PICTURED: The Ojai Wine Festival will take place on June 18 at beautiful Lake Casitas.

by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

 

Ojai Wine Festival
Saturday, June 18, 12-4 p.m.
Lake Casitas Recreation Area, Wadleigh Arm
11093 Santa Ana Road, Ventura
https://ojaiwinefestival.com/

Tickets: $95-$105, include unlimited tastings and keepsake crystal wine glass (21+)

$25 general admission for non-drinkers
$10 parking

Ojai has had a busy month! June opened with the Ojai Blues Fest, followed up by the contemporary classical music extravaganza of the Ojai Music Festival. The good times just keep coming with this weekend’s return of the Ojai Wine Festival. Whether you gravitate toward red, white, rosé or bubbly, rest assured there will be something delicious to pour in your glass come June 18.

Now in its 34th iteration, the Ojai Wine Festival is the longest running wine festival in Ventura County. The location helps: Beautiful Lake Casitas makes a fantastic spot to sip, nosh, mingle and dance. Santa Barbara band Area 51 will be throwing down old-school funk, disco and other popular dance favorites, and it will be hard to sit still once they take the stage.

New to the Ojai Wine Festival this year will be boutique Ventura winery Trois le Fou.

“Wine” is right in the festival name, and the lineup of vendors does not disappoint. Local vintners like Boccali, Magnavino, Majestic Oak, Topa Mountain and Trois le Fou will be pouring alongside “neighbors to the north” Rincon Mountain and Beckmen and eccentric Santa Cruz label Bonny Doon. Most exciting, perhaps, will be the numerous boutique and garagiste winemakers in attendance — a rare chance to taste some exceptional and hard-to-find products from Paso Robles and other locales.

And of course, no party or event in Ventura County would be complete without beer (even at a wine festival). Among the many to be found in the beer garden will be craft outfits like Oak and Otter (San Luis Obispo) and Coronado (San Diego County) and local favorite Ojai Valley Brewing. Big names like Firestone Walker, Dos Equis and Heineken will also be around.

Where there’s beer there tends to be cider and hard seltzer, too, and while Ojai’s own Flying Embers will be in attendance, other vendors will be coming from far and away, like Elysian out of Seattle and Canada’s Nütrl vodka, seltzer and juice beverage. SLO distillery Rod and Hammer will be on hand for you whiskey lovers out there. Designated drivers, non-drinkers or others who choose not to imbibe have not been left out of the Ojai Wine Festival for 2022. Those attendees can fill their glasses with flavored sparkling waters, energy drinks and Jarritos sodas.

No need to drink on an empty stomach — just grab a bite from one of the food booths hosted by local restaurants or gourmet food trucks that will be driving in for the occasion. Take a piece of the festival home with you by bidding on items and experiences (like tours and tastings) offered in the silent auction.

Clearly there’s more than just wine at the Ojai Wine Festival, which is why the event is one of the hottest happenings of summer. Four hours of fun, all in the service of a good cause (the Rotary Club of Ojai West puts it on, raising to date over $1 million for its many charitable programs). Where’s our glass?