SLO County in midst of festival season

With festival season in bloom, hundreds of local winery workers and owners are shuttling between various events around the county that offer venues to showcase wines to locals and out-of-town visitors.

“We are in full swing right now,” said Heather Muran, executive director of the San Luis Obispo Vintners Association. Its 22nd annual Roll Out the Barrels weekend begins Thursday evening with food, wine and music in Mission Plaza.

But with a maximum capacity of 600, only those who bought early will get a taste.

“This year, we sold out three weeks before,” Muran said. “I couldn’t even get my friends tickets.”

Passports for special tastings at the association’s member wineries on June 23 and 24 are still being sold, though Muran expects all 1,000 of those to sell as well.

For details, including winemaker dinners planned for June 22, visit

Celebrity chefs will be a main course at Sunset Savor the Central Coast, a food and wine festival that runs from Sept. 27 to 30.

Ted Allen, Aarti Sequeira, Susan Feniger and Rick Moonen are scheduled to offer seminars during the event.

“Culinary travel is a popular activity, especially here in San Luis Obispo County,” said Stacie Jacob, executive director of the county’s Visitors and Conference Bureau, in a news release.

Allen, an author and winner of an Emmy, hosts the Food Network show “Chopped.” Sequeira hosts “Aarti Party,” also on the Food Network.

Mandalay Bay’s Feniger and Moonen have both appeared as contestants on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.”

For details on Savor the Central Coast, visit

Morro Bay’s newest large festival will pair about a dozen wineries with oysters and other delicacies from local chefs.

But it is decidedly not a wine festival, promoters say.

The first Central Coast Oyster Festival runs from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Morro Bay Golf Course.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $28 at the door, with food and beverages sold separately.

The event was conceived by the marketing and sales director for Options Family of Services, Jacqueline Delaney. It benefits the nonprofit’s work for people with disabilities.

Parker Sanpei Creative Communications in San Luis Obispo is overseeing the event’s public relations.

“(Delaney) saw how many different wine events are in the area,” said Chanae Rodriguez, account manager for Parker Sanpei. “She didn’t want to do another wine event.”

The focus is shellfish from providers such as the Morro Bay Oyster Co. and Cayucos Abalone Farm.

There will be a shucking competition and a “Best Oyster of the Central Coast” chef award.

Tap It Brewing Co. of San Luis Obispo will sell its “oyster brew.”

Delaney used to work with large music festivals in Southern California — a sensibility she brought to the Morro Bay event with its lineup of bands and “hippie chic” environment, Rodriguez added.

Wineries from Paso Robles to Santa Ynez will offer their picks — mostly sparkling and white wines — beside a raw oyster bar.

Based on the pace of ticket sales, organizers expect at least 2,000 attendees, Rodriguez said. They hope to hit 3,000 by pitching to tourists in town for the weekend.

For details, see

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