Where tasting room staff and managers are busy pouring wine or attending to customers and business, there are also many dogs & cats busy soaking up the sun or happily greeting guests! While many Santa Barbara County tasting rooms have furry friends of their own, there are also many tasting rooms that welcome dogs to come visit too. We’ve spoken to some wineries about their pet-friendly accommodations: tasty dog treats, water bowls, and some shade from this summer weather. Foxen’s two tasting rooms, The Shack and 7200, both welcome visiting dogs to shade, water, and treats. And they even have some furry friends of their own.
Andrew Murray provides dog accommodation in their main tasting room where their “pet station” has a water bowl and little baggies to keep clean! But more often than not, dogs are welcome in most tasting rooms in the area. But as we did some research—we found that many wineries & tasting rooms have pets of their own. So meet these dogs & cats who appreciate wine just as much as we do.
Our photo journal continues this week with many wineries, including Longoria and Dierberg, sharing their harvest updates. The multi-year drought conditions continue pushing picking dates earlier for many producers than previous years, though not for all. There is a lot of variability being reported from vineyard site to vineyard site with producers forecasting a high quality vintage with smaller yields than 2014. Elsewhere in Santa Barbara Wine Country, Fess Parker Winery & Vineyards on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail recently renovated their outdoor patio, and is a beautiful spot to share a freshly prepared wine country picnic. (Remember to pack your picnics when traveling throughout the region as county regulations don't allow for wineries to operate on-site restaurants.) Many wineries and tasting rooms have designated picnic areas, though we suggest calling ahead to confirm availability.
Longoria Wines was established in 1982 by Rick and Diana Longoria. Rick is one of the pioneers of the Santa Barbara County wine region, having been involved with local wine production since 1976. In 1998 Rick planted his first estate vineyard in Santa Rita Hills, a 10-acre site named Fe Ciega which is planted to 9 acres of Pinot Noir and 1 acre of Chardonnay. Also that year he moved his wine production facility to the city of Lompoc, becoming the first commercial winery there. Rick and Diana also established their tasting room in downtown Los Olivos in 1998. In addition to the Tasting Room in Los Olivos, you are also invited to visit the Longoria Winery in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto. The production of Longoria Wines remains very small with an average of 3,000 cases annually. This small production allows Rick to personally handcraft every wine to a very high standard year after year. Learn more about Longoria Wines.
Comprised of two brands Dierberg Vineyard and Star Lane Vineyard; our wines showcase the different micro-climates and terroir of Santa Barbara County. The Dierberg label focuses on the more delicate and elegant Burgundy varieties; whereas Star Lane focuses on the more robust and powerful Bordeaux varieties. Owners, Jim and Mary Dierberg, began this project in 1996 by purchasing the three properties throughout Santa Barbara County in order to accomplish their goal of producing ultra-premium wines. Their dedication to producing the highest quality wines can be seen from the vineyard selections, through the wine making process, to the wine in your glass. Learn more about Dierberg and Star Lane.
The Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard grew out of Fess' vision for the promise of Santa Barbara County as a premier viticultural region. Established in 1989, the family immediately began planting some of the country's most renowned vineyards. Outstanding fruit sources coupled with skilled winemaking - in the past decade both Eli Parker and later Blair Fox, were named Winemaker of the Year by the San Francisco International Wine Competition - are at the core of delivering wines of the highest quality to our consumer. The winery is located on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail. It is surrounded by pastureland and vineyard with views from the tasting room that take in the majestic San Rafael mountain range. The vibe in the tasting room is casual and friendly and the grounds are a wonderful place to relax and enjoy our world class wines in one of the prettiest spots in Santa Barbara wine country. Learn more about Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard.
Please note: an earlier version of this post inadvertently forget to include Cielito Restaurant and The Far Western Tavern to the list of award winners. Our apologies.
In this month's edition of Wine Spectator, the 2015 Restaurant Awards were announced and seventeen Santa Barbara County restaurants have made the list! With three tiers of award levels, about 3,600 restaurants were awarded worldwide. Congratulations and make sure to add these restaurants to your lists!
Award of Excellence: first tier, "for lists that offer a well-chosen selection of quality producers, along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style. Typically these lists offer at least 90 selections" (Wine Spectator).
The Best of Award of Excellence: second-tier award, "these lists display either vintage depth, with vertical offerings of several top producers from major regions, or excellent breadth spread over several winegrowing regions. These wine lists typically offer 400 or more selections, along with superior presentation; some offer more than 1,000 selections" (Wine Spectator).
And finally, the Grand Award: the highest award, "given to restaurants that show an uncompromising, passionate devotion to the quality of their wine program. These restaurants typically offer 1,500 selections or more, and feature serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vintages, a selection of large-format bottles, excellent harmony with the menu, and superior organization, presentation and wine service" (Wine Spectator).
Every Monday we are going to share a few of our favorite Instagram photos from the previous week. If you want your photos to be possibly featured simply use #sbcwine to grant us permission to repost.
This week we go on a wine country tour for a birthday celebration, go hot air ballooning, and taste wine with a legendary food writer. Your journey starts here...
About Classic Wine Tours: With breathtaking coastal mountains to the east and sublime beaches to the west, Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Our wine country is no exception. If your travels take you to Santa Barbara, a guided tour of the area’s boutique wineries is not to be missed. Travel in the comfort of our fully air conditioned Mercedes Benz Sprinter van, with large windows offering fantastic views of the local vineyards and wineries. Santa Barbara Classic Wine Tours is committed to providing you with an unforgettable experience in the Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez wine country. Your guide will pickup you up at your hotel or other designated location anywhere within the greater Santa Barbara area. Each day tour will consist of four tastings at various wineries and tasting rooms. Included with each tour is an artisan picnic lunch at one of the winery stops. We offer a tailored tour that includes a variety of estate wineries, unique tasting room experiences, and an artisan picnic lunch. Join us for a day exploring all that Santa Barbara wine country has to offer! Learn more.
About Sky's the Limit Ballooning Adventures: Soar to new heights with our daily morning Santa Barbara balloon rides! With over 100 wineries in the scenic Santa Ynez Valley, the year-round near perfect climate and light prevailing winds in the Central Coast makes this an ideal place for ballooning. We offer 45 minutes to 1 hour duration flights that capture views over the beautiful wine country surrounded by Transverse Mountain Ranges, the Channel Islands, Lake Cachuma and the historic towns of Solvang, Los Olivos, Buellton, Santa Maria, and Paso Robles. Learn more.
About Betty Fussell: For the past fifty years, Betty Fussell has been writing articles and books on the subject of what it is to be an American, first looking at movies and theater and then at food. Her most recent, and eleventh, book is Raising Steaks: The Life & Times of American Beef (2008). In this she takes up the historical epic she began in The Story of Corn (1992), which won the IACP’s Jane Grigson Award for Scholarship. In between she wrote a food memoir, My Kitchen Wars (1999), which was performed in Hollywood and New York as a one-woman show by actress Dorothy Lyman. In 2007 she won a James Beard Foundation Award for Journalism for “American Prime” in Saveur’s Steak Issue of July. She was recently celebrated, along with other winners of the Silver Spoon Award, by Food Arts Magazine, for which she has long been a Contributing Authority. Learn more.
Readers of Conde Nast Traveler in 2014 picked their favorite small cities in American and we are thrilled that Santa Barbara made the list. See the complete list of winning destinations here.
Some of our favorite things about Santa Barbara:
1. Wine for everyone. Our region grows more than 50 different types of grapes with chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah, and sauvignon blanc being the most widely available.)
2. A diverse wine country experience with urban and vineyard tasting venues.
3. Wine for lovers. Santa Barbara is a romantic and energizing city.
4. Beautiful beaches and coastline. The Gaviota Coast is one of the world's most stunning locations.
5. Superb food scene. From taquerias to farm-to-table bistos to ice cream shops. (McConnell's ice cream was founded here.)
6. Relaxed, but sophisticated vibe. Imagine surfers partying with polo players.
7. Easy to get to (by plane, train, automobile, bus, and bicycle for the fitness enthusiasts.)
Share below your favorite things about Santa Barbara or use #seesb on Instagram.
Interesting stories from Santa Barbara Wine County.