As we head into the spring festival season, it seems like you can't throw a bean bag in Bakersfield without hitting a cornhole platform at a beer event.
While we've still got plenty of those on the calendar, there's a new one for our local oenophiles: the Premier Central Coast Wine & Beer Fest.
"There's never a good wine festival in Bakersfield. They're always beer-oriented," said Tahlia Fischer, a local wine distributor. "We’ve lost sight of wine, but there are so many wine drinkers here."
Along with with Bakersfield Friends of Wine, Fischer is organizing the event taking place April 28 at Sonder. The festival will feature a variety of wineries from Paso Robles and the Central Coast as well as local and coastal breweries and small bites served by the restaurant.
Wineries include Tlo Wines, Justin Vineyards, Lapis Luna, Bodega de Edgar, Wrath Winery, Ledge Winery, Primitive, ONX, Sans Liege, Groundwork, Dilecta, Ledge Winery and J. Lohr. Imbibe Wine & Spirits Merchant will also pour some of the best Central Coast wines it sells.
Breweries include Temblor Brewing Co., Firestone Walker, Bodega de Edgar Cider, Jean-Marie Cider, Barrel House, Full Circle, SLO Brew and Figueroa Mountain.
Those who want to sample the most unique selections can opt for the VIP ticket ($69), which includes early admission from 10 a.m. to noon (general admission opens at noon) and access to special or limited-release libations.
Fischer said, "I'm requiring everyone, beer and wine, to offer something from their library or wine club, something that people aren't familiar with, a limited or new release."
During the rest of the day, the participants will be offering what they want to showcase, and plenty of those will be fresh for many local wine lovers.
"A lot of the small wineries you can't find in town. They're not distributed here. It will be something really special."
She also is aiming for the winemakers or owners to be the ones pouring and discussing the selections.
"Then there's a lot more passion behind the table than a volunteer talking about it with a sign of what they’re pouring."
There will also be live music with Kaleb Taber performing during the VIP portion and Lonely Avenue later in the afternoon.
In addition to wine, Fischer's passions extend to animal rescue, and she found a way for the event to shine a light on All Seated in a Barn, the group she helped found to save horses and donkeys from slaughter.
"Everyone will bring something special, a wine, T-shirt, hat anything they want to bring to be raffled," she said of the wineries and breweries. "Every 15 to 20 minutes, there will be a raffle for the nonprofit."
Raffle tickets will be sold seven for $5.
The event runs from noon to 3 p.m. (with 10 a.m. to noon for VIPs) in the patio and parking lot of Sonder, 9500 Brimhall Road #100.
Admission is $69 for VIP, limited to 50, with about half sold as of press time. General admission is $55 with a cap of 200. Tickets are available at tahliamariefischer.com/events/premier-central-coast-wine-beer-festival.
Fischer is optimistic the event will sell out in the next few weeks and urges wine lovers not to delay.
"If they want to have a good time and they like wine, they'll be there."
Into the Wild for wine event at CALM
Also on tap for wine lovers in Bakersfield is the return of Wine in the Wild on June 6. This is the second year for the event at California Living Museum, offering an early evening of wine, beer and bites from local restaurants.
Already confirmed for the festivities are food vendors Chef's Choice Noodle Bar, Eureka! Burger, P.F. Chang's and Kona Ice, and beverage providers Kern River Brewing, Great Change Brewing, Temblor Brewing Co. and Advance Beverage.
Guests can also explore CALM's beautiful 14-acre grounds, view animals in their habitats as well as ambassador animals with docents, sip champagne during a ride on the Central California Children's Railroad and enjoy a variety of musical acts. There will also be a silent auction featuring a variety of experiences and items including original animal art painted by CALM resident animals.
Funds raised through Wine in the Wild will support wildlife rehabilitation efforts as well as fund needed renovations to current exhibits including the Raptor Round, Reptile House and Mammal Round.
The event takes place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 6 at CALM, 10500 Alfred Harrell Highway. Pre-sale tickets are $67, which includes unlimited food and beverage tastings, and available now through May 1 at calmzoo.org/experiences/wine-in-the-wild, at CALM or by calling 872-2256.