Category Archives: events

The Basics of Wine Tasting

wine tasting basics

The Basics of Wine Tasting

We often get asked to recommend local entertainment & events, outdoor recreational activities, such as hikes, nature walks and kayaking, and most of all local wineries. The wine regions in this county have bloomed in the last decade, and the area itself has made quite a reputation for providing great vintages of wine.
If you consider yourself a novice here are some tips that could help when tasting in San Luis Obispo county:

• At this point in time there are three recognized wine regions or AVA’s (American Viticulture Areas); sometimes they are referred to as appellations (used more in Europe)

• Paso Robles AVA (there are talks about breaking up Paso Robles into 11 smaller viticultural areas)
• Edna Valley AVA

• Arroyo Grande Valley AVA

• To be classified as an AVA a region must show unique growing conditions and be designated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and the U.S. Department of Treasury.

• Paso Robles AVA is mainly concentrated around the West and East side (around highway 46)

• On average Paso Robles is known as a region suitable for bold reds and fuller body whites (higher average temperatures)

• Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande Valley AVAs have a reputation for lighter bodied reds and crisp whites. (cool air and marine conditions keep the temperature on average lower than Paso Robles)

• The label of any given wine can give a lot of information in regards to what you are tasting:

• Is the wine from a larger general regions such as California or is it AVA designate from Paso Robles, Edna Valley or Arroyo Grande Valley? Is it even more specific: estate grown, from a certain part of the estate or even a certain row of grapes on the particular property? (the price of a wine can often correlate to these attributes)

• The vintage: what were the conditions during the ripening process for the vintage you are enjoying? Often tasting room attendants can provide you with such information.

• The varietal or the blend: is it a pure cabernet sauvignon you are enjoying, is it a designated style of blend or is it a contraption the wine maker created? Keep in mind US laws allow for a wine to be at least 75% of a varietal and still be called by the name of that grape. For example you can have a Pinot Noir that is only 75% Pinot Noir and the rest is a blend of Syrah and Grenache. The law allows for the label to say Pinot Noir and all other information need not be disclosed.

• The name of the wine. Often times many wineries create second labels or have unique and clever names for a blend.

• Don’t forget to ask for wine maker notes. After tasting a wine it is fun and interesting to read what the wine maker has envisioned. Sometimes the notes can be very useful if you are purchasing a wine you could not taste. (ie a Library Wine)
These are some basic ideas and points regarding wine tasting in our area. We would be more than happy to assist our guests with wine tasting planning and itineraries.

When Mermaids Cry Sea Glass is Born

cayucos sea glass festival

It may sound sad, but in all actuality, what is know as mermaid tears translates into a beneficial by-product of human consumption, washed away on local beaches worldwide. In popular nomenclature this translates into sea glass: broken pieces of glass and pottery, washed away to sea and tossed around in the sand. Weather you are looking at a common brown colored piece or an extremely rare red derived from a Victorian lamp, sea glass “hunting” can be a great beach activity for all ages.

Cayucos has become a destination for the sea glass “hunter,” and to a large degree thanks to the Cayucos Sea Glass Festival. The second Friday and Saturday in March, enthusiasts, vendors and novices alike gather for two days of fun, discovery, music and food. The Veterans Hall, located at the foot of the pier in Cayucos, is filled to the brim with art, photography, jewelry and many other sea glass accouterments. If that is not enough for you, there is also food, drink and music just behind the Hall. Of course one must not forget the beautiful mermaids gracefully promenading around.

What makes this event even more special for us at On the Beach, Bed and Breakfast is our location. We consider ourselves fortunate to be within twenty paces of the venue. Last year (2013), we were lucky enough to have Mister Richard LaMotte, author of “Pure Sea Glass: Discovering Nature’s Vanishing Gems,” and his lovely wife grace us with their presence at our establishment. Mr. LaMotte was a guest speaker at the event and a wealth of knowledge. We are definitely not sad about the autographed copy we have in the lobby. That goes to say, you never know who the neighbor in the room next to you could be. Imagine sharing a glass of wine during the social hour with a “sea glass royal,” or the waves of fun you could have walking back and forth from the festival to your room. Did we mention you can hear the band from the rooftop deck?

If our words have not been convincing enough ,all there is left to do is book a room and come see for yourself. Join the fun and see what mermaid tears are all about.
Until the next time, we wish you health, happiness and loads of sea glass filled beach fun.