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Sunday, June 21st 2009

2:21 PM

Wine in the Pines

Friday June 12th was Ryan's last official day of preschool. After I picked him up, my mom and I took Ryan to meet up with Joyce and Norm. Ryan spent a quick but fun weekend with them.

The next day, JoAnna and I went to Wine in the Pines, a wine festival in Pine Mountain Village. (This was in the same location the Lilac Festival we went to recently.) I'd never been to a wine fest in the States before (I'd been to a few in Germany). It was so much fun!

We got there a little late because I missed a turn. (JoAnna was driving but I was navigating.) Once we arrived, we were greeted by two bunches of grapes. Okay, men dressed up as bunches of grapes, one green and one purple. As we parked and walked in, the purple bunch said, "Have a grape time!"

At the entrance we got a wrist band, a festive Mardi Gras style necklace, and a wine glass etched with the 2009 Wine in the Pines logo. There were also small plastic plates with a little spot in the corner you could put your glass in. (We didn't get a plate at first, but later someone gave us an extra. However, after a while we figured out the plates kind of just got in the way. I put mine down and forgot about it. I later realized I was just fine without it!)

There were 40 wineries, five chefs, two live bands (one at each end of the fest), as well as various artists and vendors. The mood was mellow, fun, and friendly - and it got friendlier as the fest went on.

The weather was pretty nice. It was partly cloudy, and most of the time it was nice and cool. It got warm when the sun came out though.

JoAnna and I started somewhere in the middle of the fest, tasting one or two wines at each winery booth. We did our best to get to as many of the 40 wineries as possible, but I think the final count was only about 14 or 15. (I took business cards from each one to help keep track.) Many of the wineries were located in Santa Maria. JoAnna and I were thinking we need to move there!

The bathrooms were really nice. They were in trailers, but they were decked out to look really high class. (Unfortunately they did suffer a bit toward the end of the fest, but they started out very clean and were still nice.)

Food was included with the wine tasting, but only in small amounts. That was fine though, because that way we never felt stuffed. It was great having little nibbles now and then between all the wines.

The fest lasted from noon to 4pm, and the time flew right by. Before we knew it, the wineries were packing up, and people were leaving. There was a free performance of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. JoAnna and I wandered over and took a seat, but the music was slow and pretty, which had the effect of lulling us to sleep! We got up and walked around a little more, then had some chips and guacamole at a nearby Mexican restaurant. We walked over to a little ice cream shop for dessert. Yum!

It was such a fun, relaxing afternoon! There's not too much that's better than walking around in the mountains listening to music and drinking wine!

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