Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Celebrating the Harvest



Being a stay-at-home mom means doing a lot of just that: staying at home.

That's why, when the opportunity comes along to get OUT of the house, I tend to jump at it.

Especially if adult beverages will be served.

On Saturday, my little family trekked out to the Rancho Sisquoc Winery for the annual "Celebration of Harvest," sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Vintner's Association. Held in October of each year when the wine grapes are being harvested, this event showcases some of the fabulous wines produced in the Santa Barbara County region.

In other words, adult beverages were served.

Believe it or not, hundreds of people come from miles around to attend this sold-out event. And not all of them know how to hold their liquor. But it did look like a good time was being had by all, even if some of them were laying on the ground.

The event started at 1:00 pm, but unfortunately we didn't arrive until almost 2:00 pm, due to a prior commitment. This was bad planning on our part. My husband, who doesn't drink, had purchased one of the "Designated Driver" tickets, which supposedly would allow him to consume all of the non-alcoholic beverages (read: water) and food that he could in a 4-hour time period.

When we arrived, all of the Designated Driver mugs were already given away. Incidentally, we had no idea that there were going to be Designated Driver mugs until we got there, but once we found out, we sure wanted one. Boy howdy, we wanted one. We got gypped.

Frankly, I was stunned that so many people would show up at a wine tasting claiming to be non-drinkers. My theory, however, is that they bought these tickets just to get in at a lower price, then had their drinker friends sneak them some wine. Kind of like when you're not quite 21, and you have your older friends/siblings/strangers off the street buy you alcohol at the liquor store. Except that that's illegal, and I would never promote an illegal activity.

Anyway, once inside, we were supposed to meet up with my husband's Cousin Carl and his girlfriend. Our grand plan was - you guessed it! - to call them on their cell phone so we could find each other. Not the best plan, considering that we were basically in the middle of nowhere, in between a bunch of hills, which resulted in... no cell phone coverage.

So on to Plan B. Plan B was complicated, as most plans created by my government-employed, engineer husband are: he was going to walk around the grounds and look for his cousin, using only his eyes.

Keep in mind that I said earlier that "hundreds of people" were there. Most of them were wearing hats. And sunglasses.

But here's the complicated part: my job was to stand by a tree - with my daughter in her stroller - and wait for him to come back. Why is this complicated, you ask? Well, first off, there were no wines to taste next to this particular tree. Secondly, the ground was lumpy and wet and too hard to move an overloaded stroller across.

I certainly couldn't leave my daughter while I ran off - even just a few yards - to fill up my glass. Ok, I thought about it, but I restrained myself. I managed to entertain myself by taking pictures of the other people who were having fun.

After what seemed like hours, my husband and his cousin finally showed up. Cousin Carl was wearing a hat and sunglasses like everybody else, so I have no idea how Hubby actually found him. The man has eyes like a hawk.

Cousin Carl and I promptly set off to taste more wines, leaving poor, teetotaling husband to tend to our daughter. I think we dropped him off at the Ballard Inn's booth to try some duck confit, which he seemed to enjoy. We went back and got him later, don't worry.

(Actually, I think he secretly enjoyed chatting with all the women who came over to tell him how cute our daughter is. I'm pretty sure that they were trying to hit on him, since he never wears his wedding ring. You have my permission to razz him about that. )

Despite the fact that I pretend to know a lot more snooty stuff about wine than I really do, I at least know what I like. A few good ones that I tried were the Summerland Winery's 2005 Pinot Noir, Bien Nacido Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley, and a couple of other Pinots Noirs (I failed to write down the vintage) from Margerum Wine Company and Bedford Thompson Winery. Several of these were recommended to me by Cousin Carl, who actually knows something about wine, and who'd had an hour's head start on us.

Also tasty was a fine smoked salmon from Bacchus at the Storybook Inn. Mmmm... salmon.

After a few hours of too much sun and too little food, I unfortunately lost track of what else I had tried. Plus, the little one was getting hungry and tired, so it was time to go home.

We grabbed a couple of baby syrah grape plants that were being given away, said our goodbyes, and packed up the van to leave, with our Designated Driver behind the wheel.

Next time, we'll show up in time to get that mug.

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1 comment:

Clezevra said...

nice. sounds fun can anyone explain y I always run into teachers????