Staff Report

The Pioneers of Santa Barbara County, a group of early vintners and industry trailblazers who have shaped the Santa Barbara County wine region, will host its first “Back to the Futures” tasting on Saturday, Feb. 24.

A “wine futures tasting” gives the public access to taste and buy local wines before they are bottled. Vintner Doug Margerum held such tastings annually until he sold the Wine Cask in Santa Barbara nine years ago.

Sponsored in part by Visit SYV and Pico, more than 15 wineries will showcase samples from their barrels for patrons to taste at Pico Restaurant & Wine Shop in the Los Alamos General Store from 2-5 p.m. Tickets are $55.

Futures allows for attractive pricing by buying in advance of bottling. This tasting lets buyers try wines and call “first dibs” from some of the county’s most tried-and-true wine cellars.

“Many people have said they miss the Wine Cask futures tasting,” said Pioneers director Morgan Clendenen. “With such a small group of high quality producers excited to do one again, Pico’s historic location feels like the perfect backdrop.”

Luminaries attending include Foxen, Brander, Margerum and Au Bon Climat, whose first wines were produced in Los Alamos.

Futures tastings or “en primeurs campaigns” have been a tradition since the early 1700s.  The Irish and British bought and sold wines from Bordeaux, Portugal and Spain before they were bottled, which helped producers offset production costs and helped guarantee the upcoming harvest.

In more recent times, the Wine Cask in Santa Barbara showcased wines that were handpicked by Margerum to make an event that was loved by connoisseurs and winemakers alike. This time the wineries will present and pour their own futures picks, along with prior vintages.

This event is produced by Morgan Clendenen, Arrick Gordon and the Pioneers of Santa Barbara County.

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