Bolado Park will be home to a no-host wine and beer tasting event this Friday, June 22 as part of the first day of the 85th San Benito County Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo.
The wine and beer tasting event is expected to go from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will also include tacos served by Tacos el Rodeo and music performed by the Mariachi Alma De Mexico Band.
People interested in participating in the event, which will take place inside the vendor tent in front of the rodeo grandstands, can pay $25 for five tastings, a glass with an event logo, and two tacos. People interested in increasing their number of tastings also have the option to purchase more tickets.
Participating wineries this year include Puma Road, Leal Vineyards, Calera Wine Company, Fisher’s, Guerra Cellar, and Eden Rift Vineyards. The Grillin and Chillin Alehouse is expected to be the sole beer vendor. All but Puma Road Winery reside in San Benito County (Puma is in Monterey County).
All seven businesses are donating their time and products to the tasting event in support of the 2018 Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo.
This is not the first year that generosity and community support has been found at the event. Gillian Enz, director of the event, said that the organization has been able to count on support from different wineries over the years. This support allows a different menu for participants to taste every year and helps highlight local businesses. Donations and support from local businesses are what help keep the Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo going, she said.
“Ticket sales go to the Saddle Horse Show and Parade fund,” Enz said. “In the long run they [the donating businesses] are supporting the history of our community. It’s that small town feeling of helping out your neighbor.”
During the wine and beer tasting on Friday, participants are encouraged to talk to the local businesses about the process of creating their product and about the product itself.
“People can get introduced to the wineries, wine clubs, and learn about the wine itself,” Enz said.
There is a rich history in San Benito County for the five local wineries participating in the event.
Eden Rift, located in Hollister, is among the oldest, continually producing estate vineyards in California since 1849.
Guerra Cellars of Hollister started after the Guerra family purchased a 600-acre cattle ranch in the early 1980s and then later started their path into the wine industry in 2006.
Leal Vineyards was founded in 1998 by Frank Leal and is one of San Benito County’s premier producers of Bordeaux varietal wines.
Though recently acquired by Duckhorn Winery in August 2017, Calera Wine Company has produced wine in San Benito County for 43 years.
Rounding out the group is Fisher’s. Fisher’s house wine was recently started by Hollister native Mike Fisher, who returned home to Hollister in 2014 after cooking across the United States and studying at the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy in Paris, France.
These local businesses are not the only part of history found throughout the weekend’s event. During the wine and beer tasting, participants can walk over to the Western Museum set up at the Rodeo grounds or can purchase gear, paintings, or hand crafted tack at the Western Art and Tack Show located in the vendor tent.
“We are trying to keep our history going,” Enz said. “It is an exciting event.”
More information about the Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo and Friday’s event can be found on the organization’s website.
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