Ojai Wine Festival
Lake Casitas Recreation Area
Wadleigh Arm Event Area
11093 Santa Ana Road, Ventura
Sunday, June 11, noon-4 p.m.
648-4881 or https://ojaiwinefestival.com

With over 60 wineries and some of the area’s best restaurants dishing up gourmet fare, the Ojai Wine Festival is the place to be for foodies and wine connoisseurs. Beautiful Lake Casitas is the setting for the annual celebration put on by the Rotary of Ojai West, and this year is expected to be bigger, and better, than ever. “The VIP lounge is much larger now,” says Angela May, the festival’s executive director. “It seats a hundred more people now, and we’ve enlarged the size of the patio and canopy.”

That VIP lounge is right on the lakefront, and while all the festival’s food is top quality, VIP guests enjoy an exclusive selection of appetizers, courtesy of Sakura, Mandala and La Piu Bella Tavola, to enjoy with specially selected wine, beer and spirits. 

You needn’t be a VIP to enjoy many of the wonderful things the Ojai Wine Festival has to offer, however. Vintners from across the state will be pouring out their award-winning reds, whites and everything in between. Some notable wineries to look for include Sagebrush Annie’s, a boutique winery from Maricopa; the highly rated Alexander Valley Vineyards and Mail Road of Santa Barbara County (both new to the festival this year); locals Clos des Amis, Four Brix and Topa Mountain; and the biodynamic producers Beckmen and Tablas Creek.

Despite the name, the Ojai Wine Festival pays homage to the grain as well as the grape. “We’ve had beer since day one, but it’s really increased the last few years,” May says. “We have more craft beers than ever. There are 35 to choose from.” That list includes Camarillo’s Institution Ale, Santa Ynez’s Figueroa Mountain, SLO Brew from up north and Golden Road out of Los Angeles. Good eats will be provided by Ca Marco, El Charro Taqueria, Ojai Deer Lodge and Sea Fresh.

Should food and beverage prove not quite enough to keep you entertained, there will also be live music, several craft vendors, rides around the lake on the Rotary Boat (free for festival goers) and a silent auction. 

All things considered, the Ojai Wine Festival is a feast for the senses. It’s also one of the area’s most successful fundraisers. May says, “All the money raised goes back into the community and the Rotary International Projects.” 

“It’s such a wonderful way to raise money,” she concludes. “And it’s fun!”