here in the West, Sunset Magazine certainly has the scoop.  From cooking and gardening to travel and tastemakers, since its inception in 1898, Sunset has honed in on what makes life on the Left Coast so splendid.  We still get a monthly thrill finding each beautifully-curated issue in our mailbox.

savor

So imagine our delight when Sunset’s SAVOR the Central Coast came to town several years ago in partnership with Visit San Luis Obispo County.  Imagine four days of Sunset Magazine jumping off the page with cooking classes, adventure tours, gardening demonstrations and winemaker/brewer dinners up and down the beautiful, bountiful Central Coast.  That’s what the annual SAVOR festival is like.  It just pummels you with incredible experiences, one after another after another. This year’s festivities run September 26 through 29, with highlights including:

  • Lasso the Wild West at the Madonna Inn – Roping and wrangling seminar for all experience levels at the storied Madonna Ranch, including Santa Maria-style lunch.trail-rides
  • Sunset on the Sand in Pismo Beach – Cocktails, cooking demos, family-style dinner and wines paired by Sunset Wine Editor, Sara Schneider, followed by beachfront bonfires and s’mores and live music under the stars.
  • Main EventSanta Margarita Ranch provides the backdrop for hundreds of wineries, breweries, restaurants, farmers, gourmet purveyors and ranchers to show their wares and demonstrate their craft.  Seminars include a cooking demonstration by celebrity chef Michael Voltaggio of ink., “Pickling and Preserving the Garden’s Harvest with Farmer Ralph Johnson and Chef Pandee Pearson,” and how to take the best travel photos with your smart phone.sunset

For more information about Sunset’s SAVOR the Central Coast, please visit http://www.SavorCentralCoast.com.

We’ll be there.  Will you?

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Wine-ding off the Map

Sure, we love Napa, Willamette and Walla Walla, but sometimes a change of pace is in order.  As the light changes and the leaves begin to turn, we at Parker Sanpei yearn to pack a picnic, take a drive (or a flight!), and experience something new.  Here we offer a few of our favorite off-the-beaten-path wine trails.

Snake River Valley, Idaho & Oregon

Melanie Krause and Joe Schnerr of Cinder Wine in Garden City, Idaho

Running over the border between two states, the Snake River AVA was Idaho’s first and Oregon’s sixteenth to be established.  The area’s 15 wineries sit at 2,500 to 3,000 feet above sea level, making for a more drastic diurnal swing (the difference between a day’s highest and lowest temperature) than that of any other region in the Pacific Northwest.  Wineries like Ste. Chapelle Winery in Caldwell are reminiscent of Bordeaux, while those like Sawtooth Winery in Nampa look an awful lot like New Zealand.  And the varietal that really shines here? Ask for Riesling.

Fredericksburg Wine Road 290, Texas Hill Country

Wine Road 290

Driving along Wine Road 290

While Orbitz Travel called this the “2nd most visited wine region in the US only behind Napa,” we still consider Wine Road 290 an out-of-the-way wine jaunt.  This casual and eclectic trail is just 90 minutes from both Austin and San Antonio, and boasts 13 wineries on a 45-mile stretch of Texas’ Highway 290.  We especially like the beautiful Francophile style of Becker Vineyards in Stonewall.

Back Roads Wine Trail, Northern Kentucky

Baker-Bird Winery

Despite being famous for its bourbon, Kentucky is one of the oldest wine regions in North America. Winding through pastoral farmland and rolling bluegrass hills, the Back Roads Wine Trail is known for growing Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, Traminette, and Vidal Blanc.  We recommend the historic Baker-Bird Winery in Augusta, which was established by German immigrants from Baden in the mid-1800s, and is the oldest commercial estate winery in America on its original land.

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DELICIOUS EVERYTHING: Outside Lands 2013

Summer is in full swing, which means longer days, chilled white wine, firing up the BBQ, and plenty of outdoor summer music festivals.  And this year, we at Parker Sanpei are most excited to attend the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park August 9 through 11!

outside lands logo

Headliners for this year’s festival include Sir Paul McCartney, Nine Inch Nails, Red Hot Chili Peppers, D’Angelo, Phoenix, and Band of Horses, along with loads of other incredible performers.  But the part we like best is the epicurean side of this festival: “A Taste of the Bay Area,” which includes hundreds of SF’s best indie eateries; Wine Lands, where our buddies Field Recordings and Hartley-Ostini will be pouring their wares; Beer Lands, where folks like 21st Amendment Brewery and Bear Republic Brewing will be on display; and even a farmstand with fresh produce from Full Belly Farm.

The festival is characteristically eco-friendly, educating the public about eco-friendly movements and making use of solar power stages, a refillable water program, a waste diversion program, a recycling program, and bike valet parking program.

The term “outside lands” is a 19th-century reference to SF’s present-day Richmond District and Sunset District. With few roads and no public transportation, the area was covered with sand dunes and was considered inaccessible and uninhabitable. Of course, the Outside Lands were owned by Mexico before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, which ceded the area to the U.S. The city of San Francisco was growing rapidly as a result of the Gold Rush, and petitioned for the space until it was granted in 1866. The establishment of Golden Gate Park came several years thereafter in 1871.

Check out these pics of prior Outside Lands festivals:

Wine Lands

Named one of Fodor’s Best American Summer Food Festivals

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A delicious summer for wine and food in the West.

The strawberries and asparagus have been crowding the market stalls, and peaches are just starting to ripen – it’s definitely an eater’s and drinker’s market out there this summer!  Here are some of the delectable food and wine events we at Parker Sanpei are most looking forward to savoring this season.

Dining Month in Portland

Portland dining month
June is Dining Month in Portland!  Which means that 80 different restaurants will feature a three-course menu for just $29 throughout the month.  We like the looks of
Belgian beer bar Bazi Bierbrasserie, and St. Jack, where the madeleines are fresh from the oven…

Roll Out The Barrels
Our own award-winning San Luis Obispo Wine Country will host its 23rd annual Roll Out The Barrels festival June 20 through 24.  Rather than tell you about it, why don’t we show you?

Los Angeles Street Food Festival
la street food festStreet food –  anything from a cart to a stand, truck to pop-up restaurant – is a movement that really started in Los Angeles, where fiercely authentic regional cuisine and mobility are kindred spirits.  But the only time you can find all of these street food vendors together is at the Los Angeles Street Food Festival, Saturday, June 29th at the Rose Bowl. Just $50 gets you in the door for all-you-can-eat street food at its very best, like La Monarca Bakery‘s Tequila Lime Cake and Cold-Brewed Cafe de Olla.

Central Coast Wine Classic
ccwcHeld July 11 through 14, the Central Coast Wine Classic is not only a celebration of the good life, it is also an education in global wine culture.  Symposia include a French Burgundy session led by renowned collector and Burgundy expert, John Tilson, as well as a session on Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon featuring wines from Clark-Claudon, Gandona, Knights Bridge, Opus One, Spottswoode, and Viader.  A sumptuous benefit dinner at Hearst Castle and the much-loved Rare & Fine Wine & Lifestyle Live Auction in Avila Beach make this festival a must for any true oenophile.

California Wine Festival
cwfFor wine and waves, you can’t do much better than the California Wine Festival in Santa Barbara this July 18 through 20th.  A host of beautifully-designed celebrations will mark this three-day festival, but we’re most looking forward to the “Beachside Wine Festival” on Saturday, July 20 at Chase Palm Park Oceanside.

Hit the grassy, palm-lined Chase Palm Park to experience the quintessential California wine tasting event at our 10th Annual California Wine Festival grand finale.  Indulge in this heady, summertime “right of pleasure” and join the afternoon-long celebration – Unlimite tasting of fine wine and foods plus sun, sea, and music.

Sounds pretty spectacular to us.  This event’s ticket price includes all wine and food samples plus an 18 oz keepsake wine glass. $69 in advance, $80 at the gate.

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