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Pinot noir grappes growing in the Sta. Rita Hills

Pinot noir grapes growing in the Sta. Rita Hills

The always popular Wine and Fire returns to the Sta. Rita Hills Friday through Sunday, Aug. 15, 16 and 17, with a Paulee-style celebration of wine and food Friday at the historic Sanford Barn, high above the historic Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, as well as a seminar, grand tasting Saturday evening at La Purisima Mission and special tastings and events hosted by members of the Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.

The seminar is already sold out, but some tickets remain available for both Friday’s barn dinner and the grand tasting, Barbara Satterfield, SRHWGA executive director, said Thursday.

Friday’s attendees are welcome to bring a bottle of favorite wine to share on the collective wine table, or enjoy the library, large format and sparkling choices from participating member winemakers.

Mark Cargasacchi of Jalama Wines will pour his 2011 “Carg” Pinot Noir, and the 2011 Chardonnay from Quasi Santo Vineyard, produced under his second label, Joseph Blair, both Friday and Saturday.

New West Catering will prepare fire-grilled pizzas for Friday’s event.

Saturday morning’s seminar, “The Dirty Truth,” is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fiddlestix Vineyard on Santa Rosa Road.

The two-hour seminar will be led by Josh Raynolds of Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, and will feature Santa Barbara County’s viticulturist extraordinaire, Jeff Newton of Coastal Vineyard Care Associates. Newton, who with his team manages hundreds of acres of vineyards throughout Santa Barbara County, will discuss various farming practices for vineyards, among them sustainable, organic and biodynamic.

“In theory, participants will be able to “taste” the different farming practices,” said winemaker Jake Lindley, one of the panelists and the winemaker and co-owner with his wife, Frankie, of Lindley Wines.

Panelists include Greg Brewer, Brewer-Clifton; Wes Hagen, Clos Pepe; Joey Gummere, Transcendence; Kathy Joseph, Fiddlehead Cellars; Dan Kessler, Kessler-Haak; Aaron Walker, Pali Wine Co.; Lindley; and Mark Horvath, Crawford Family Wines.

This will be Lindley’s second year pouring wine at Wine and Fire; last year’s event was one of the first times he and Frankie showed their wines during a public tasting.

“Last year, I poured my first vintage ever — my baby, the 2011 pinot noir — and people were saying, ‘this wine is so good’,” Lindley told me Thursday.

“This year, the people who found us last year are pinging us ahead of time to ask what we’ll be pouring at this year’s Wine and Fire.”

The Lindleys are down to less than five cases of the 2011 pinot noir, and “I hope to sell through that during Wine and Fire,” he noted.

In addition to the 2011, Lindley plans to pour his 2012 pinot noir, also from La Lomita Vineyard, as well as the 2012 Viognier.

During the seminar, winemakers and sommeliers will team to lead participants through a blind tasting of various Sta. Rita Hills wines.

Lunch will be catered by Buellton’s Hitching Post II restaurant.

Saturday evening’s Grand Tasting will once again be held at the rustic La Purisima Mission near Lompoc. More than 40 wineries and winemakers will pour alongside local chefs, whose grilling skills are the “fire” in Wine and Fire.

Chefs and restaurants include Avant, Babe Farms, Campbell Farms, Central Coast Specialty Foods, Homegrown Cowboy, J & D Stone Oven Pizza, The Hitching Post II, Los Amigos BBQ, Succulent Cafe and Sweet Creations.

The SRHWGA is comprised of 52 winemakers or growers who produce wine from grapes grown in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA.

For more information, ticket sales and special events scheduled throughout the weekend, visit www.staritahills.com, call Satterfield at (805) 570-0741, or e-mail info@staritahills.com

Copyright Central Coast Wine Press