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What we drink around here: Fans of NorCal’s Russian River Brewing Company, listen up. While Russian River awaits the opening of its new brewhouse in February, Firestone Walker Brewing Company will be picking up the slack. Word on the street is Firestone has offered to brew several batches of Russian River’s popular Pliny the Elder brew to keep up with demand. How friendly is that? … Speaking of Firestone Walker, their award-winning beers will be flowing all day long at Madonna Inn’s Oktoberfest event, kicking off Oct. 10 at the Madonna Expo Center, and tickets are still available! … The Paso Robles Downtown Wineries are gearing up for their first ever Sip & Swing Harvest Wine Fest, Oct. 4 from noon to 4 p.m. It’s all going down at Derby Wine Estates in Paso Robles with music by Tipsy Gypsies and wines from 16 knockout producers (call 238-6300 for more information).

Wine time

Date night: The Market in Santa Maria will feature its new Friday Night Flights series where local wine producers are the stars of the show. This October, enjoy the wine pairing for $15 per person featuring Tolosa Winery accompanied by fine nibbles (for more information, call 925-7766) … Check out exceptional vineyard tours and barrel tasting activities courtesy of Pianetta Winery in Paso Robles Oct. 2 (call 226-4005 for details) … Louie Ortega will rock the stage at Poalillo Vineyards in Paso Robles on Oct. 4, so get your groove on … Enjoy a rare opportunity to spend a beautiful fall evening at Tinaquaic, one of Santa Barbara County’s only dry farmed vineyards this Oct. 9 (dinner also provided; call 937-4251 for information) … Head down to Fiddlehead Cellars in Lompoc on Oct. 12 for fun cellar shenanigans and tasting (call 800-251-1225 for information, and ask to hear their hilarious harvest stories).

Hands on

Salad for dummies: FARMstead Ed’s Plant Your Palate class is right around the corner this Oct. 4. Take a tour of Windrose Farms in Paso Robles and enjoy a presentation on what kind of salad fixings grow well in the area (you even get to leave with your own self-planted wooden pallet!). For those who are still craving luscious heirloom tomatoes, check out the Everything Tomatoes event on Oct. 5, which will feature a farm fresh lunch, secrets to making tomato jam courtesy of the Jam Diva, and sample zesty sauces. For all the info on both classes, visit … Tune up your bike because it’s almost time for the 13th Annual Wine & Roses Bicycle Ride, North County’s boutique spin through wine country Oct. 11. Funds go to local charities and barbecue/wine tasting is included. Sounds like a productive—and pleasant—day to get your sweat on. 

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