Fess Parker Winery

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Barrett Crandall
June 27, 2013 | Barrett Crandall

Steak and Syrah Recap

This past June 15th we celebrated the marriage of two of the great pleasures in life, Steak and Syrah.  On their own each is fantastic, but put the two together and see how steak and Syrah work harmoniously with each other to create a sensory masterpiece.   

The event took place in our estate barrel room and was led by a panel including winery President Tim Snider, Fess Parker Winery head Winemaker Blair Fox, and Nadine De Bruin from Dey Dey’s Best Beef Ever ranch located in the Santa Rita Hills.  

Guests were led through a tasting of 5 different Syrah’s which included Syrah’s from Fess Parker Winery, our sister winery Epiphany Cellars, and even a couple of international Syrah’s from France and Australia.  Along with the lineup of Syrah’s, guests were able to pair beef from Dey Dey’s Ranch with their wine.  Our winery Chef used four different cuts of meat and different methods of preparation to pair the beef with the different Syrah’s.  

Beef shoulder braised for 16 hours in Rodney’s Syrah and beef stock was used to create a beef pot pie.  Beef tenderloin was roasted, chilled, and thinly sliced to be served atop a crostini with red wine onion jam and arugula oil.  Dey Dey’s creates their own Bratwurst sausage which we just grilled over red oak and served on its own.  Flank steak was also grilled over red oak, sliced, and served with a Rodney’s Syrah barbecue sauce.  

Throughout the tasting experience guests were able to interact with our panel, asking questions about Syrah and all the various regional differences and characteristics of the grape itself.  Guests also were able to learn a lot more about ranching and grass-fed beef from Nadine as she answered questions about the ranch. 
After the seminar portion was done guests were treated to a traditional Santa Maria style barbecue which of course featured Dey Dey’s Best Beef Ever.  All in all it was a great day and a lot of fun. 

Keep a lookout on our events page for next year’s theme, Chardonnay and Lobster?  Pork and Pinot?  Have any suggestions?  Leave a comment and maybe we will use your theme next year.  


Time Posted: Jun 27, 2013 at 10:29 AM
Barrett Crandall
June 10, 2013 | Barrett Crandall

Parker Picnic Series

Come out and join us at the Fess Parker Winery on June 22nd for the first of our Parker Picnic Series.  We will be featuring live music as well as local food trucks for everyone to enjoy on our lawn. 

Local rock band Joe Daddy & the Sumthins are known for their rockin’ 90’s tunes but have a lil sumthin for every taste!


Georgia’s Smokehouse will also be joining us serving up some delicious Southern barbecue.  They will have tasty dishes such as:  Smoked baby back ribs, smoked brisket, pulled pork, bacon and cheddar hush puppies, mac & cheese, Southern style pasta salad, and sweet potato fries just to name a few.

For dessert and the perfect summer treat Sugar and Salt Creamery will be serving their delicious artisan sorbets.  Sugar and Salt Creamery specializes in hand crafting raw, sprouted almond milk sorbet, using the finest ingredients and incorporating local, organic produce to create a variety of fresh, unique flavors. 

Food will be served from noon to 4pm, and Joe Daddy & the Sumthins will keep things rockin’ from 1-4pm.  Hope to see you there!


Time Posted: Jun 10, 2013 at 10:51 AM
Barrett Crandall
May 6, 2013 | Barrett Crandall

14th Annual Release Day Barbecue

April 26th, 27th, and 28th marked the dates for the Fess Parker Winery and Vineyards 14th annual wine club release day barbecue.  Members attending this year were treated to a weekend full of new release wines, delicious barbecue, and great music.

The Fess Parker winery released four new wines for this year’s event which included the 2011 Sierra Madre Chardonnay, 2010 Ashley’s Pinot Noir, 2011 Pommard Clone Pinot Noir, and the much anticipated 2010 Crockett.  

While members tasted through the new releases they had the opportunity to talk with our head winemaker Blair Fox, assistant winemaker Dave Potter, members of the Parker family, and Fess Parker sales representatives that came out from various parts of the country.  

After members tasted through our lineup of new wines they were treated to a traditional Santa Maria style barbecue provided by Plemmons Catering.  Tri tip, chicken, and sausage were all grilled over red oak wood and served with all the traditional accompaniments.  

We were very happy to have Natalie Gelman back to the winery as our musical guest for the weekend.  She sang original songs as well as a variety of covers from hits of the past.  She is always a joy to listen to.

On Saturday night over release day weekend we had a special winemaker dinner in our estate barrel room for members who wanted to enjoy a special wine and food pairing dinner.  Dinner was prepared by one of Santa Barbara’s most well-known restaurants, the Wine Cask.  

Guests met in our VIP member lounge for a meet and greet and a chance to relax and enjoy some wine.  Dinner was a 4 course menu that was specially paired with our new release wines.  Throughout dinner Eli Parker, Ashley Parker Snider, winery President Tim Snider, and head Winemaker Blair Fox would talk about the wine, winery and vineyard history, and the food and wine pairings.  It was definitely a night to remember.

This year’s wine club barbecue was surely one to remember and was a lot of fun.  Thank you so much to all our members who attended and made it a success.  Also a big thank you to Plemmons Catering, Natalie Gelman, and Wine Cask for all of your talents and contributions, and for helping make this event special.  Hope to see you all back next year.

Time Posted: May 6, 2013 at 10:50 AM
Barrett Crandall
March 11, 2013 | Barrett Crandall

Bacon and Mushroom Risotto

Risotto is a great dish to cook as a main course, but is also great to serve with pan seared duck breast, roast chicken, or pork tenderloin.  Pair this hearty risotto with Fess Parker Pinot Noir or Syrah.

Bacon and Mushroom Risotto

Recipe by Barrett Crandall


8 ounces bacon, cut into half inch pieces
12 ounces Arborio rice
1 medium white onion, small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 ounces chardonnay
1 quart chicken stock, warmed
6 ounces grated parmesan cheese
10 ounces portabello mushrooms, stems removed, cut into ¼ inch pieces
2 ounces unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste


1.  In large skillet cook bacon over medium heat, stirring often.  Cook until browned and just starting to get a little crispy.  With slotted spoon remove bacon and drain on paper towels.  Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of bacon fat from skillet.
2. Add garlic, onions, and mushrooms to skillet and sauté 4 to 5 minutes, until onions start to soften.
3. Add Arborio rice, stir until all the rice is coated in bacon fat.  Cook until pearled, about 1 minute.
4. Add chardonnay, stirring often, cook until the wine is absorbed into the rice.
5. When wine is absorbed into the rice, start adding the chicken stock.  Add 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly.  When stock is almost absorbed into the rice, add another cup.  Continue this process until stock is gone, should take between 20 to 25 minutes. 
6. When done adding stock, stir in the cooked bacon, cheese, and butter.
7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Time Posted: Mar 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM
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
Barrett Crandall
January 28, 2013 | Barrett Crandall

Wine Club Pickup Party: Chili and Chocolate Recap

This past Saturday night here at the winery we held our first ever night time pick-up party.  Pick-up parties are held once a quarter and give our members an opportunity to pick up their current wine club shipments as well as taste the new wine club releases.  

For this quarter’s pick-up party we decided on a chili and chocolate theme.  With the winter weather in full swing we thought it would be fitting to serve a rich, rib-sticking chili to help keep our members warm.  

Members were also treated to a special chocolate truffle and wine pairing from Jessica Foster of Jessica Foster Confections based out of Santa Barbara.  She created 7 different chocolate truffles to be paired specifically with our wines.  The chocolates were delicious.  Some favorites were the dark chocolate rosemary paired with our Rodney’s Vineyard Syrah, milk chocolate star anise and thyme paired with our American Tradition Reserve Pinot Noir, and the white chocolate meyer lemon paired with our Port. 

Members had the option of enjoying their chili and chocolate by the fireplace, or visiting with our staff members at one of our tasting counter’s while trying the new release wines.  

Our first night time pick-up party was a success.  We had a great turnout from our members and we had a lot of fun serving the food and wine. 

From everyone here at the Fess Parker Winery we would like to send a big thank you to all our members who attended and helped make it a great night.  We would also like to say thank you to Jessica Foster for creating some incredible and delicious chocolates to go with our wines. 

For updates on future events as well as recipes from events continue to check our blog on a regular basis.  The Vegetable Chili recipe will be up here next week.

Time Posted: Jan 28, 2013 at 11:06 AM
Barrett Crandall
January 14, 2013 | Barrett Crandall

The Big Easy Mardi Gras Release Party

February 9th, 2013 will mark the day of our 3rd annual Big Easy Mardi Gras release party.  Come celebrate with us Fess Parker Winery style as we transform our tasting room into Bourbon Street.  Indulge in heavily passed Cajun themed appetizers prepared by our winery chef while you listen to the sounds of a live 3 piece jazz band.  Be among the first to taste the new release of our 2010 Big Easy red wine as well as other wine offerings.

The party will be held in our tasting room Saturday February 9th, from 6:30pm-8:30pm.  The price to attend the Big Easy Mardi Gras release party is $35 for members and $40 for non-members.
Space is limited so be sure to reserve your spot soon.  To make reservations contact Elaina by phone at 888-877-3335 or by e-mail at Elaina@fessparker.com

Time Posted: Jan 14, 2013 at 2:03 PM
Barrett Crandall
January 7, 2013 | Barrett Crandall

Wine Club Pickup Party: Chili and Chocolate

Saturday January 26th, 2013, the Fess Parker Winery will be holding its first ever "After Hours" wine club pickup party.  The party will be held in our tasting room and will go from 6pm to 8:30pm.  Come pick up your current wine club shipment, as well as taste the new release wines.  

In addition to tasting the new release wines, we will be having a special guest for your enjoyment, Jessica Foster from Jessica Foster Confections will be joining us as she specially prepares chocolate pairings to go with the wine tasting.  

To help keep you warm during these cold winter nights, we will have our fireplace roaring; as well as serving a big pot of homemade chili and cornbread prepared by our Chef.  

This is sure to be a fun night.  The party is for wine club members only and is free to attend.  We hope to see you there.  Please RSVP with our wine club coordinator Elaina by phone at 888-877-3335, or by e-mail at elaina@fessparker.com.

Time Posted: Jan 7, 2013 at 1:05 PM