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California Winter Wine Classic
updated: Feb 09, 2013, 12:00 PM

By Lauren Bray

I was lucky enough to attend the Winter Wine Classic at Fess Parker a few weeks ago. For those of you who don't know of this event, I like to describe it as a mini Disneyland for adult winos. The full adult Disneyland is on the beach this summer as the California Wine Festival, but I enjoy the preview. It's inside, less people, and a little classier due to the lack of tourists and drunken Westmont students. Let's be honest, most Gauchos would rather spend $100 on a few cheap kegs than a wine tasting ticket.

The event started at 6:30 and the coordinators were very strict about not letting anyone in early. As soon as the doors opened, people practically skipped in like it was their 21st birthday again. There were over 30 wine vendors and a variety of food samples to try within 2 ½ hours. Challenge accepted.

I scanned the vendors, pretending to read the fancy and slightly pretentious pamphlet, looking for the coolest labels and the heavy-handed pourers. The musical duo helped set the competitive mood.

Check out some of my favorites:

Melville 2010 Pinot Noir from Santa Rita Hills.

Fritz Undeground Winery. 2009 Estate Reserve Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley

One of my favorite local wines, Qupe. 2008 Bien Nacido Hillside Syrah

Lone Madrone from Paso Robles. 2007 Bollo (Nebbiolo)

Honig Vineyards & Winery from Napa created some funny postcards, and their wine wasn't too bad either.

Wine wouldn't be complete without tasty treats to keep your buzz going. I circled the food stands like I was waiting for a fresh sample at Costco.

I had not heard of Georgia's Smokehouse, but I'm sure glad I stopped to check them out. I'm usually not a pork belly fan, however I couldn't help but grab 3 more samples for my "friends." The food was great and it's a new local food truck. Can it get any better? Maybe if they serve beer. Check them out.

These looked really good but I have a rule about eating random seafood and street meats.

Couldn't resist Ventura's Cupcakes in Wonderland.

My absolute favorite was the mini crab cake from Fess Parker's own restaurant, Rodney's Steakhouse. Mango, Red Onion and Cilantro Salad, Chili Dipping Sauce, good god it was delicious.

Casablanca also had a sample stand. Their ceviche wasn't too bad actually, but we have our differences, (click here to see why).

I accepted the 30 wine vendor tasting challenge, that I created myself that evening, and only made it to about 19... I think. It was a successful event and I'm looking forward to the sloppier summer version with you Edhatters.

For more information about these local wine events, check out the California Wine Festival website.


Lauren is a member of the Dedicated Staff and is currently working on her first novel.


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