Celebrating Cabernet: 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Events

Cabernet Grapes on Howell MountainIf you’re trying to factor your love of Cabernet Sauvignon into your future travel plans, we’re here to help. You’ll find a list below of 20 Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Tastings and Festivals in 2015 including food and wine events, walk-around tasting experiences and passport-style drive-around opportunities. There are even a few weekend-long celebrations. Not all of these events are exclusive to Cabernet Sauvignon, but that varietal will have at least a predominant presence at the events listed.

With destinations including Los Angeles, Napa Valley, Paso Robles and the Santa Cruz Mountains, these celebrations could be the basis for incredibly fun excursions.  So keep reading, grab your calendar and see how many of these you can fit into your own personal travel plans. But, it’s a long list so you may want to consider pouring yourself a glass of Cabernet before you start.

If you are also a fan of Pinot Noir, you can see our posting on 2015 Pinot Noir-centric events by going here. Although our list of Cabernet Sauvignon events is limited to California locations, the Pinot Noir list includes activities in Chicago, Houston, Portland and New York City.   


Cabernet Shootout Challenge: San Francisco, CA – March 21, 2015

Clif Family Winery

Clif Family Winery

Wine lovers will gather at Kensington Park Hotel for the 9th Cabernet Shootout Challenge from organizations Affairs of the Vine and Bay Area Wine Society. Prior to the event, a panel of experts judge the “Cabernet Shootout” among artisan Cabernet Sauvignons, Cabernet Francs and Cabernet blends submitted from over 40 different viticultural areas. On March 21, the finalist choices are tasted blind and evaluated at the Challenge by consumers and their results are then compared to the judges’ final rankings (and the results are also tabulated by gender).

The Cabernet Challenge afternoon begins with a winemakers’ roundtable discussion on the nature and nurture of crafting their top Cabernets.  Wineries will also be selling their wines at the event, or you can participate in a raffle to raise funds for Big Brothers/Big Sisters (and since no more than 300 tickets to the event will be sold, your odds of winning at the raffle are fairly good). We haven’t seen a list of the 2015 finalists yet, but some of the most popular Cabernet Sauvignons last year were from Cass Winery, Chateau Margene, Clif Family Winery, Estate 1856 Wines, Gallo Signature Series, Lucas & Lewellen and Rocca Family Vineyards.

Howell Mountain Spring Wine Tasting: San Francisco, CA – March 25, 2015

The view from CADE, up on Howell Mountain

The view from CADE, up on Howell Mountain

The world-class wines of Howell Mountain travel to San Francisco for a Spring Wine Tasting to commemorate bud break, with a significant portion of the offerings being Cabernet Sauvignon.  You can taste the pinnacle of mountain wines between 5 and 7 pm at the historic Presidio Garden Gate Club. Admission includes Howell Mountain wines and food pairings from Winery Chefs with assorted artisan cheeses, charcuterie, seasonal fruit, nuts, olives and breads.  This event is presented by the Howell Mountain Vintners & Growers Association.

Howell Mountain wineries participating include Arkenstone Vineyards, Bremer Family WineryCADE Estate WineryCimarossaHowell at the Moon WineryLa Jota Vineyard Co.Lamborn Family Vineyards and Spence Vineyards.

Stars of Napa Valley: Manhattan Beach, CA – March 26, 2015

Phifer Pavitt

Tasting Room at Phifer Pavitt

Shade Hotel, Manhattan Beach’s only luxury boutique hotel, partners with wineLA to host the Stars of Napa Valley Wine Festival starting at 7 pm.  This is the inaugural year for the event, and 40 notable wineries are set to participate in the festivities.  The dress code is resort casual, DJ music will fill the air, and the evening’s fun includes passed hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction (benefiting the Manhattan Beach Middle School).

Winery participants will include Antica, Fisher Vineyards, Frank Family Vineyards, Heitz Wine Cellars, Inglenook, Kenzo Estate, Mario Bazán Cellars and Phifer PavittStars of Napa Valley will offer a VIP experience ticket option with early admission and special wines to taste.  The entire event is limited to 350 guests and is expected to sell out. Earlier in the day, qualified Media and Trade representatives may be able to attend a separate tasting between 2 pm and 5 pm.

Mexican-American Vintners Association Spring Wine Tasting:  San Francisco, CA – April 8, 2015

Volcán Cellars

Volcán Cellars

The idea of an association of Mexican-American wine producers grew from a discussion in 2010 when vintners from Napa and Sonoma gathered to pour their wines at the Michoacán State Fair in Mexico.  Now, the Mexican-American Vintners Association is coming to the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco and offering you a chance to taste and purchase their wines (and almost all of the 15 wineries produce wines crafted from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes).

MAVA members include Ceja Vineyards, Maldonado Family Vineyards, Mario Bazán Cellars, Marita’s Vineyard, Renteria Wines, Robledo Family Winery, Scalon Cellars and Volcán Cellars.  Consumer ticketholders will be able to savor the wines from MAVA member wineries and food pairings along with cheeses, charcuterie, and bread between 5 pm and 7 pm that evening.   Earlier in the day, qualified Media and Trade representatives may be able to attend a separate tasting between 2 pm and 4 pm.

Mount Veeder Spring Wine Tasting: San Francisco, CA – April 16, 2015

Y Rousseau Wines

Y Rousseau Wines

Enjoy wines from Mount Veeder at a Spring Wine Tasting (including plenty of Cabernet Sauvignons) from wineries who are part of the Mount Veeder Appellation Council between 5 and 7 pm at the Presidio Golden Gate Club. Admission includes Mount Veeder wines and food pairings with artisan cheeses, charcuterie, seasonal fruit, nuts and breads. You will also be able to purchase wines onsite.

The list of attendees hasn’t been finalized yet, but Appellation Council members include these Cabernet Sauvignon producers:  The Hess Collection, Lokoya Winery, Mayacamas Vineyards, Mithra Winery,  Progeny Winery, Trinchero Napa Valley, Yates Family Vineyard and Y Rousseau Wines. Earlier in the day, qualified Media and Trade representatives may be able to attend a separate tasting between 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm.

bASH:  St. Helena, CA – April 18, 2015

Appellation St. Helena (ASH) wants to invite you (and your friends) to bASH 2015, an annual food and wine pairing competition held in the historic Barrel Room at the Culinary Institute of America. No ordinary wine tasting, bASH pairs an ASH member’s wine with a small bite at each table. While some of the food is prepared by local caterers or restaurants (such as Archetype, Goose & Gander or PRESS), the delightful fun here is that most of the dishes are created by teams of CIA student chefs who work their little hearts out in pursuit of the perfect creation.

Some of our favorite pairings (with ASH winery Cabernet Sauvignons) created by CIA teams at prior bASH evenings have been:

Reconstituted Cherries on Whipped Goat Cheese Tart

Reconstituted Cherries on Whipped Goat Cheese and Cream Cheese Tart

  • Whipped Goat Cheese and Cream Cheese Tart with Coca Cola and Cabernet Reduction, Cherries and Toasted Walnuts
  • Pulled Pork Pupusas Stuffed with Pimento Cheese
  • Braised Short Rib Croquette with a Rosemary, Roasted Garlic and Dijon Sauce
  • Lamb Slider with Gorgonzola Dulce and Cabernet Caramelized Onion Jam on a Herbed Gougère
  • Huntsman Ragout (Venison, Elk, Duck) with Ricotta Tortellini

If you attend bASH 2015 you can expect to find 35 wineries which will hopefully include Calafia Cellars, Crocker & Starr, Parry Cellars, Pellet Estate, Sequum, Taplin Cellars, Titus Vineyards, Trinchero Napa Valley and Varozza Vineyards (all Cabernet Sauvignon producers whose wines we have enjoyed in the past).

Calistoga Food and Wine: Calistoga, CA – April 24 to April 25, 2015

Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena

Join Solbar Executive Chef Brandon Sharp and the Calistoga Winegrowers on April 24 for an event showcasing 30 of Calistoga’s world-class wineries (including premium Cabernet Sauvignon producers).  The Calistoga Food and Wine Event’s opening event, the “Grand Tasting,” will take place at the Solage Calistoga resort with cooking stations offering small bites to pair with samples from wineries such as Bennett Lane Winery, Chateau Montelena, Harris Estate Vineyards, Jericho Canyon Vineyard, Knighton Family Vineyards, Larkmead Vineyards, Phifer Pavitt, Tamber Bey Vineyards and Tom Eddy Wines.

The next day (Saturday, April 25) you can continue the fun with your choice of four Winemaker Dinners including Jericho Canyon Vineyard at JoLē, and Chateau Montelena and Jack Brooks Vineyard joining forces at Evangeline.

HALL Cabernet Cookoff: St. Helena, CA – April 25, 2015

Kathryn and Craig Hall

Kathryn and Craig Hall at HALL Cabernet Cookoff

The HALL Cabernet Cookoff returns for a sixth year, featuring an all-star field of San Francisco and Napa Valley Chef teams participating in a culinary pairing challenge: creating the best small bite dish to match the 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from HALL Wines.  Chef teams will compete for a local charity of their choice and 100% of ticket proceeds go to benefit these worthwhile nonprofit organizations.

In prior years, Cookoff dishes have included Short Rib Tacos, Salmon Sandwiches and Mississippi Mud Pie Cupcakes.  The line-up of competitors for this year includes Victoria Acosta (The Grill at Meadowood), Mark Dommen (One Market), Nick Heinrich (Bounty Hunter Smokin BBQ), Trevor Kunk (PRESS), Kara Lind (Kara’s Cupcakes) and Jesse McQuarrie (Feast Catering).

Stags Leap District “Vineyard to Vintner” Celebration:  Napa, CA – April 24 to 26, 2015

The 3-day Vineyard to Vintner Celebration from the Stags Leap District Winegrowers offers intimate opportunities to taste the appellation’s world-class Cabernet Sauvignons while mingling with the winery owners and vintners.  Events include vintner-hosted dinners, winery open houses (many at wineries that are not usually open to the public) and a very special brunch.  On Friday night, winery owners and vintners are selecting cherished library wines for unique dining experiences at Cliff Lede Vineyards, Pine Ridge Vineyards, Regusci Winery and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock

On Saturday, the SLD Winegrowers open their wineries for the annual Open House.  Drive along the Silverado Trail and enjoy your day as your backstage pass will gain you entrance into the District’s wineries, ranging from the most historic to the group’s newest members.  Discover winery caves, enjoy special barrel tastings, explore wine cellars and enjoy plenty of food and wine pairings not available to the general public. A Grand Finale Brunch on Sunday at Silverado Vineyards (with food prepared by the Michelin-starred Meadowood Resort) features a sneak preview of the District’s upcoming Appellation Collection of 17 world-class Cabernet Sauvignons (to be released Fall 2015).

In addition to the wineries above, other SLD Winegrowers sharing in the fun include Baldacci Family Vineyards, Chimney Rock WineryHartwell Vineyards, Ilsley Vineyards, Malk Family Vineyards, Robinson Family Vineyards, Shafer Vineyards, and Stags’ Leap Winery.

Rutherford Wine Experience:  Rutherford, CA – May 1 to May 3, 2015

Raymond Vineyards

Raymond Vineyards

Be there for the Grand Launch of the Rutherford Wine Experience from the Rutherford Appellations Wineries, highlighting the wines from this premier Napa Valley appellation. The Friday Welcome Reception is hosted by Raymond Vineyards with additional wineries including Freemark Abbey, Honig Vineyard & Winery, Peju Province Winery, Piña Napa Valley, Round Pond Estate, S.R. Tonella Cellars and ZD Wines.  On Saturday you can choose between informative tasting experiences and/or Women Winemaker Luncheons where you can meet and dine with respected professionals such as Amy Aiken from Meander/Conspire Wines, Domenica Totty from Beaulieu Vineyard and Stephanie Putnam from Raymond Vineyards.

Sunday morning brings you a choice of two distinct Brunch experiences. The one at Mumm Napa offers a traditional Brunch with buffet selections such as Croissants, Muffins, Bagels with Lox and Savory French Crepes with Spinach, Mushroom and Gruyere.  A second brunch, hosted by Alpha Omega Winery, presents a family-style meal from Stephen Barber (of Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch) whose dishes will include a Mixed Garden Green Salad, Grilled Delta Asparagus, Red Flannel Hash, Smoked California King Salmon Benedict and Assorted Pastries.

CABs of Distinction:  Paso Robles, CA – May 2, 2015

Halter Ranch Winery

Halter Ranch Winery

The CABs of Distinction Grand Tasting is an elegant lakeside event at River Oaks Hot Springs which is presented by the Paso Robles CAB Collective (PRCC). If you come, you’ll be able to meet the local winemakers as you sip over 75 Cabernet Sauvignon and red Bordeaux wines produced in Paso Robles, California. This year’s event will add a Silent Auction benefiting Cal Poly SLO and you will be able to pair your wine samples with cheese and charcuterie samples.

The Grand Tasting runs from 2 pm to 5 pm but there are also VIP tickets available which will get you into the event an hour earlier.  Members of the PRCC who are likely to participate are Adelaida Cellars, Cass Vineyard & WineryChateau Margene, DAOU Vineyards & Winery, Eberle Winery, Halter Ranch Vineyard, HammerSky Vineyards, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Jada Vineyard, Justin Vineyards & Winery, and Vina Robles.

Passport to Cabernet: San Francisco, CA – May 6, 2015

Bently Reserve

Bently Reserve in San Francisco

Cabernet Sauvignons from all over California gather under one roof at the Bently Reserve for the 2015 Passport to Cabernet.   Each Spring, the California Cabernet Society holds a tasting in Northern California showcasing barrel samples from the most recent vintage where attendees can personally evaluate the promise and excitement of the harvest.

The list of attendees for this year’s Passport has not been finalized yet but CCS members likely to be there include Bell Wine Cellars, Cain Vineyard & Winery, Diamond Creek Vineyards, Jericho Canyon Vineyard, Keenan Winery, Pine Ridge Vineyards, Steven Kent WineryTrinchero Napa Valley and Volker Eisele Family Estate. Earlier in the day, qualified Media and Trade representatives may be able to attend a separate tasting.

Taste of Howell Mountain: St. Helena, CA – June 20, 2015

Taste of Howell Mountain

Live Auction Table Setting at 2014 Taste of Howell Mountain

The annual Taste of Howell Mountain from Howell Mountain Vintners & Growers Association is a lovely way to spend your afternoon and it returns this year to the Charles Krug Winery. During the walk-around Tasting, attendees can indulge in the wines crafted from Howell Mountain grapes (largely Cabernet Sauvignon) accompanied by gourmet food and live entertainment. The live auction portion of the day offers a chance to bid on rare wines, winemaker dinners, tours and tastings, travel, recreation, and resort opportunities. Or, guests can purchase one of 52 playing cards for a chance to win 100 bottles of California Cabernet Society wines valued at over $7,000.

You will have plenty of wines to compare and contrast as there are usually 35-40 wineries at Taste of Howell Mountain. Some of our favorite Cabernet Sauvignons at last year’s event were being poured by Aloft Wine, Arkenstone VineyardsHowell Mountain Vineyards, La Jota Vineyard Co., Notre Vin WinesO’Shaughnessy Estate Winery, Piña Napa Valley, Robert Craig Winery and Round Two Wines. 

East LA Meets Napa & Bordeaux: Los Angeles, CA – July 17, 2015

Piña Napa Valley

Piña Napa Valley

If you want to head to LA this summer, you should know that AltaMed Health Care Services’ premier fundraiser, East LA Meets Napa (& Bordeaux), is celebrating 10 years in a unique venue, the Union Station & Metropolitan Water District courtyards. Latino owners, chefs and representatives from 30 restaurants and 30 wineries will showcase their wonderful products to help support AltaMed. This health center has delivered quality care to the underserved communities of Southern California for more than 40 years, providing primary medical care, dental clinics and senior long-term care services.

The 2015 participants have not been finalized yet, but wineries in the past have included Alex Sotelo Cellars, Ceja Vineyards, Mi Sueño Winery, Piña Napa Valley, Realm Cellars, Renteria Wines, Sequoia Grove and V. Sattui Winery. In prior years, attendees have enjoyed food tastes from Chichén Itza, Doña Rosa Bakery & Taqueria, El Tepeyac Cafe, Lotería Grill, Porto’s Bakery & Cafe and Rocio’s Mole de los Dioses.

OC Meets Napa & Baja: San Juan Capistrano, CA – July 18, 2015

AltaMed LogoThanks to the success of East LA Meets Napa & Bordeaux, the AltaMed organization is sharing the joy by expanding to Orange County the next day with 2015’s inaugural OC Meets Napa & Baja.  The evening’s event will take place at Mission San Juan Capistrano and will feature premier wines from wineries in Baja as well as members of the Mexican-American Vintners Association.

So, your evening is likely to include wines from Ceja Vineyards, Delgadillo Cellars, Encanto Vineyards, Honrama Cellars, Justicia Wines, Maldonado Family Vineyards, Mario Bazán Cellars, Renteria Wines and Robledo Family Winery.  The food purveyors for the evening have not been announced yet, but may include some of the restaurants who have served at East LA Meets Napa in the past (please see above listing).

Mexican-American Vintners Association Harvest Festival: Napa, CA – August 2015

MAVA Harvest Festival

MAVA Harvest Festival

To taste some Cabernet Sauvignons from wineries you may not be familiar with, you should consider attending the Mexican-American Vintners Association Harvest Festival featuring about 15 wineries (of which most make at least one Cabernet Sauvignon wine).  Last year’s event was held at Renteria Wines Brown Ranch Vineyard in the Los Carneros region and the food items served last year included Baja Fish Tacos, Roasted Pork Tortas and Grillled Skirt Steak Skewers.

The official date and location for the 2015 Harvest Festival haven’t been announced yet, but we’re suspecting somewhere in the middle of August and that participating wineries will include Delgadillo Cellars, Encanto Vineyards, Honrama Cellars, Marita’s Vineyard, Mi Sueño Winery, Renteria Wines, Robledo Family Winery and Scalon Cellars.

Mount Veeder AVA Wine Tasting:  Napa, CA – September 19, 2015

Caprese Skewers at Hess Collection

Caprese Skewers at The Hess Collection

The Mount Veeder Appellation Council usually presents their annual Appellation Wine Tasting at The Hess Collection in September. You shouldn’t miss this opportunity to taste limited production gems from almost 30 wineries (with a significant portion of the wines being Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet-based). Small bites in the past have included selections such as Caprese Skewers, Grilled Figs and Oatmeal Cookies by Hess Collection Executive Chef Chad Hendrickson for attendees to enjoy between sips.

Participants in the Mount Veeder Appellation Wine Tasting include a variety of wineries with as many as 40 years in the business. Our favorite Cabernet Sauvignons at last year’s Tasting included those from Fontanella Family WineryGodspeed Vineyards, Mayacamas VineyardsMount Veeder WineryO’Shaughnessy Estate WineryRobert Craig WineryRubissow Wines, and Y Rousseau Wines.

Cabernet Fest at The Wine House:  Los Angeles – October 2014

Stonestreet Winery View

View from Stonestreet Winery

The Wine House is a one-stop wine shop in West Los Angeles with a wide selection of fine wines, knowledgeable sales staff, extensive wine tasting classes, and a wine bar.  They are also an approved provider of Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses.  For over 30 years The Wine House has held Cabernet Fest, a wine tasting and purchasing opportunity for attendees who get to taste over 100 wines from around the world.

Cabernet Fest usually runs from 2 to 4 in the afternoon, and tickets are limited (although there are also VIP tickets offering early entrance).  Here are some of the wineries that have been at past events:  Alpha Omega, Caymus Vineyards, Clos Du Val, Darioush, Dominus Estate, Inglenook, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Pahlmeyer, Silver Oak Cellars and Stonestreet Winery. The exact date for the 2015 event has not been announced yet, but early October is likely.

Stars of Cabernet: Beverly Hills, CA – November 18, 2015

Niner Wine Estates Cabernet

Niner Wine Estates Cabernet

Taking place at The Peninsula Beverly Hills, the Stars of Cabernet is a showcase for both well-known and new top-quality brands from organizer wineLA. The wines are offered alongside a light dinner buffet and part of the event proceeds benefit the T.J. Martell Foundation (which funds innovative medical research focused on finding cures for leukemia, cancer and AIDS). Tickets for Stars of Cabernet won’t go on sale until October 1.

During the event, attendees can taste wines from over 40 California and Washington Cabernet Sauvignon producers. 2014 winery participants included Duckhorn Vineyards, Frank Family VineyardsHawk and Horse Vineyards, Jordan Winery, Niner Wine EstatesSilverado Vineyards, Tanner DaFoe and von Strasser Winery. Location, limited tickets and an enforced upscale dress code combine to make this a unique tasting experience.

Premier Cruz:  Santa Cruz Mountains, CA – November 2015

Premier Cruz LogoCabernet lovers can sample and enjoy both new releases and hard-to-find library wines from distinguished Cabernet producers based in the Santa Cruz Mountains at Premier Cruz, a “Mountain Cabernet Experience.”  Guests can also bid on exclusive library wines, magnums, private winemaker tours and new releases at a silent auction that evening.  In 2014, the event was held at the Toll House Hotel and menu courses included a Risotto & Butternut Squash Croquette, Short Rib Sliders, and a Roasted Rack of Lamb Wrapped in Bacon.

Sponsored by the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association, this event usually includes wineries such as Beauregard Vineyards, Burrell School Vineyards & Winery, Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards, Fernwood Cellars, House Family Vineyards, Kathryn Kennedy Winery, Mount Eden Vineyards, and Ridge Vineyards. The exact date for the 2015 event has not been announced yet, but mid-November is likely.


We hope you find this list of Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Tasting Events helpful in planning your travels for 2015.  Please let us know if we missed something.

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