Today was a completely different type of day for us here on the Central Coast.  We spent the early morning discussing our  O2 license and distribtion.  I can’t even describe how the laws vary from state to state.  We found out today that in order to ship to our homestate of NJ the compliance law paperwork is about 2 inches thick.  That is a lot of paperwork and legal ease to have to go through and that is only for one state.  Of course, it can’t be easy, and each state pretty much as their own paperwork, fees, and nuances in their laws. I have to question our sanity of trying to enter this industry!  But we do love it so much.  It is amazing, that in this time and age, each state has different paperwork that needs to be filed.  It would be so much easier to  have a single form that works for all states.  Are we not a single nation?  We have a federal law about alcohol, why can’t we have a federal paperwork to sell alcohol?  I know we are not alone in this thought!  It would be so much easier for the producer and for all the consumers out there!
After our bout with the federal laws, we began our two hour drive down to Santa Barbara.  Today was the California Wine Festival.  Technically, the festival was July 17-19, but the tasting on the beach was today.
The festival had a few new features this year.  The VIP Pavillion has expanded, there is a “Cab Collective” Pavillion, there are two new seminars hosted by Lodi Winegrape Commision and Cab Collective that was held at the Fess Parker DoubleTree by Hilton and there was a Free Ride Home sponsered by  They also advertised free wifi within the festival, however, when I tried to connect, my iphone 4S did not find any wifi to connect to.
Today’s beachside wine and food festival was open from 12-4pm.  You need to pay extra to get in at noon.  The “early admittance” starts at noon, while general admission begins at 1:00pm.  From their pamphlet, “Experience the quintessential California wine tasting experience-wine, food,sea,sand and music-at the beach in Santa Barbara.  Palms sway in the ocean breeze while hundreeds of premium California wines await your glass. Gourmet appetizers, artisan cheeses, and exotic treats are your for the tasting and the beat of the energetic Reggae/Soca band Upstream provides the perfect sound track to your day.”
We purchased the early admission.  In our opinion, it is worth the additional money($25).  There are far less people in the area, so you can move around and taste what you like without fighting the entire crowd.  Some people said they paid the additional money so they can get to the food suppliers without a line.  That was not our priority, but I can see how the lines increased as the day progressed.  There is definitely more wine and beer than food. We waited on a line(at 2pm) for Gelson’s Market for 15 minutes to get cheese and apple slices.  As we walked around the festival, it was obvious that the food suppliers lines increased as the people consumed more alcohol. (proving the direct relationship between alcohol consumed and food desire)
We arrived at noon and got through the gates at about 12:15.  We immediately went towards the back.  We followed the same philosophy of the GSP and the NJT. The fast lanes are towards the left, so most people go there, if you go to the right, the lines are less.  (I’m not sure anyone will understand that unless you are in Jersey and have to deal with our roads)  The basic concept is most people want immediate gratification.  These people will walk through the gate and go to the first booth.  Who knows if we were right, but those of you from Jersey who are reading this will totally get it!
The views were beautiful at the festival. 

 Of all the wineries we visited, I have to give the most credit for “marketing” to Graveyard Vineyards. They packed their wine in a little coffin. I had some serious questions for them since I am a taphophile. (cemetery enthusiast). Sadly, the person who was pouring was not  into the concept as I was. I told the story of my uncle who had a home with a cemetery up the hill from his property. At the base of the hill, he had a fig tree. It is a little morose, but sorry, those figs grew larger than any fig I have ever seen. (water runs downhill) He wasn’t too interested in my story, but I thought it was relevant.

For those who know me, I have to admit I have a problem ( in addition to loving wine and needing to take pictures with animals). Wherever I go, if there is someone in a costume. I must get a picture of them. When my girlfriends and I go to Disney World, I make them wait in the long lines with all the little kids to get my picture taken with Winnie- the-Pooh, Chip and Dale, Goofy, etc. I don’t need to get pictures taken with the people, like Cinderella, just the characters. Well, there was a character there. I have no idea why he was there. I don’t know if he was representing some winery or food tent or just someone enjoying the festival, but I needed a picture. 

As we walked around and sampled, we had to stop and check out this one concept. It was a blender on the back if a bike.  You add the fruit and juice and pedal away and soon your blended drink is ready.   It was funny to watch, but there was some technical difficulty- maybe this guy just didn’t have enough pedal speed, but he was having a good time. 

As normal, when there is alcohol, there are people who may have over indulged.  Man surfing to reggae was intriguing.  He really was having a good time.  As an overall review, I would say this was a good day.  We were able to sample wines from a broad area of California, including Lodi, Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles and Santa Barabara all in one place. There are booths that have water and there are pizza and pasta samples in addition to cheese to balance the wine.  If you are in town during this festival, I would recommend coming.  
On our drive back to the hotel, it actually started raining.

I thought maybe we brought a little of our east coast water to the west coast.  Unfortunately, it didn’t accumulate to much. If only we could bring more of our water! One can only hope. 


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