Ryan Chartrand

The birds are chirping, the bees are buzzing and the clothes are being shed on campus (this happens more at the Cal Poly Rec Center pool and volleyball courts). Along with spring comes my favorite time of year … wine festival time!

You may ask, why is a wine festival so neat? And I will reply, “It combines a lot of people and a lot of wine.” Pair that with the fact that waiters carry around bruschetta and the like, and that it is socially acceptable to booze during broad daylight and you’ve got yourself a winner!

Even better than wedding season a la “Wedding Crashers,” wine season is chuck full of food, free stuff and wine, wine and more wine. And which is better, Christmas or wine season? The answer would be, um, wine season! So bring out your calendars, folks, wine season is among us.

While the wonderful world of pinot noir festival waved us goodbye in March, there is no excuse for missing any festival this month. First on the list is the Cal Poly Wine Festival, formally known as “An Afternoon Amidst the Oaks.” With a whole new wine and viticulture program, the event has revamped itself. Nearly doubling winery participation from years past, Cal Poly Wine Festival is geared up to be a No. 1 stunna.

A few honorable mentions include the Roll out the Barrels celebration in Edna Valley on May 3 to 6 and the Hospice du Rhone sharing the same weekend May 3 to 5. The Roll out the Barrels celebration takes place in the Edna Valley at individual wineries participating in the event. The Hospice du Rhone happens in Paso Robles and is the world’s largest international celebration of Rhone style varietals in the world. Kind of a big deal.

And now, back to the Cal Poly Wine Festival – a event quite near and dear to my heart. The festivities begin on April 28 at the Santa Margarita Ranch from 1 to 4 p.m.

There is also a golf tournament sponsored by the College of Agriculture taking place on Friday April 27 at the Cypress Ridge Golf Course in Arroyo Grande. With attendance of more than 700 people last year, this Wine Festival is expected to bring even more people in this year.

Over a hundred wineries will be attending the event. Some heavy hitters pouring that weekend include: Meridian, Eberle, Castoro Cellars and Peachy Canyon for Paso Robles. In San Luis Obispo, selected wineries include: Edna Valley Winery and Tolosa Winery.

Even wineries from Napa are coming on down, such as the famous Rombuer vineyards, Hall and Duckhorn. Top that with live music, a silent auction and beautiful heritage oaks among a backdrop of rolling hills and you’ve got yourself a hit.

Admission is $50 for the general public and $30 for Cal Poly students and staff. Tickets are available at Vallitix outlets and also available for purchase online at www.calpolywinefestival.com. All proceeds go toward the new wine and viticulture program.

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