Last week we attended one of our favorite wine events, Wine in the Pines in Pine Mountain Club about an hour from Santa Clarita. Why is it a favorite? The venue is incomparable – you are in a mountain community, filled with flora and fauna, and so unlike our little Awesometown. Also, the event is spread out enough that the lines aren’t very long before you can visit with a favorite winery, and usually, the winemaker. (Don’t have time to read my thrilling prose? Check out the event in just 2 minutes via this You Tube slideshow. It was National Rose Day on June 10, so I did take more than my share of Rose photos!)

Just Some Favorites

Michel Ayer, winemaker for namesake winery Workman Ayer, had a new red Rhône blend that served a year of time in the bottle and was released just in time for the event: the 2014 "de facto" Santa Barbara County red wine of 90% Syrah and 10% Grenache. It was outstanding. Under 100 cases produced. His Viognier was getting quite a bit of attention too.

Ted Plemons, partner at CASS Winery, had a great red blend with his famous grinning mug etched onto the bottle. It was mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, with a healthy bit of Mourvedre, and then small percentages of Petit Verdot and Merlot. Look for the 2014 “Vintage Ted” and buy it.

I’ve enjoyed Stephen Hemmert Wines for a few years now, today I tried one of his newest releases: a dry Muscat he’s named “Ella” which is a blend of white Muscat and Viognier grapes.

At Arndt Cellars I looked over the “2017 Medal Pack” list of wines and discovered their killer 2014 Benito Dusi Zinfandel. I had to agree with the judges from the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition: this wine definitely deserved the Gold medal it was awarded.

The first Sake Sommelier I ever met is Yoshi Murakami, and he never fails to impress me with his knowledge. JFC International is lucky to have him on board. Enjoyed sampling several refreshing drinks at his table.

From La Montagne, a 2014 Mourvedre made from Paso Robles was quite good; owner and winemaker Kimberly Smith also makes a Chardonnay, Rose of Pinot Noir and a Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills grapes.

Bowen’s Whiskey, distilled in nearby Bakersfield, at a wine event? Thank you! We love Bowen’s! And with all of the great BBQ on hand it was just the ticket for a short midday break from all that wine.

The unique fruit-forward sparkling wines from Vina Sympatica never fail to please people when they discover the different expressions: Sparkling White, Sparkling Red and Sparkling Violet. (The Violet is my personal favorite.)

The Flying Goat “Bubbles” 2013 Cremant, and they make four different sparkling expressions, was yum-worthy.

Many of the wineries I had already visited with this year, so if I didn’t list them it was only because I’m already a fan (Coruce Vineyards and Winery, Tobin James, Ascension Cellars, Golden Star Vineyards, Frolicking Frog, Ampelos Cellars, Indigne Cellars, Turiya, Vinemark Cellars…)

Shout out to organizers Debbie and Mark Bailey, they work tirelessly to put together these events, and I can hardly wait to go back to the Pines for the 2018 party.

Wineries: Ampelos Cellars, Lompoc Ghetto, Arndt Cellars, Ascension Cellars, Cantara Cellars, Cass Winery, Charles Wine, Enjoy Wine, Fiddlehead Cellars, Frolicking Frog Cellars, Flying Goat, Golden Star Vineyards, Indigene Cellars, JFC International (sake), La Montagne, Madd Bailey's, Midnight Cellars, MMOrganics, Mountain Ranch Winery, Pomar Junction, Ranchita Canyon Vineyard, Sagebrush Annie's, Stephen Hemmert Wines, Tobin James, Turiya, Vina Sympatica Sparkling Wines, Vinemark Cellars, Vinestead, Vista Del Rey, Workman Ayer, Croad Vineyards and Quady Winery. 

Craft Breweries: Wolf Creek, Stella Artois, Temblor Brewing and Firestone. 

Food Vendors: Big Mike's Ragin Bbque, Brazil Hot dogs, La Lena, Madd Bailey's Pub, Basecamp and Café Silva Bella.

Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a "certification in first globally-recognized course" as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com