The California community of Solvang, north of Santa Barbara, is a popular destination for weekend getaways. Tourists flock there to soak in the traditional Danish architecture, culture and cuisine, not to mention an array of gift shops, shoe stores and art galleries.
When I’m in the area, I love to stop at Paula’s Pancake House for a stack of Danish pancakes (dusted with powdered sugar), a side of Danish sausage, and a big glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. I’ve also been known to take along a Danish pastry (the bear claws are my favorite) for an afternoon snack.
Lucky me — I’m in the area often, because Solvang is in the Santa Ynez Valley, which happens to be an important winegrowing area of California’s Central Coast region. And if you’re interested in wine and the environment, you may want to plan a trip to Solvang on Sunday, June 1.
That’s when Coquelicot Estate will hold its 2014 Ladybug Release Party.
A party for ladybugs? Absolutely. Coquelicot is one of a growing number of wineries that uses ladybugs instead of pesticides to keep its grapevines healthy.
A single ladybug can eat as many as 5,000 vine-damaging aphids in its lifetime.
The Coquelicot party runs from 12 noon until 5 p.m., and includes:
• A tour of the vineyard.
• A multi-course barbecue lunch.
• Live music.
• Wine-focused presentations.
• Lots of wine (of course!).
And you’ll want to bring a camera to capture the magic as Coquelicot releases thousands of ladybugs into its vineyard.
The cost is $79 for adults — $24 of which will be donated to the Rosenson Family Foundation children’s charity — or $25 for kids. For further information, call 805-688-1500.