At the 11th Ramona Art and Wine Festival, almost 400 participants had an opportunity to appreciate both art and various types of wine.
Kicking off at 11 in the morning and lasting up to 5 in the evening, the event had about 50 artists and sellers, local musicians, top-notch chefs and a dozen or so regional vineyards and cider factories at Begent Ranch. Time seemed to fly as festival attendees were spoilt for choice.
A local guitar player, Sam Powell, welcomed visitors to the first section inside the main barn, filled with tranquil classical music. The 2Create Gallery displayed a range of paintings and art pieces that provided a visual treat.
Full-time artists and enthusiasts alike had stalls outdoors, selling their handmade goods, including paintings, jewelry, home decorations, wine accessories, ceramics, plants, candles, soaps, leather bags, hats and charcuterie boards.
Jamie Dougherty had her mixed-media art displayed near the food vendors who offered small bites to eat. This year was Dougherty’s fourth time at the Ramona Arts and Wine Festival. Her painting of a guitar with grape vines crawling up and a wine glass beside it was one of the two honorable mentions for the festival’s commemorative art competition.
“I’ve exhibited and done their auctions in the past and I’ve been a working artist for 20 years,” Dougherty said.
Nature is one of the inspirations for Dougherty’s art, and she said she has found no shortage of it in Ramona, where she was born and raised. Being a working artist is more than just selling artwork, Dougherty said. Traveling to teach classes and working with manufacturers to design products is another part of it.
Other artists, like Shannon Robinson, owner of Winsome and Wicked Handmade Soapery, use art as a fun side Hobby to support other small businesses.
“Almost a year ago I was watching a Tik Tok video of someone making soap and was like ‘I could do that,’” Robinson said. “Then I started my venture.”
Over time Robinson, who is engaged in the field of marketing, self-taught how to make soap through a cycle of trial and error and soon identified wine as her soap’s unique component.
Among these creations are Chardy Party, a soap that is infused with Pamo Valley Winery chardonnay; Portentous soap which incorporates Pamo Valley Winery port and emits an aroma of chocolate and dark cherries; and Surprise Me, a soap that is fused with Hatfield Creek Vineyards & Winery’s wine.
“The sheer enjoyment comes from the process of exploring my potential to create something and successfully doing so,” Robinson shared.
Local wineries generously poured wine throughout the afternoon. One such winery was Sky Valley Cellars, which graced this year’s festival with their 2021 Sangiovese Rose, 2020 Sangiovese, Petit Syrah, and Syrah. Houman Dahi, Sky Valley Cellars’ owner, indicated that 2020 marked the winery’s debut in commercial wine production, having only been open for tasting sessions for the past half-year.
“We are just starting out, but we’ve already experienced considerable success in regional wine competitions,” expressed Dahi.
Their Rose Sangiovese received commendable recognition as Best of Class Double Gold at the DC Commercial Wine Competition with an impressive score of 96. Moreover, their 2020 Sangiovese won a silver award amidst 2,000 entries from California at the previous year’s Orange County Wine Competition.
In Dahi’s perspective, winemaking appeared to be a tranquillizing past-time after concluding his duties in his primary profession as a physician.
“I was completely wrong,” he said with a laugh. “I get moments of relaxation, it’s not bad.”
Relaxation seemed to float through the air as gentle music could be heard outside by bands Dirty Confetti and Frank and Rob.
Event-goer Chris Ingalls brought his whole family to the festival. Ingalls, who lives in San Clemente, said he camps at Hatfield Creek Vineyards & Winery all the time and plays guitar there.
“It’s awesome, it’s always great,” he said. “We’ve been probably four or five years in a row and we love it here.”
Ingalls expressed his gratitude for having everything consolidated in one location this year, eliminating the need to drive from one winery to another. He said that he particularly relished the Zinfandel and Fonzi blend from Hatfield Creek this year.
In the past, he bought a painted barrel which was adorned with scenic illustrations of Ramona.
He added, “We set it up in the small lounge area of our house. It serves as a small piece of Ramona in our home.”