Eighty-one-thousand vines grow across Malibu Family Wines' 90-acre vineyard, producing eight varietals in total, including cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, and malbec. Once bottled and corked, many of the vineyard's Semler and Saddlerock wines end up at the tasting room in Los Olivos, a homey space with indoor and outdoor seating, occasional live music, and a large wooden tasting bar where customers are free to smell, sample, and swirl away. Those who enjoy the wines can rejoice knowing there's more where that came from—the vineyard expects to increase its vine total to 100,000 in the near future.
At tastings held daily from June to August, Jaffurs Wine Cellars tempts oenophilic tongues with five Rhône varietals. Growers in the fertile Santa Ynez, Santa Rita, and Santa Maria wine regions carefully cultivate the future intoxicants on small lots, observing high farming standards and ancient Bacchanalian rituals. With a limited production of about 5,000 cases each year, Jaffurs' winemakers can thoroughly inspect each individual grape, screening out overripe fruitlets and anthropomorphized raisins. The results are red and petite syrahs, grenache, and mourvedre wines that play pleasantly atonal chords of fruit across the palate, an aromatic white viognier with floral and peach intonations, and other varieties that croon seductive verses to receptive taste buds. A private tasting appointment, necessary for groups of more than six, may incur an additional fee ($5/person).
Bernard's Wine Gallery, a wine store with thousands of old and rare fine wines for sale, welcomes both wine neophytes and grizzled oenophiles to sip from its fine vat of liquefied vinefruits. Bernard Rosenson, who owns Bernard's Wine Gallery with his wife Cynthia, also owns Coquelicot Estate Vineyard, the organically farmed vineyard featured in this tasting. Six Coquelicot wines preside in the elegant tasting room, including the 2006 Bordeaux Blend, which won a gold medal at the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle wine competition for its dark, complex taste. Guests will swirl and sip in luxury, blissfully whisking away memories of Twilight Zone episodes where clubs of giant wine bottles attended a human tasting. Tastings run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
The combined artistry of nine generations of Czech winemakers built Herzog Wine Cellars. The Herzog family's rich wine-making history dates back to late 19th-century Czechoslovakia, when Philip Herzog plied his craft for the Austro-Hungarian court. Legend has it that Emperor Franz-Josef loved Philip's wines so much, he made him a baron—a title commemorated in the winery's current Baron Herzog label.
Inside a modern facility nestled within the strawberry fields and farms of Oxnard, California, head winemaker Joe Hurliman crafts shimmering whites and dusky reds in the kosher Jewish and California traditions. Hurliman only uses grapes sourced from California vineyards, blending different varieties to conjure new tastes and aromas. This mixing and fermenting transforms bushels into the cellar's two lines of wine, which include special reserve and late-harvest bottles. Outside this laboratory, cathedral-like ceilings hang over a granite tasting bar where, during tastings, staff teach visitors how to identify delicate flavors and ensure no one replaced the real wine with boring grape juice. The grounds also feature private tasting rooms, a boutique, and an outdoor terrace.
Inside the winery's Zagat-praised restaurant, Tierra Sur, executive chef Gabriel Garcia crafts kosher gourmet meals. Using seasonal and locally sourced produce from area farms, he mingles American flavors into artfully presented entrees and small plates. An outdoor wood-fired grill sears aged rib-eye steaks, simmers cuts of wild salmon, and puts old snowmen out to pasture.
At the Gourmet Food Truck and Bocce Ball Festival, guests can belly up to 10 gourmet food trucks and sample toothsome fare in between stomping musical performances and competitive games of bocce ball duked out on 12 professional-grade courts. 30 minutes of court rental is covered with admission (teams can sign up at the festival), and 24 teams of four have the option to compete in the single-elimination tournament, vying for the $500 prize and the chance for a photo op with the nation's oldest bocce ball. Each team must pay a fee of $125 for entry into the tournament and the VIP lounge. Elsewhere at the jubilee, the grounds of Limoneira Ranch are speckled with meals on wheels, including sushi truck Temaki and Lickety Split's, a converted yellow school bus that vends frozen yogurt, iced coffee, and chocolate-coated detention slips. Although this Groupon does not cover food or drinks, festival-goers can purchase succulent, Texas–style smoked tri-tip from the It's In the Sauce BBQ food truck or wash back a frozen pomegranate lemonade from Del's.