WATSONVILLE—In 2018, the inaugural Wine, Beer & Art Walk was held in downtown Watsonville.
The event was a big success, selling out and seeing hundreds of people strolling along the downtown corridor, checking out local businesses while sampling local wine and brews and viewing local art. It returned the following, and all signs pointed to it becoming an annual event before the pandemic shut it down in 2020 and 2021.
But the event, headed up by the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture and the City of Watsonville, is returning Aug. 20, with 22 businesses and organizations hosting a slew of regional wineries, breweries and artists.
“We always planned to bring this back,” said Pajaro Valley Chamber CEO Shaz Roth. “It gives a huge boost to our downtown area, with visitors coming in and also locals celebrating all their hometown has to offer.”
Roth reported that ticket sales for this year’s event are going well. Tickets are $35 when online (bit.ly/3zkfiq4) two weeks before the event, and $40 the day of the event. One ticket includes a wine glass, a tote bag and a passport book featuring all downtown locations, where you can sample up to 22 wineries and breweries. Attendees must be 21 and older.
People from across the greater Bay Area have attended the event in previous years, Roth said.
“I met a couple from San Ramon … they had found the event on Eventbrite,” she said. “They had never been to downtown Watsonville and decided to check it out. The woman said it was one of the best wine events they’d ever been to, that the community was so welcoming, friendly and that they’d definitely be back.”
Santa Cruz Cider Company, owned by sisters Nicole Todd and Natalie Henze, will participate in the event for the first time this year.
“It’s great, because Watsonville is where it all began. We like donating things and giving back to the city, especially to downtown,” Todd said. “Hopefully we will have plenty of local folks attending, especially those who maybe don’t know there’s a cidery in town.”
Santa Cruz Cider will set up at SHEF, a vintage housewares store located on Main Street that just opened last year. They will be offering samples of their locally-produced hard ciders, including their seasonal Strawberry Cider.
“It’s cool because Tabitha [Stroup] of Friend in Cheeses [Jam Company] works out of that same space,” Todd said. “We’ve used some of her leftover fruit in our cider. It’s just a great connection of women-owned businesses.”
Other featured wineries and breweries include: Watsonville Public House, Anatum Wines, Pelican Ranch Winery, Martin Ranch Winery, Windy Oaks Estate Winery, El Vaquero Winery, Quintessential Wines, Martinelli’s, The Slough Brewing Collective, Other Brother Beer Co., Regan Vineyards Winery, Clos LaChance Winery, La Cantina Brewing Company, Serventi Ranch Hard Cider, Fruition Brewing, Integrity Wines, Wargin Wines, Hecker Pass Winery, Kirigin Wines and Buena Vista Brewery.
Roth says she hopes the event will continue to be an annual showcase.
“I’m really hoping that we will end up with a 20th annual,” she said. “It’s drawing people into our businesses—physically into them, allowing them to taste our local wine and beer, and supporting local artists. It’s just very local-centric. We need that.”
The Wine, Beer & Art Walk will be held Aug. 20, 1-5pm. Check-in will be held 12:30-2pm at the Civic Plaza Lobby, on the corner of Second and Main streets. Free parking is available at two downtown parking garages (260 Rodriguez St. or on West Beach Street between Main and Rodriguez streets). Dogs are not allowed. For information and tickets visit bit.ly/3zkfiq4.