Rockin’ Harvest: SLO Vintners 21st Annual Harvest Celebration

Last week I wrote a little about the SLO Vintners Association, mostly to lay the groundwork for this week’s post about the Association’s Rockin’ Harvest Celebration.

Until Becky Gray, Executive Director of the SLO Vintners Association, came to talk to the Cal Poly Vines to Wines club a couple weeks ago, I had no idea what the Rockin’ Harvest Celebration was. Even when I opted to volunteer at the event, I didn’t really know what I was getting into.

When I showed up at Avila Beach Golf Resort last Saturday morning for my volunteer shift, I discovered what this celebration is all about: wine, food, and fun. I spent my three-hour volunteer shift checking guests into the event, running miscellaneous errands, and handing out plastic plates and the complimentary commemorative SLO Vintners wine glasses given to all guests.

After my shift, I was given a free pass into the event (an $80 admission), so I went to explore. There were two bands playing that day, The Kicks and the Crushtones (a band comprised completely of winemakers!) and, in keeping with the theme of the day, they truly rocked. There were booths for a multitude of wineries and restaurants from SLO County who are part of the Association, including (but not limited to):

Wineries:

Restaurants:

  • Novo Restaurant
  • House of Bread
  • Cracked Crab
  • Cafe Andreini
  • Mee Heng Low Noodle House
  • Gardens of Avila
  • Steamers of Pismo
  • Splash Cafe Artisan Bakery

To add to the fun of the day, many of the restaurant and winery representatives were dressed up as rock stars. Pismo Beach Winery’s pourers were dressed as the Blues Brothers, one was dressed as Joni Mitchell (that’s my best guess, at least) and a few others were dressed as generic ’80s “hair metal” bands. The whole event was decorated with signs displaying lyrics from songs by the Beach Boys, Little Richard, Nirvana, Devo, and more.

Each booth offered a sample of its product, whether it was the crab bisque soup from Cracked Crab, the coffee from Cafe Andreini, or a little taste of the wines being poured by each winery that day.

“It’s a great event. . . It’s a really centralized location for people to get a taste of the wines in the area,” said Tom Greenough, the winemaker at Saucelito Canyon. “It’s also a really great way to encourage people to come to your open house the next day.”

The General Admission ($80) event lasted from 12 to three p.m. In the morning, from 11 a.m. to noon, there was a VIP event. These tickets cost $95 and allowed the holder access to the event ahead of time when restaurants presented a more special array of foods and the wineries poured their reserve wines.

Both types of tickets also gave the holder access to Sunday’s events, which were held at individual wineries. Each winery had an “open house” of sorts, which they encouraged guests to attend after Saturday’s event. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend this part of the event, but a few of my fellow volunteers informed me that each winery presents its own wines and homemade food, along with good music, good friends, and good fun.

Saturday’s event was a great time and everyone I saw and talked to appeared to fully agree. Next year’s event is set for November 2-4, 2012 (which is, conveniently, about a week after my 21st birthday) and I will certainly be volunteering again. If you want to know more about the San Luis Obispo wine region, or simply want a chance to preview many of the wineries all in one place, this is a great event to check out!

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