The California Wine Festival – Monterey Peninsula celebrates the Golden State's vintners by allowing attendees to sample a selection of more than 250 Californian wines. The event includes winemakers and representatives from 53 wineries—including Grgich Hills Estate, Bernardus Winery, and Paraiso Vineyards—as well as booths with artisan cheeses, fresh fruits, and barbecued meats from local, gourmet restaurateurs. Spread across two afternoons and evenings, the festival encourages guests to revisit their favorite wineries or discover obscure gems at a new booth or through a trap door connected to a hidden cellar. The California Wine Festival – Monterey Peninsula aims to support the community by donating 100% of the net proceeds from the Silent Auction to The Food Bank for Monterey County, which distributes food and provides antihunger education throughout the region.
With an adventurous spirit and love for California's central coast, Captain Jack began his tour company to give him a platform to share his passion with others. After gathering the best team of tour guides he could find, each exhibiting the same enthusiasm and upbeat outlook he has, he devised tours that got people outdoors to experience physical activities such as kayaking the sea caves at Channel Islands or paragliding over Santa Barbara's verdant, rolling landscape. The tour ideas he has in mind know no bounds, involving everything from wine-tasting tours and glider rides to whale watching, sailing, and fishing the deep sea for the sneakers that fell out of Davy Jones's locker. To ensure safe and memorable outings, Captain Jack backs up his guides and tours with required licenses, insurance, and years of experience in various backgrounds.
Having just completed his studies in winemaking at UC Davis, Mark Cummins headed to San Luis Obispo in a 1970 Volkswagen bus, his belongings wedged into the back. Originally intending to pursue a career in music, his plans changed after taking a grape-crushing job at an area winery and meeting a girl named Andi, who later became his wife.
Today, Mark and Andi share their love of wine with others as the winemakers, tasting guides, and operators of Drake Wines. Since 2008, they’ve produced limited bottlings of small-batch varietal wines culled from designated blocks at local vineyards. They press and age these wines themselves, using grapes from each vineyard's pinot noir, chardonnay, and viognier plantings.
In their downtown tasting room, Mark and Andi, often joined by their two sons, guide guests through tastings of their wines. They pour libations into conventional wine glasses, growlers, or old-fashioned test tubes amid eye-pleasing decor that includes a wood-paneled and painted bar and modern, star-shaped chandeliers. Regular performances by area musicians accompany tastings, with Mark sometimes taking the stage himself to play guitar.
Captain Fred Hershman, a decorated veteran with more than 40 years of boating experience, founded Celebration Cruises Santa Barbara with his wife Kathy in 2003 with the hopes of sharing his love of the water with others. In the years since the business's founding, he has whisked more than 250,000 passengers away on all manner of aquatic adventures. Each day, he and his trusty crew set sail on a host of one-hour themed cruises, ranging from wine-tasting sojourns to whale-watching outings that enable guests to put their conversational whale song to practice.
For more than 20 years, Channel Islands Outfitters's Paddle Sports Center has helped humans commune with nature through their guided expeditions, courses, and gear rentals. Their expert guides lead kayakers and hikers to California destinations such as Anacapa Island and Santa Cruz Island, where explorers enjoy picturesque scenery and native wildlife that haven’t yet learned about sarcasm. The outdoor fitness center also offers instruction for outdoorsmen ranging from courses that cultivate Wilderness First Responders to lessons in the art of standup paddleboarding. Meanwhile, their surf shop doles out aquatic equipment such as surfboards, paddleboards, and an array of kayaks that are available in single-seat or tandem models.