Yesterday we saw just how special the Santa Barbara wine region is. If you have the time and are eager for even more wine exploration, consider taking Uber WINE! Yes, that’s right Uber WINE now offers a personal driver that can stay with you all day in Santa Barbara, letting 4-6 riders relax and tour the region’s famous wine country.
Just up the road from Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, consider taking Uber WINE to Bacara Resort & Spa, a breathtaking oceanfront resort with sweeping cliffside views that’s lovely for a weekend escape or a romantic dinner. Their restaurant, Angel Oak, offers exceptional Parisian cuisine from Chef Vincent with the endless Pacific Ocean and pounding surf as your backdrop. Sample roasted bone marrow with oxtail, blue crab cake or lobster with house-made gnocchi gratin.
The Pacific Surfliner runs along the coast, but to get inland another option besides Uber WINE is from the Santa Barbara train station. Passengers can take one of Amtrak’s Thruway buses up to Solvang, Buellton, Lompoc and Santa Maria. Another option is to Uber from one of the train stops just north of Santa Barbara: Goleta, Lompoc-Surf and Guadalupe-Santa Maria. If visiting on a Saturday, then take the train to Santa Barbara and hop on the Clean Air Express bus at the train station or downtown to the Santa Ynez Valley.
Just 35 miles north of Santa Barbara is Solvang, the Danish capital of America; it’s almost Disney Land-like with its windmills, bakeries and Danish shops. If you find yourself in this quaint town, stay in the heart of Solvang at The Landsby. This newly remodeled boutique hotel with 41 rooms features stylish decor with Scandinavian flair and complimentary breakfast. From this sophisticated spot, you can easily venture to the town’s numerous shops, restaurants and 15+ wine tasting rooms.
In Buellton, how can one not miss the Hitching Post II? This bar and restaurant became well known thanks to the 2013 movie “Sideways.” Stay for dinner and American vino while cheers-ing Miles and Jack with a 2013 Cabernet Franc from Buttonwood (in the Santa Ynez Valley) or a Pinot Noir from the Crawford Family. Buellton’s Industrial Way may tickle your fancy with small batch vodka and bourbon from Ascendant Spirits, food and beer tastings at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company, modern counter service at Industrial Eats and more assorted tasting rooms.
If you have the time, spend a day in the Santa Ynez Valley drinking Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon or Sauvignon Blanc. In Los Olivos, tasting rooms abound where you can walk from one to the next and stay right in the heart of it all. We recommend tiny Carhartt Vineyard and Saarloos & Sons.
On the way to Santa Maria or Lompoc, a trip is not complete without a stop in Los Alamos to Bob’s Well Bread Bakery for bread, sandwiches, pastries, croissants, bagels and lox, avocado toast tartine and basically anything on their menu — breakfast is all day and lunch is served until 3 pm. Coffee is stellar and you won’t be able to leave without taking a few extra items to go.
Highlights of your time in the Santa Maria Valley will certainly include stops at the luxurious setting of Presqu’ile with its jaw-dropping scenery and architectural design that feels almost like a mini Getty Villa. After a tour of Presqu’ile’s wine cellar, head over to Cambria Estate Vineyard and Winery to gawk at more vineyard views over a glass of rose.
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With our recent Spring club release, we've asked our team to share some of their favorite pairings with us. Today we begin with our Tasting Room Associate Hollie. She's pairing our new 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir with a mixed green salad topped with grilled chicken, local strawberries, avocado, cucumber, pine nuts, feta cheese and a cranberry/pear/gorgonzola dressing. Yum! The backdrop isn't too shabby either. What's YOUR favorite Rosé pairing?!? #pairing #rosé #pinotnoir #picnic #presquilepairs #teampresquile
During your Lompoc Wine Trail exploration west of Buellton, find sprawling beautiful Babcock Vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills. Owner Bryan Babcock was selected by the Los Angeles Times as one of the ten best winemakers of the year and the prestigious James Beard Foundation named Bryan one of “Top Ten Small Production Winemakers in the World,” the only American chosen for this award. Picnic in the vineyard, drink wine with your friends in their vintage record rock-and-roll fantasy lounge, or eye thousands of one-of-a-kind items you can buy in the warehouse tasting room.
In Lompoc, owner Peter Work greets you at Ampelos Cellars, one of the first vineyards in the US to be certified “Sustainability in Practice, Organic and Biodynamic.” Take pleasure in their wine-making, which is evident in every sip. Another stop on your Lompoc tour should be Palmina Wines. Named after the founder’s Italian grandmother who passed away, Palmina Wines are Italian by inspiration with flavors rooted in Santa Barbara that are intended to be a delicious component of a meal. Indulge in the tasty red 2014 Alisos.
If you plan to stay in Santa Barbara, be wary of hotel prices in the summer since it’s the high season. During November through March better hotel deals can be found where average daily rates are around $200 to $230 and mid week stays are lower. The Hotel Californian is coming soon near the train station. Less pricy hotels include The Wayfarer (a “posh-tel” in the Funk Zone), Hotel Indigo, Hotel Milo, Hyatt Centric and the Kimpton Goodland Hotel in Goleta.
Explore sunny Santa Barbara County’s wine trails; it’s quintessential California!
Feature Image via Madison Holmlund