Guest Post: Hoot 'n Annie and the Earth Day Food & Wine Festival

When you live in wine country there seems to be a wine related event every weekend which makes it tough to choose the ones to attend…sometimes!
Earth Day Food and Wine Festival is one of those “no brainer” events for my wife and I because of its focus on sustainability in food and wine. I’ve known of the Central Coast Vineyard Team (the folks that run the event) for almost five years and have seen their dedication and consistency across the board; from this event, to their SIP Certification process for vineyards and wineries, to all the seminars and relationships they have within the farming community.
That just may be the thing that makes this event stand out, the people. Sure the event is fun and there is always so much great food and wine, fun booths, live music, and giveaways; but the people truly do make this a “must-attend” event.
The event is being held at Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery again this year, and one of the standout things for me from last year was being able to hold a Harris Hawk named Uncle Murray from the group at Tactical Avian Predators. They had others birds there but Uncle Murray was the one I got to hold and I will tell you right now…holding a bird like this is simply awe inspiring! These raptor birds are used to control rodents and other "pests" in the vineyards; another sustainable and earth-friendly approach for vineyard management.
Another astounding fact about this group is that from the 2011 event they generated less than two pounds of trash for over 1,000 visitors…yes, that’s less than two pounds! Imagine the dedication and effort that this takes, yet another reason this is such an amazing group to support! That’s not all though, last year’s event had a solar powered stage, asked guests to drink water from their wine glass instead of plastic, they were recycling and composting, and the dishes and utensils were recyclable and compostable as well.
As for participants in last year’s event; there were over forty wineries, at least one beer vendor that I can recall, well over fifty food artisans, and approximately twenty exhibitors. Based on how many people were involved last year and who was involved, I’m anxious to see this year’s showing. It’s a well rounded event and it’s great to see so many people supporting the sustainable way of life; more importantly it’s great to see how easy it is to live a sustainable lifestyle.
The last aspect I’d like to cover, which I covered slightly already, is one that I don’t think a lot of people think about at an event…and that is the vibe. How do you feel when you’re cruising the event? What’s the energy like? I’ve been the last two years and the one thing I walk away with is that it feels like a backyard barbeque with your 1,000 closest friends. The event is well put together and consistent, it’s fun and laid back, it’s educational and delicious, it’s friendly and inviting…all this in the gorgeous setting at Pomar Junction Winery. You’re surrounded by vineyards, oak trees, and the unmistakable rolling hills of the Central Coast.
So put this one on your list of “events to go to” and maybe we’ll see you there!
by Matt Browne of Hoot 'n Annie