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Drink Chardonnay All Weekend at the Chardonnay Symposium

The Chardonnay Symposium starts today! It’s very different from your run-of-the-mill food and wine festival, because it is focused on educating industry professionals, as well as interested consumers, about trends and processes involved with Chardonnay production here and around the world. Nested in the two coastal communities of Avila Beach and Pismo Beach, the Chardonnay Symposium offers world-class wine events with a beautiful ocean backdrop. Our very own Avila Lighthouse Suites is hosting two events during the weekend, making a stay there very convenient for any out-of-towners. Check out these featured events, some of which are open for the public, and some of which are only for qualified someliers or vitners. You can learn more about specifics for the events and purchase tickets on this webpage.

Sommelier Chardonnay Challenge

This event is for qualified and invited sommeliers only. They will participate in a Chardonnay double-blind wine tasting competition at the Avila Lighthouse Suites. Wineries will participate to compete for several awards, including Best Old World Chardonnay, Best New World Chardonnay, and Best of Show Chardonnay. While tastiing, the sommeliers will compete for the title of Top Sommelier based on their accuracy in evaluating the wine. These awards will be announced at the annual La Paulee Dinner and Vitners Awards Ceremony, held on Friday evening.

French Forum: Exploring The Wonders of French Chardonnay

This forum, which is open to the public, takes place just a mile away from Avila Lighthouse suites at the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort, in the lush woods of Avila Beach. This fun and informative seminar is taught by Master Sommelier Bob Bath, who will take the participants on a guided tasting tour of French Chardonnay; from Chablis to Champagne. Don’t miss this informative opportunity to indulge in French wine.

Chardonnay Tastings

Wente Clone Comparative Tasting

Another event that is open to the public, the Wente Clone Comparative Tasting takes place at the Avila Lighthouse Suites. Learn more about the “first family of Chardonnay in California,” and the development of the Wente Clone of Chardonnay! Over a period of 30-40 years in the early 20th century, Ernest Wente selected vines that showed favorable traits, and re-planted them, establishing the Wente Clone of Chardonnay. Today, the Wente Clone has an excellent reputation and is planted all throughout California. At this event, Randy Caparoso, the editor of the SOMM Journal, will explore with you how 5 generations of top-shelf vitners have mastered this noteworthy clone.

The spacious Avila Lighthouse Suites, steps from the sand
The spacious Avila Lighthouse Suites, steps from the sand

Pet-Nat, Sparkling Wine & Oysters Gala

This event is not to be missed for wine enthusiasts and lovers of champagne alike. At the sprawling Avila Beach Golf Resort, sip on Pet-Nat or Sparkling wine with delectable pairings of freshly harvested oysters. 20 of your favorite producers will be showcasing their bubbly, so relax and mingle with friends, producers, colleagues, and wine enthusiasts with Avila Beach, and a brisk ocean breeze, as your backdrop.


The Avila Beach Golf Resort

Pairing Chardonnay & Artisanal Cheese

This event, which is open to the public, takes place at the Greengate Ranch and Vineyard, in nearby Edna Valley, on Saturday afternoon from 11:30-1:00 pm. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to pair wine and cheese properly, the tasting, discussion, and Q&A at this event offers a chance to learn from experts in the field. The event also includes a world-class tasting of thoughtfully paired artisanal cheese, provided by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, along with acclaimed Chardonnay.

Wine and Cheese pairings


Saturday Grand Tasting

The grand tasting should be the highlight of the weekend’s Chardonnay activities. The grand tasting involves the opportunity to taste a collection of the most refined Chardonnay, highlighting diverse flavor profiles from the U.S. and around the world. Elevate the flavors with small bites and cheese pairings provided by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. View a host of vendor booths and participate in a for-charity silent auction, surrounded by the rolling vines of Greengate Ranch in Edna Valley.

Tastings at a previous year's Chardonnay Symposium
Tastings at a previous year’s Chardonnay Symposium

Avila Lighthouse Suites offers a variety of venues for events, ranging from weddings to corporate retreats. We would be happy to help plan and implement any group event that you might request. Find out more about the options on our website. Thanks for reading!


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