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2009 Beachside Wine Festival was the “Biggest Show Under the Sun” in Santa Barbara! The spectacular gathering of nearly 100 of California's finest wineries from every wine region in the state – showcasing a total of over 350 fine wines at this sunny beachfront location, where over 2500 wine fans will grabed their glass and started swirling and sipping, while live music on stage keeps the party beat going.
   Dozens of fine food purveyors and some of Santa Barbara's highest rated restaurants provided gourmet food samples, fresh cut fruits, sizzling grilled meats and seafood as well as icy bottled waters and fruit juices.



If the drooping Dow and gas prices have put an end to dreams of exotic travel this summer, there’s no need to give in to vacation envy.  It’s time to get creative and plan a fabulous “stay-cation.” 

The stay-cation, or stay-at-home vacation, can be a great way to de-stress and re-energize if it’s planned ahead just like a trip out of town.  According to FAT bastard wines, the quality of a stay-cation, like their delicious varietals, depends more on what goes into the effort than on its ultimate cost.  Here are their tips for planning the perfect stay-cation.

1.       Make a Plan – Choose the dates, arrange to be away from work and then follow through with the program just as if you were travelling far from home.  Limit the time you will devote to checking emails, discourage colleagues from calling and make sure you’ve met your deadlines and taken care of business before you leave the office. 

2.      Become a Tourist in Your Own Hometown – Get a guidebook and go online to check out the local attractions that bring tourists to your area, just as you would if you were traveling to another city.  Check the dates for concerts, shows, sporting events, traveling exhibits and other special events that will be going on during your vacation and buy tickets.

3.      Pamper yourself.   For a fraction of the cost of a luxury hotel, you can hire a maid to clean your home on the first day of your vacation.  Then relax with a refreshing glass of FAT bastard Chardonnay or Pinot Noir while someone else does the work – just like you would at a hotel.  Bring the maid back at the end of your vacation, too, so you can go back to work without the worry of cleaning up after a week at home.    

4.      Plan a Backyard Safari – Get out the tent and sleeping bags and enjoy a night under the stars.  Tell ghost stories around the fire pit while you roast hot dogs and make s’mores.  The kids will have a great time and you won’t use a drop of gas getting there.

5.      Stage Your Own Film Festival – Pick up all the DVD’s of the latest flicks you’ve been wanting to see; pop some corn and gather the family around the television.  Consider spending some of your vacation savings on that wide-screen TV that’s just gone on sale.  It will be an investment the family can enjoy all year round.

6.      Pick a Peach –  Check out local farms that offer a day of fun and a way to enjoy fresh produce such as peaches and strawberries for a fraction of the supermarket cost if you pick it yourself.  If your pick is strawberries, treat yourself to simply divine appetizer— Balsamic Strawberry and Mozzarella Flatbread and a glass of FAT bastard Rosé.  The recipe can be found at fineliving.com.

7.      Delve into a Day Spa – If the pleasures of the spa are your idea of real relaxation, check out the local day spas in your area.  It’s a good bet that they will offer all the pampering and beauty treatments of a destination spa for far less than the cost at a resort.

8.      Indulge Your Tastebuds – Have a wine tasting at home and learn about the varietals you’ve always wanted to try.  Good wines that deliver excellent quality can be found at your local supermarket and you can really make the tasting special by printing wine tasting mats and scoring sheets found at fatbastard.com/news.php or keepwinesimple.com.  Ask for budget-friendly wines like those from FAT bastard that offer terrific quality at affordable prices. 

9.      Look for local discounts – Check out accommodations and attractions in your area and ask about special rates for local residents. Many theme parks and the surrounding hotels offer discounted rates to locals, especially during the off-season and in popular tourist areas.  

10. Save the Best for Last – Make the last night memorable with a blow-out barbecue.  Buy the best steaks your butcher can provide and cook them to perfection.  Pair with a rich wine such as FAT bastard Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon.  Top it off with a delicious desert of fresh fruit and homemade ice cream.  Even the finest restaurant doesn’t get any better than that.

Finally – remember that stay-cation comes from the word vacation.  Don’t use your stay-cation as an opportunity to catch up on chores, straighten up the garage, fix the roof or paint the house.  Make sure that you limit the time you spend on email and definitely don’t decide it’s the perfect time to clean a closet.  Urban dictionary defines stay-cation as “A vacation that is spent at one's home enjoying all that home and one's home environs have to offer.”

With no planes to catch, no security lines or long drives, you might find you’ll go back to work more rested than ever.


  Our signature drink, the Grado Rita is sweet citrus perfection.

1 ˝ oz El Grado Blanco or Reposado
1 ˝ oz Cointreau Noir
3 oz Sweet & sour
Salt rim

Combine El Grado tequila, Cointreau Noir and Sweet & Sour. Salt the rim of the glass, serve on the rocks and enjoy the Real Margarita.


Newcastle Brown Ale, America’s No. 1 imported ale, announces the launch of Newcastle Summer Ale. Debuting as a draught ale, Newcastle Summer Ale is crafted by exacting the same high standards that consumers would expect from the brewers of Newcastle Brown Ale.

Newcastle Summer Ale (4.4% ABV) combines premium hops and malts including Golden Promise, Optic Malts, Fuggles and Super Styrian Goldings Hops. Together these ingredients create a hoppy and refreshing ale that is unique in flavor and more golden in color than the original Newcastle Brown Ale. 

This is the first seasonal offering from Newcastle, which had been brewing The One and Only Newcastle Brown Ale in the United Kingdom since 1927. Newcastle Summer Ale offers loyal consumers a chance to experience another uniquely crafted import from Newcastle, while also offering a lighter and hoppier ale for customers who prefer light beers or may have never tried the original Newcastle Brown Ale.

 Limited edition Newcastle Summer Ale glassware, designed to accentuate the hoppy aromas, will also debut this summer.  The glass features a wider rim and is decorated with the new logo celebrating “Hops and Glory.”  Summer Ale will be featured in bars with irreverent artwork, driving consumers to pose the question to servers, “Ask me about the hops and glory.”  Posters offer the announcement “New from Newcastle: An Ale for Summer” and “Hoppy and Glorious. Perfect if Thirsty.”

Newcastle Summer Ale will launch regionally in 14 markets: Denver; Los Angeles; Santa Barbara, Calif.; San Diego; San Francisco; Las Vegas; Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Minneapolis; Indianapolis; Milwaukee; Hoboken, N.J.; Orlando, Fl. and Philadelphia.  The product will only be available on tap.

As a seasonal offering, Newcastle Summer Ale will only be available through September at select bars and restaurants throughout the United States.

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© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved