Taste, Sip and Enjoy | Food, Wine and Travel

Wine and Fire Reaches New Heights

Wine and Fire Reaches New Heights

August 18th to 20th was our sixth year attending Wine and Fire in the Sta. Rita Hills. We saw the bar raised to new heights by Barbara Satterfield, Executive Director of the Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance, and her team.   They put together new locations and unique approaches to wine we had not seen at past events.



The weekend began with the Barn Party at Dierberg.


We had not been there since the tasting room was transformed into a welcoming and spacious space with multiple areas for pouring wine…..


…….and intimate special events.


Multiple wineries were represented inside, but our first visit was at Sanford Winery.


We went on to discover a new winery, Peake Ranch, which is owned by John and Gillian Wagner.  Their grapes are sourced from the Peake Ranch Vineyard, John Sebastiano Vineyard and Sierra Madre Vineyard.  After tasting their current, highly rated wines, and with Paul Lato as their winemaker, we feel it is certainly a winery to put on your radar.


Outside, wineries surrounded the seating area……….


and, on the patio, we were serenaded by the T-Bone Ramblers.


It was outdoors we discovered another new winery, Spear Vineyards.   A life-long dream of owning a winery has finally been realized for Ofer Shepher.  At present he is working within the footprint of a 1930 barn which will be turned into a state of the art winey.  We look forward to visiting soon.


Of course, where there is wine, there is cheese.  Central Coast Specialty Foods was able to fill the bill in a grand style.



We had been looking forward to Bello Forno and their terrific pizzas.  Tonight they gave us some very exciting news.  They have expanded their catering business into a stationary restaurant!  Pizzaria Bello Forno is open at 119 W. Clark Avenue in Orcutt. Another spot we will visit soon!




The evening was outstanding, but another full day of Wine and Fire was a little over twelve hours away.  It was time for a good night’s sleep.

A beautiful Saturday morning arrived and we were on the road by 9:30 AM  and drinking bubbly by 10 AM.  The Santa Rosa Road Vineyards: Focused Tasting was held at El Jabali Vineyard.

We were greeted by a bubbly reception.  A number of wineries had already popped their corks.  The one exception was Kathy Joseph of Fiddlehead Cellars.


She was having the cork of the 2008 Seven Hundred Twenty Eight Bubbles removed with a saber.   There were only 18 cases of this Bubbles experiment produced.  A mistake took place and the corks were pushed in too far making it very tricky to remove. Therefore, the saber became the device of choice at Fiddlehead parties.



Norm Yost, winemaker at Flying Goat Cellars, was seeing smiles erupt as he poured his 2014 Brut Cuvee Goat Bubbles.


You will smile too, if you give his Bubbles a try!


Soon I saw Matt Kettmann, of the Wine Enthusiast, taking the stage to introduce his Focused Tasting  He was about to take us on a tour of the 13 Santa Rosa Road vineyards.  He began with Bentrock at mile marker 3.00 and ended with Sanford & Benedict Vineyard at mile marker 7.44.  Each vineyard had a Vineyard Guide usually the owner and/or winemaker,  who discussed their history, acres, elevation, soil, years and varietal and clones planted.


After this wealth of information we wanted to taste the subjects of the mile marker discussion.  Two sides of the tent had mile marker banners flying in the wind.  At each marker we could taste, and attempt to identify, the characteristics that had just been discussed.



Throughout the seminar I watched Frank Ostini, of the Hitching Post II, firing up the BBQ.


Somebody had been very busy making salsa.


We had our wine, so it was time to add some of Frank’s delicious food to the mix.


It didn’t take long to fill our plates.


After the lunch and wine, we had a brief rest before heading to La Purisima Mission Grand Tasting. Walking into the Mission we found not everyone was having a rest.  This puppy had been on a hike and was thrilled to see his favorite water fountain.


At the beginning of the Mission gardens we stopped as our tickets were being checked.  We could see the silent auction was set up and waiting for customers as soon as the entry time arrived .


We soon made our way down the path and, under the trees.  The winemakers were already answering questions and pouring more of their wines.




This boxed presentation would make an exciting wine gift.


Scattered among the wines we found Central Coast BBQ cuisine from Babe Farms, Ballard Inn, Tollhouse BBQ and many more.  Los Amigos BBQ had a variety of meats.


Hitching Post II offered thick beef sliders.


There was delicious clam chowder and beans from one of my favorites, Homegrown Cowboy.


The end to a perfect day was tasting at a very popular stop.  Just 2 Sweet Candy Creations by Annette Hernandez caught the eye of many who could not sample, “just one.”  Her sweet treats were fabulous! She has a shop at 705 East Ocean in Lompoc which should be on your “to visit” list when in the area.



With the hard work, and superior organizational skills, of Barbara Satterfield and her sidekick, Rosemary Garcia-Alverez, the weekend was a stunning success!


No doubt the wheels are already turning in an attempt to make Wine and Fire 2018 eclipse very high standards of previous years.  I am sure the results will be positive. We all await the release of the 2018 event schedule.

For further information:

Bello Forno; Central Coast Specialty Food; Dierbery VineyardFiddlehead Cellars; Flying Goat Cellars; Hitching Post II; Just 2 Sweet Candy Creations; La Purisima Mission; Matt Kettmann; Pali Wine CO.; Peake Ranch Winery; Sanford Winery and VindyardsSpear Vineyards and Winery; Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance; Transcendence Wines





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