the husband and i had an excellent time in santa barbara on our pseudo-camping trip (i know, i know - i will eventually get to reviewing it!) - and we managed to squeeze in some visits to a few wineries while we were there. we wished we had done a few things differently with regards to the tastings, however. first of all, we would not go on a weekend again - the tasting rooms were very crowded with just enough obnoxious people that put a bit of a damper on the relaxing, lovely experience. secondly, we wished we had someone to escort us, because we couldn't visit as many as we would have liked since we didn't want to drink while intoxicated. we saw some people being driven around by limo - and it just felt a little trashy to me, i have to say. there's a relaxed elegance to most of the vineyards, but the experience shouldn't be about trying to impress anyone - the whole scene is far more down to earth than that. when we got back, i was telling a friend of mine (the same gal who recommended some excellent places to go) about our experience, and she wholeheartedly recommended a tour company called cloud climber that offers jeep tours around the santa barbara/santa ynez wine country. she said that her guide was super knowledgable, and led them to some really great places. for $100, they will guide you around the beautiful countryside to four different wineries, with a stop to pick up some great sandwiches for lunch somewhere in the middle. the $100 also covers all the tasting fees. that sounds worth it to me - we will definitely try it next time.