Thursday, February 2, 2017

Sunshine Millions Wine Festival

Ashleyluvssugar (#1 in 2nd place) about to win the California Cup Turf Classic
The Sunshine Millions Wine Festival and the Sunshine Millions California Cup were a perfect combo last Saturday. 
Santa Anita Park aka "The Great Race Place" is at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains and has a reputation as one of the most beautiful horse race tracks in the world. They opened their doors as an official racetrack in 1934 and many famous horses have run there, including Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed, John Henry and Zenyatta.
We were with a fun birthday party group in the Turf Terrace, which is billed as the "best seat in the house."
I've been to a number of differently themed wine festivals, but this is the first time I've been able to taste a nice variety of wine (and some beer) while watching an exciting horse race. There were ten races that showcased the best Cal-Bred Thoroughbreds. And I even bet on a few.
Devon picked the winner of the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint with Enola Gray and I picked 2nd place Smoove It.
Number 9 wins! Sircat Sally remained perfect in a dazzling 2 ¼ length win as she tried turf for the first time in the $200,000 California Cup Oaks. Turner's homebred, ridden by Baze and trained by Hollendorfer, gets mile in 1:35.08. Click to watch video.
I really raked in the dough with a $6 bet on winning horse Sircat Sally in the California Cup Oaks. Ashleyluvssugar won the California Cup Turf Classic and Ann Arbor Eddie won the California Cup Derby.  Thanks to West Coast Wheelie’s tip sheet for some great tips.
BUT enough about horse racing! The Sunshine Millions Wine Festival was a fun tasting event by itself.
In addition to Beaulieu Vineyards, I was glad to taste some of these wines...
 Deutsch Family Wines: Josh / Villa Pozzi
Jackson Family Wines Collection: Matanzas Creek Winery / Cambria / Nielson by Byron
Jacob’s Creek / Graffigna
Kendall-Jackson: Vinter’s Reserve and Avant
Motto Wines / Columbia Crest / Chateau St. Michelle /14 Hands Winery
Newton Red Label
Zaca Mesa
I didn't have a chance to catch them all though; the other wineries were...
Barefoot Spritzers
Domaine Chandon

Cape Mentelle
Chateau St. Jean / 19 Crimes
Rodney Strong

Treana Winery
Trinchero Family Estates

A couple of breweries were represented and I was glad to see they were two of my favorites: Pizza Port Brewing (with Pick Six Pilsner) and Stone Brewing (with Delicious IPA).
Any wine or beer would go well with one of these Homeboy Pretzels.
Two criminals tasting 19 Crimes wine.
Want to talk to the winemaker? Better visit the winery. Unlike some other wine festivals with winemakers pouring, this one had a few knowledgeable distributor reps and many of the other people were employees of the track or hired for the event.  I noticed this at the beginning when two people pouring beer had not been instructed on how to do it yet, so they couldn't serve any beer! (I thought you just pulled back on the tap?)
The horse racing was entertaining enough, so I didn't worry about talking to winemakers to learn more about their wines.
Photo by Debby Hall
Gary & Devon with the Seabiscuit statue in the Paddock Gardens at Santa Anita Park.
Photo by Debby Hall
A professional photo bomber and Taste N Trip fan joined us for a picture.
Video on YouTube at
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Unless otherwise noted all pictures are by Gary Coon / Taste N Trip.