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A Wine-lover’s Food Festival Survival Kit

Grab your favorite reusable spork, a travel-size bottle of Wine Away, and plenty of SPF, people! Summer can only mean one thing in Paso Robles Wine Country: The arrival of wine, beer, and food festivals galore! This week, we show you how to enjoy the munchies, remember your favorite wines for later, and avoid the pitfalls (like trying to eat every single sample that comes your way). Breathe easy. We leave no food foodie behind!

What was that wine again?!

Perhaps you fell in love with Brecon Estate’s wonderfully crisp and aromatic 2014 Albarino at the winery’s recent Albarino Summit, but somewhere between the panel discussion and lunch, you plumb forgot the vintage. Don’t beat yourself up; it Brecon Estate Buy the Winecould happen to anyone. You simply tried too many wines in a short period of time. A week later, will you remember to purchase this exceptional bottle or serve it alongside those swordfish tacos you’ve been dreaming about? I think not. Here’s the deal. You must record
what wines you adore, or you will find yourself scratching your head and kicking yourself at a later date. A quick, easy way is to snap and save a pic of the wine’s label on your smartphone. But for serious note taking, unlocking your screen, opening the notes app and typing on those teeny tiny keys (especially in full sunlight and with a full tray of food) can be more than a hassle. Instead, invest in a quality notebook and commit to writing down your favorite wines immediately after sipping. Date each notebook, so you know just when and where you tried that unforgettable bottle. The next time you’re hosting a dinner party or get together, you’ll be glad you did!

Cleanliness is key!

Dubost Buy the WineThere’s one little issue no one really talks about when it comes to food festivals. Things can get a bit…ahem..messy. We’re not talking about the food itself; we’re talking about you, dear reader. Chances are you haven’t seen a mirror in the past two hours, and your hands, face, and even your shirt could use a little TLC (that last bite of mac and cheese was so worth it). The next time you’re sipping a delicious glass of Dubost Ranch 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon blended with 10 percent Syrah and a whole lotta bold, dark red goodness, have no fear. Reach for a Wine Wipe, which—when swiped across your pearly whites and lips—erases all traces of unsightly purple. Clothing stains from barbecue sauce, pinot noir, or other tasty offenders can be tackled with a store-bought stain-fighting pen or travel-sized bottle of Wine Away, which, if you ask me, should be passed out at such events like water or any other necessity.

Go ahead and connect

That’s the point, isn’t it? So, you thought you’d stop by the Écluse Wines booth and you ended up never leaving. You were just enjoying yourself tooEcluse Buy the Wine much and having a grand old time chatting with friendly owners Steve and Pam Lock about their adventures in France. That’s great! While you’re lingering over a refreshing taste of 2014 Prelude Rhone style blend (that keeps getting filled and refilled), be sure to make a lasting connection that keeps on giving. See, wine and food festivals offer incredible opportunities to learn first-hand about the wine club, culture of the tasting room, and owners. Go ahead and take full advantage of this fact, although you should be careful not to hold up the line if it is exceptionally long. Pick up a handful of brochures to bring back to your friends and family (the next time you’re planning a wine tasting excursion, you’ll have a quick reference point). Tip: Share a bit about yourself with the other folks tasting at the booth. Really like the couple in line behind you? You know what they say: strangers are just wine tasting friends you haven’t met yet. Pack a stack of business cards.

Take stock

The very nature of food festivals is all about variety and abundance right? There’s so much to do see, eat, drink, smell, and…well…digest. Do yourself a favor and set your iPhone alarm for a consecutive alarm every 45 minutes to an hour. When the alarm buzzes, that means it’s time to re-set and rejuvenate. Grab a bottle of water, plop down in a shady spot and take in what you’ve just experienced. It can feel a bit like a whirlwind, right? Soak in the scenery and take stock of how you’re feeling (stuffed? Bloated? Energized? Buzzed? Dehydrated?) Now is the time to jot down a few notes in your notebook, mist your face with some invigorating elixir, and rub your hands with a bit of hand sanitizer or a wet nap. Other essentials include: A lightweight blanket for sitting on, Band-Aids for pesky blisters that can arise with lots of walking, a small tube of sunscreen for reapplication, compact mirror to check for food in your teeth, chapstick, floss, and breath mints. Sorry to be harsh, but your breath is probably really something else right about now!

Let someone else do the driving!Drive805_Logo

You’ve heard it before, but I will say it till the cows come home. Plan to make a plan. That means designating a driver before you even purchase your tickets to that upcoming festival. Maybe your friend is more into the food and not the wine aspect? Or perhaps your teenage nephew is dying to take advantage of his new driving privileges? Does your husband love beer, but you could take it or leave it? Maybe you’re the best candidate! Be creative, and don’t forget you can simply hire a driver to keep things ultra simple. Don’t get stuck with pricy Uber or Lyft fees during a popular event (rates increase as demand does). Tip: Call on Drive 805—they’re happy to pick you up!


This blog was written by Hayley Thomas, food and wine writer for New Times and You can reach her at [email protected].



Get home safe from your winery visits and parties with some of the best and most knowledgable drivers in the business! Drive805 is your best choice for winery transportation on the Central Coast. Find out more at


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Adelaide InnThe Adelaide Inn is an iconic, locally owned hotel known for its friendly staff and lush landscaping. With spacious rooms and a convenient location close to highway 101 and the event center – home of the California Mid-State Fair – this hotel is a great choice for most travelers.

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