I may get an earful (postful?) for this- but have you seen the movie Sideways? If not, then full stop. You are visiting Santa Barbara and want to try the wine. Sideways will be necessary viewing before you come out. That movie is straight up CA wine porn.
Moving along, here is a map of the wineries Miles and Jack visit (two main characters in the movie visit)
North of Santa Barbara is a BIG chunk to cover. You might want to specify. How far are you willing to travel Santa Ynez Valley is the name of the wine land in the movie Sideways. There are also a few wineries in San Luis Obispo and a few really good ones in central California (Mondavi & BV). Sonoma is the best known wine country in the state of California though, and that's about an hour north of San Francisco.
7/24 - Stevie Wonder @ Hollywood Bowl
8/6 - HARD - LA State Historic Park
9/3 - FYF @ LA State Historic Park
North of Santa Barbara is a hugeee area to cover but to see that your comin from Australia are you a fan of Pinot? Australia has one of the most suitable landscapes and soil for growing it and have some of the most amazing Pinot.
Anyways, my Uncle owns a winery a bit north of San Francisco. It's the most successful small producing winery according to Wall Street Journal and Sunset Magazine in 2005. They are known for their special blends and all natural pesticide/growing procedures and produce typically 1-4 barrels a year of each wine and port. On average they usually do about 40-60 barrels a year which is incredibly small compared to industrial wineries. On almost every visit you can meet the winemaker himself, hell, he will probably guide you through his vineyards while sipping on a red or white with you, whichever you prefer. Check out the website @ www.kazwinery.com
Its a general store with a cafe inside that has an awesome (simple, tasty, healthy) lunch menu and they also do wine tasting (Hearst Ranch) in the same wee shop. The wine (predominantly reds) was excellent. Top experience.
edit* Just saw your bike around for a couple day post. This Santa Ynez valley is VERY bike friendly by the way.
Let’s just say you want a ‘day trip’ to the Santa Barbara area. If that’s the case, don’t go any further north than Zaca Station Road, which is where Highway 154 intersects back with Highway 101 (in these parts people call these “The 154”, “The 101”, etc…) about 90 minutes north of LA.
You will do a loop on this trip. Just take 101 North along the coast, turn inland, and pass Buellton. Exit Zaca Station Road and follow the signs to the various wineries. Firestone will soon be on your left and further down the road Fess Parker will be on your right (two of the largest in the area). Zaca Station turns into Foxen Canyon Rd. Just explore a few other wineries along the road and then make a U-Turn and go back towads the 101, but don’t get on the 101.
Instead, turn left onto Highway 154 (San Marcos Pass Rd) and in about 5 minutes you’ll be in one of the prettiest, calmest, most relaxing towns in the area, Los Olivos. Pick up lunch from the Deli on Grand Ave or sit down at one of the cafes or restaurants around the corner. In Los Olivos, you can walk to many tasting rooms that wineries in the area have set up. It’s very chill and people are very friendly. In Los Olivos, you can pick up maps of the area and determine if you want to see other wineries or not. You can even drive 5 minutes to check out the gate to Neverland Ranch if you desire.
Just South (continue on 154 and follow the signs), is Santa Ynez, which also has some great friendly places to eat and another yummy deli / grocery store on Mission Dr / 246 called El Rancho Market Place. . If you are itching to gamble, there is an Casino in town as well.
And if you are itching for a Danish Village, continue on Mission Drive (The 246) West and in 5 minutes you’ll end up in Solvang. With a good wine buzz, it’s pretty trippy for about 30 minutes and then you realize you can only take in so many Danish bakeries, toy stores, and wooden clog shops.
Once you are done with Santa Ynez or Solvang, head back on 246 East to where it intersects with 154 and take that South. After 20 minutes and a drive up and down the Santa Ynez Mountains, you’ll end up in Santa Barbara.
As for the wineries mentioned in prior posts (Carmel, San Francisco, Montery, etc….), these aren’t exactly day trips from LA. An hour North of Santa Ynez is Paso Robles, which is another area with hundreds of wineries, but you’ll likely want to stay a night at that point, especially if you start thinking about other attractions, like Hearst Castle. After that, it’s several hours further North to many of the other wine regions mentioned above this post.
Last edited by PlayaDelWes; 03-15-2011 at 12:07 PM.
Originally Posted by dj12inches
What makes me qualified? I've watched EVERY fucking episode of American Idol, and every single episode of The Voice...Forget that I won departmental music awards when I was in the 8th grade choir.
Do the Paso Robles wineries. They're producing world class wines with less of the pretension or price of the more northern wineries. You'll get the care and craft that comes with Napa wines but with a more approachable atmosphere. For a decently sized good winery in Paso, try Justin. They have some fantastic full bodied reds.
Originally Posted by canexplain
Remember Hitler? I don't but here we are again .. cr****
I think your best bet, especially for a nice scenic bike ride with a lot less traffic than the other more visited areas in the Santa Ynez Valley, is to to take Santa Rosa Rd. (if travelling North on HWY 101, it is the exit just before Buellton) and head West. You will be riding along the south side of the Santa Ynez River and there are some really great wineries along that road. I especially recommend Alma Rosa and LaFond Wineries. They are only a 1/4 mile apart and offer incredible quality, if not some of the best wines in the region. Alma Rosa is run by Richard Sanford, who formerly ran Sanford winery (of Sideways fame) before it was bought out by wine consortium (Terlato Wine Group). Richard Sanford is a Zen master of sorts when in comes to wine making and is praised for his Pinots and getting the Santa Rita Hills on the world map.
If you happen to be in the area on a weekend, you should make a stop on Sunday afternoon at Cold Spring Tavern for some tri-tip sandwiches, brew, free live music and just a funky old-style good time in a really beautiful setting. It's also an interesting mix of bikers in their leather gear and bike club patches, along with the mercedes/bmw Santa Barbara crew. http://www.coldspringtavern.com/