so, i am heading to santa barbara for a long weekend! hooray! we are fancy-camping at el capitan canyon, so i will be sure to post a review when i return. you might recall that i am a bit of an indoor girl, so in case we need a diversion from all the wilderness stuff, i asked a friend who knows about wine to offer up her recommendations for some vineyards to visit. she notes that there are so many more to choose from, but that these are her favorites on both counts of wine and atmosphere. here we come, sideways style! (minus miles' depression, loneliness,and anxiety, i hope!)
- sunstone - open daily 10am - 4pm, $7 tasting fee (125 refugio road, santa ynez +805.688.9463) directions? coming from the south, take highway 101 north. exit highway 246 buellton, and turn right. follow highway 246 all the way through solvang and into santa ynez. turn right on refugio road. sunstone is located down by the santa ynez river, just before, on the right.
- sanford - open daily 11am - 5pm, $5 tasting fee (7250 santa rosa road, buellton +805.688.3300) directions? sanford winery is located just outside of buellton, five miles west of highway 101 on santa rosa road. it is a one-hour drive north of santa barbara, 150 miles north of los angeles and 300 miles south of san francisco. driving from santa barbara, take the santa rosa road off ramp (it is before the main exit to buellton and solvang). at the stop sign, turn left over the freeway to another stop sign, and left again, then you will be on santa rosa road. proceed west 4.8 miles to 7250 santa rosa road. the entrance way is on the left and a small sign says "sanford winery tasting room" is at the entrance. proceed up the gravel drive through the vineyards, to the left across a creek built of stone, to the tasting room and office.
- blackjack - open thursday through monday 11am to 5pm. (2205 alamo pintado road, solvang +805.686.9922 ) directions? from the intersection of highway 101 and 246 in buellton, go east toward solvang. proceed through solvang to the stoplight intersection of 246 and alamo pintado road. go left (north) proceed four miles and blackjack ranch winery will be on your left at 2205 alamo pintado road.
- melville - open 11am to 4pm daily. (5185 east highway 246, lompoc +805.735.7030) directions? from the 101, exit for highway 246 towards lompoc/solvang. turn left at highway 246, and drive approximately 9 miles until you see melville.
- the hitching post - bar opens at 4pm, dinner available from 5pm to 930pm. (406 east highway 246, buellton +805.688.0676) directions? take highway 101 to the lompoc/solvang exit. travel east towards solvang for 1 1/2 miles. the hitching post is on the right side of highway 246.
- kalyra - open m-f 11am to 4:45 pm, saturday and sunday 10am to 4:45pm. (343 north refugio rd. santa ynez +805.693.8864) directions? from highway 101, exit highway 246 buellton, and turn right. follow highway 246 all the way through solvang and into santa ynez. turn right on refugio road.
it is duly noted that there is a tasting room right next door to the santa ynez inn that has great wines from santa barbara wineries that don't have tasting rooms... also noted is the not-my-style decor of the santa ynez inn.
this article from santabarbaraca.com is really informative... it gives a full rundown of the wine regions in the santa barbara area, and mentions wineries to visit and places to stay.
also check out the website for the santa barbara vintner's association for events and tastings... they have some printable maps of the area that are really useful - all the vineyards are marked with a picture of their respective labels, in case you drink enough to recognize by label (i wish i did!)
i love a good farmer's market, and santa barbara plays host to my favorite ever, downtown every saturday from 8:30 to 12:30, on the corner of santa barbara and cota streets.
and if you want to pretend you are not only camping, but also in provence (yay!), you could go to clairmont farms, a lovely, family-owned lavender farm. i may have to save that for my next trip - don't want to mix my metaphors, shall we say.