Posted by lemonjelly on:
The "biggest wine festival under the sun" caught me by surprise. Sun is right, I did get sunburnt. Was it the biggest? I don't know about that. I do know that it became quite a party once the gates opened to general admission.
It seemed apparent that this event was not locally organized, because the wineries representing weren't the ones Santa Barbarans seem to know and love. This could be a good thing, because it provided the opportunity to try new wineries.
If the intent was to seriously taste wine with the idea of buying, it was best to get the VIP entry, which afforded the guest time to sip and talk to the vendors before the waves of younger people wearing "woozies" (little cozies that held an upright wineglass to a strap around your neck) streamed in.
If the intent was to have a rip roaring good time, the general admission was just fine. It was essentially a party on the beach, with a keepsake wineglass party favor. People staggered out the exit at the end, many holding a head of lettuce - another giveaway from one of the vendors. Don't ask! Just enjoy the thought of happy drunks holding lettuce, some perhaps eating them like an apple out of hand.
Crowds surged up Anacapa street afterwards, filling up shops along the Urban Wine Trail. I know this because I got caught in the tide that flowed through Kunin, Municipal, and Corks and Crowns.
My final thought: having a hat vendor at the event was genius.