Happy Halloween to everyone who celebrates the occasion, especially those with little kids. While my husband, Dan, and I now have grown up children who live far away, we still enjoy seeing the children trick-or-treating in their cool costumes.

But there’s a far greater joy that follows this celebration of ghouls and goblins: the beginning of the holiday season.

I always have a great time planning for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Happily, the vintners in our wine country region love the holidays, too. There are so many wonderful events, wine tastings, and amazing wine and food events at area restaurants. I’m very grateful that our wine-tasting rooms and restaurants all are open this year (do bring a mask to enter any business).

There are still several choices in events on Halloween Sunday, especially in Los Olivos — the little town that can, as I like to think of it. They create many reasons to visit any time of the year, drawing many wine lovers.

For instance, you can join the Halloween costume party at Community Craft. There are prizes for couples that earn the winner dinner and a bottle of sparkling wine for two at Nella at Fess Parker Inn — a sweet prize. There’s another prize where your clever costume can earn you a year of belonging to the mug club or wine club. To make it even more enticing, they are serving complimentary pizza. The event takes place from 6 p.m. until "late night” at 2446 Alamo Pintado Ave., near San Marcos Avenue.

Also, there are 16 Los Olivos businesses participating in the scarecrow contest with prizes going to: the best town scarecrow, most humorous, spookiest, best natural materials and best business theme.

Should you prefer a tasting room event with a great patio, think of Zaca Mesa for your Halloween fun. They will be featuring complimentary live music by Keith Cox from noon until 2 p.m. Costumes are not required but are encouraged. Reservations aren’t required, but it may pay off to call and inquire. The tasting room is open daily from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. for traditional wine tasting by the glass or bottle.

Zaca Mesa Winery promotes winemaker Kristin Bryden to general manager

If you're not able to attend this week, they have more live concerts on Nov. 7 and Nov. 14. The live music events are free of charge, so I’d suggest grabbing a picnic lunch nearby and purchasing a bottle of wine at Zaca Mesa. Even if there’s only two of you, you can take the other half of the bottle home to enjoy later or the day after. If you do take an open bottle home, be sure to safely store it in the trunk of your car.

Zaca Mesa has another wine and food event happening on Nov. 7, Pinot and Paella. The event features their newest label, Tread, paired with paella catered by All Purpose Flower, and music by Agua Santa. The special pairing will be held on the vineyard lawn beside their century-old oak tree. The cost is $55 for Tread wine club members, $60 for Zaca Mesa club members and $65 for the general public. I strongly suggest making reservations for the event.

During the weekend of Nov. 4-7, the Taste of Sta. Rita Hills event is scheduled, offering attendees an opportunity to taste rare wine releases from Sea Smoke. Such wines are not normally available for tasting as there is not much produced during each vintage. They say the wines are in stock for four days only, but they would make great additions to your Thanksgiving table.

According to the winery, the 2019 vintage of Sea Smoke "has hit an even higher consistency and balance." They said, "The 2019 vintage was blessed with a long growing season, which equals more complexity in the grapes."

With a wine as highly prized as this label, a chance to taste before you buy is indeed a rare opportunity.

You can learn more at tasteofstaritahills.com. The tasting room is located at 2923 Grand Ave., Los Olivos, and is open Thursday through Sunday noon until 5 p.m. You can also make an appointment by phone or online. Due to the limited availability of the Sea Smoke brand, they ask that you place orders via email or phone, as the wines are available at the online store due to volume limitations.

Happy fall holidays!

Reach Kathy at kathymhardesty@gmail.com.

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