August 23, 2007
A Makeover for Wine Garden


Kathy and Larry Holbertson of Sacramento are among the more fortunate visitors to the wine garden at the State Fair. They got a seat, a table, some shade and some solitude as they tasted wine.

Next year, more visitors to the wine garden may share their good fortune. Details have yet to be worked out, but State Fair officials, recognizing the popularity of the wine-tasting pavilion, hope to expand the facility so it can seat around 300 people, about double its current capacity, as well as provide more shade, says Michael Bradley, the fair's chief of exhibits.

The wine garden this year was extended south, but it's still not big enough to handle the crowd. An expansion next year also would include more counter space, which hasn't been extended substantially in recent years, resulting in congestion, long waits for service, and potential customers giving up and walking away with their thirst for wine unslaked.

Bradley says the expansion also probably will include some sort of outdoor kitchen to provide more culinary options for wine-garden visitors, as well as opportunities to taste olive oils, cheeses and the like.

The cost and the means of financing the improvements have yet to be determined, Bradley says. "We hope to take that space and make it more user friendly," he says. "There are a lot of unknowns with that site. We still have to do our homework," he adds, noting that the space occupied by the pavilion once was a lagoon. Not filled with wine, presumably.

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