Taste, Sip and Enjoy | Food, Wine and Travel

Wine at the Lake

Wine at the Lake

Yesterday we made the safari north to the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival.  Held at the Atascadero Lake Park, it is also home of the Charles Paddock Zoo.  It is the zoo whom part of the festival proceeds benefit.  Eighteen years ago community leaders of the city of Atascadero were looking for an event to promote everything in their city.  They felt a “wine tasting” would draw people, as well as, fill hotels and restaurants.  In 1995, with 25 wineries and 500 attendees, they were thrilled to net $3000.   Now the wineries have grown to over 60!  In addition to the wineries, the Festival now has added artists, food and commercial vendors.


Atascadero, in the middle of the Central Coast, can get very hot.   On this official second day of summer it was wise decision, on the part of the organizers, to begin the festivities at four o’clock.    The afternoon cool down was beginning, but our car thermometer still registered the outside temperature of 94 degrees.   As we walked into the park we continued to move into the shade created by the beautiful umbrella of  trees.  A refreshing breeze blew between them adding to our comfort level.


We first discovered the Tackitt Family Vineyards.  Located in Paso Robles we tasted their flagship wine, Gewurztraminer.  The initial planting was from 29 vines brought from Germany by John Thomas.  In addition, they proudly display the EOD Cellars label.  Leon Tackitt, grandson of John Thomas retired from the US Navy after 28 years of service as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal(EOD) Technician.  He has now mastered the blending of grapes and 100% of the profits from this label benefit the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation.


Another winery, Veris Cellars, can be found on the west side of Paso Robles in the Templeton Gap.  Their wines are under the labels Jan Kris, Nova Vita, and Ben Hogan to honor the late golfer.   I understand there is even a driving range at the winery.


On a hot summer day two of their sparkling wine would certainly hit the spot.  The peach and almond flavor would be a treat at your next Sunday Brunch.


A cheer was going up at Moon Stone Cellars for the gold award they had recently won for their Cabernet Sauvignon.  Yes, we also would agree with the gold!  Todd Clift and his dad, Muril, began making wine in their garage in 1998.  Production expanded beyond the garage and today the wines are made from Central Coast grapes and can be sipped in their tasting room in the West Village of Cambria.


Many local artist’s exhibits were side by side with the wine.  What fun to sip a new varietal as we explored local talent!


Certainly a touch of the west was appropriate in this setting.


Various jewelry artisans exhibited their wears.  Compass Rose had some unique bracelets and much more.


Repeat attendees came prepared with chairs and set them up throughout the park.  From older couples to those with children, many were relaxing and enjoying the music of the Mighty Croon Dogs  playing on the Centennial Bandstand.  A wide variety of culinary offerings were also available for purchase from pizza to shrimp cocktail.


Want a break from wine?  A unique feature allowed entrance to the zoo with our  wrist entry band.  That is not something I have found at any other wine festival!

So next year, mark you calendar!   Barbie Butz, Chairwoman of the festival, feels it is a “delightful gathering of friends of the vine, tasting the best wines offered on the Central Coast, displayed in Norman Rockwell setting, in an old-fashioned park, on the edge of a lake. ”  I am sure you will also find friendly folks who are ever so happy to have you discover not only new boutique wines, but also Atascadero.



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  1. Love the write up. And Barbie’s quote at the end caps it, eh? I always expect Opie, Aunt Bee, and Andy to be looking ohah the shenanigans!

  2. Hello Elizabeth, I am glad that you have your website up and running. Great articles! Hope to see you soon! Roberto

    • Thanks! I still need a word press person. There is so much I do not understand.

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