Fess Parker Winery

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Barrett Crandall
February 24, 2013 | Barrett Crandall

The Big Easy Mardi Gras Release Party Recap

On February 9th, 2013, the Fess Parker Winery held its 3rd annual Big Easy Mardi Gras party to celebrate the newest release of our Big Easy red wine.  The party took place after hours in our tasting room which was transformed into the wine country version of Bourbon Street.

With plenty of Big Easy opened and ready to pour the Fess Parker crew welcomed wine club members and guests to a night full of wine, food, and music.  

To accompany the Big Easy red wine we had a menu full of Cajun themed appetizers and desserts coming out of the Fess Parker kitchen.  Traditional jambalaya was served along with Lousiana style wontons with a Lousiana hot sauce crema, crab cakes with remoulade, parmesan polenta cakes with sautéed shrimp and an apricot-ancho chile barbecue sauce, as well as a crostini with goat cheese and Kalamata olive tapenade.  For dessert, chicory root coffee chocolate truffles were served as well as a traditional New Orleans king cake.  

No Mardi Gras party would be complete without having some live jazz music to enjoy.  We were lucky enough to have the always great sounding Jerry Coehlo Trio jazz band come and play for us and keep the party jumping.  

This year’s Mardi Gras party was a lot of fun and we can’t wait for next year’s.  Thank you so much to everyone who attended and helped make this such a great party!

Time Posted: Feb 24, 2013 at 2:07 PM
Barrett Crandall
February 11, 2013 | Barrett Crandall

Food and Wine Exploration

  One of the many great things about wine is its relationship with food.  When food and wine are paired correctly together the two work in harmony to elevate each other; no single aspect of the food or wine overpowers the other.  Now at the Fess Parker Winery you can come experience this harmonious relationship between food and wine for yourself. 

  Set in our barrel room we have created an intimate private tasting room for you and your guests.  Your group will get to taste and enjoy an array of estate, single vineyard, and reserve wines along with a 5 course tasting menu created by our winery chef.  The tasting menu will consist of 4 savory courses as well as a dessert course. 

  Our tasting menu always changes depending upon the season and what ingredients are available.  Our chef is happy to work with your group to create a menu that will cater to any sort of food allergies such as gluten intolerances, or any sort of food preferences you may have. 

Here is an example of a recent tasting menu:

1st Course
Sautéed Shrimp, Siracha Aioli, Micro Greens
2010 Rodney’s Vineyard Viognier

2nd Course
Arancini, Shiitake Mushrooms, Pancetta, Garlic Crema
2010 Bien Nacido Pinot Noir

3rd Course
Cheese Trio Ravioli, Rodney’s Syrah Braised Short Rib Ragu
2009 Rodney’s Vineyard Syrah

4th Course
Bacon Wrapped Dates, Feta Cheese, Almonds, Big Easy Bacon Jam
2009 Big Easy Red Wine

5th Course
Bailey’s Irish Cream Panna Cotta, Dark Chocolate Curls
Traditions Port Style


Reservations are available by calling the winery at (805) 688-1545 and do require at least 2 weeks advance notice.  For the Food and Wine Exploration we take a minimum of 4 people with a maximum of 10 people.  The cost is $50 per person, if you are a wine club member the cost is $40 per person.  If you would like to e-mail our chef with any questions feel free to do so by e-mailing barrett@fessparker.com. 

Time Posted: Feb 11, 2013 at 2:52 PM
Barrett Crandall
February 4, 2013 | Barrett Crandall

Vegetable Chili

For our wine club pick-up party last month members were served a hearty vegetable chili along with a side of cornbread.  We thought we would pass this recipe along to anyone who would like to make it at home. Chili is the perfect meal during these cold winter months.  This chili recipe is not only filling and delicious; this vegetarian version is also very healthy.  

Mushrooms are in this recipe in place of meat, giving the chili a meaty texture as well as an earthy component.  I also like to roast the pasilla and jalapeno chili peppers to give an extra depth of flavor and smokiness in the chili. Butternut and Acorn squash give this chili a nice touch of sweetness while helping to give it a richness and added body.  

If you have never roasted chili peppers before it is quite easy, you can do it right on your gas or electric stovetop.  Turn the stovetop burner up to medium heat.  Place the chili peppers on top of the burners and let them get a nice char on each side.  When all sides of the chili pepper are charred wrap them up in foil and let them sit for about 15 minutes.  Unwrap the foil and use a paper towel to wipe and peel the charred skin off the chili peppers.  All the heat from this chili comes from the jalapeno, I used all the seeds in this recipe, if you want your chili to be on the milder side just remove the seeds.  

Vegetable Chili 

Recipe by:  Barrett Crandall

Servings:  6-8


• 1 bottle Fess Parker Syrah, reduced down to 1 cup
• 2 medium yellow onions, minced
• 1 red, 1 green, 1 orange and 1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½ inch pieces
• 6 ounces white button mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
• 6 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
• 1 pasilla chili pepper, roasted, skins and seeds removed, and cut into ¼ inch pieces
• 1 jalapeno pepper, roasted, skins removed, finely diced with seeds
• 1 butternut squash, peeled with seeds removed, cut into ¼ inch to ½ inch pieces
• 1 acorn squash, peeled with seeds removed, cut into ¼ inch to ½ inch pieces
• 6 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tbsp chili powder
• 2 tbsp ground cumin
• 1 tbsp ground coriander
• 2 tbsp kosher salt
• 1 tbsp black pepper
• 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, strained and rinsed
• 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, strained and rinsed
• 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
• 1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
• 3 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil


1. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, butternut squash, acorn squash, pasilla pepper, jalapeno, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, 8 -10 minutes.
2. Stir in the wine, continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.
3. Stir in the beans, diced tomatoes with their juice, and tomato puree,  and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1  hour.
4. Uncover and taste.  If vegetables are quite tender continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes.  Adjust seasoning if needed.

Try this chili with our Santa Barbara County Syrah, Rodney’s Vineyard Syrah, or our delicious Big Easy Red Wine.  Any one of these wines would be a great pairing and would make for a great night.  Enjoy!


Time Posted: Feb 4, 2013 at 11:53 AM