This past weekend I got to check out a really fun event in San Juan Capistrano called OC Wine Fest! As a wine lover, I was excited to try several new wines all in one location. This was the first time this event has been held in Orange County and even with the rain, A Stone's Throw Winery was the perfect setting for a few days of sipping and enjoying time with friends. The weather on Saturday (the day I went) was the pits! It wasn't exactly raining, but it was a fine mist that umbrellas couldn't even protect you from. Aside from the food trucks and restrooms, the OC Wine Fest was held under tents with Astroturf on the ground making it completely comfortable and dry. I could only imagine that the event would have that much better in the sunshine (and from photos I saw on Instagram, Sunday was gorgeous!) A Stone's Throw Winery had total Orange County vibes with orange trees surrounding the event area. I definitely want to go back to their tasting room and explore the grounds more!
OC Wine Fest Wine Tasting Event
General admission to the OC Wine Fest gave you access to all the lifestyle exhibitors, all the lounge areas, and over 15 wineries. You also got a BPA free, recyclable wine glass from Tossware to use throughout the event. An upgraded All Access ticket gave you all of the things mentioned plus access to another 15 boutique wineries! In my opinion, All Access is a must! About half of these boutique wineries were local to Orange County. This is a great way to try all the wines in one place and narrow down which wineries you want to visit in person.
General admission tickets were $70 per person and All Access tickets were $100. In my opinion, you definitely want to get the All Access! I've been to only a few of the Orange County based wineries but this was such a great way to learn about them in more detail. Each winery brought 2-3 of their favorite wines to sample and it was awesome to get to meet the wine makers in person and learn more about their stories. This Boutique Winery space, enclosed by temporary fencing, was pretty small so I recommend going early so you have more space and time to chat as you sip. It got pretty crowded as the morning went on. There is plenty of space in the tent to hang out with your friends, but the wine tasting area was rather small. I'm a white wine lover but was really surprised to find that I really liked several of the reds I tried. The Posse 2015 Red Blend from Cowboy Canyon was a favorite, as was the 2015 Reserve Bentrock Vineyard Pinot Noir from Bellante Family Winery. Both were full of flavor and absolutely delicious! Another stand out was Color Wine, based in Newport Beach. Although they don't have a tasting room of their own, you can find them served in several restaurants in Newport. Their bottles are fun and each is hand dipped in colorful wax. Such a cute touch!). The rose, although a touch sweet (but in a nice way – not the coat your tongue in sugar kind of way), tasted of watermelon Jolly Rancher. YUM! This would be a perfect summer wine for sipping with friends (probably while listening to this Rap and Rose playlist…). The Chardonnay is also delicious and not overly oaky which I prefer. But not all the wines were made locally, I fell in love with this French rose that will soon be carried at many of our local grocery stores. It was crisp and lovely and the bottle couldn't be prettier. This Fleurs de Prairie will make a great gift bottle to give to friends. And I re-fell in love with Josh Cellars Sauvignon Blanc. The sweet, flowery notes of orange blossom were so perfect for spring! OC Wine Fest also had several craft brews on hand as well as vodka and cider. This event is one that you should give yourself plenty of time to get through. Although the area seemed kind of small, you could easily spend hours there enjoying the afternoon with friends and sampling everything. In the main tent, Peroni had a cute little lounge area, complete with Bocce court. In the other tent, there were several more tables and a DJ to keep things fun and upbeat. Several food trucks were on hand to make sure that all the attendees had plenty of dining options. Food was not included in the price of admission but the food truck that I ate at accepted cards making it really easy to purchase. The lifestyle exhibitor tent had a variety of different types of products. Some were wine-themed but you could also find jewelry, candles and even an event coordinator.
Parking was easy with two lots located at nearby schools ($5) with shuttles going back and forth between the event space and the lots.The OC Wine Fest was really fun. Grab a group of friends and plan on spending the day! Make sure you Uber so that everyone can enjoy and spend a fun afternoon together. I'm looking forward to next years event and checking out some of the local wineries in the mean time! Head to the OCWineFest.com for all the details of this fun event!
I was given two tickets to the OC Wine Fest. All opinions are my own!
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