- Reply by EMark, Jan 15.
Well, DJ, I like Ojai Vineyard because I like their wines. Their tasting room is in the town of Ojai south of Santa Barbara. It is pretty plain jane, although, Ojai is a nice little town. If you can procure Ojai Vineyards wherever you live, I don't see any particular reason for you to visit the tasting room. There are no other wineries in the general area.
I'll let somebody else talk about what might be available within the limits of the city of Santa Barbara.
North of the city, I think you would want to look at the towns of Santa Ynez and Lompoc. Places that you might want to check out would be Qupe and Stolpman, Melville, Ken Brown and Loring Wine Co. These makers have various respected offerings from, mostly, Rhone grapes or Burgundy grapes. Palmina is an interesting one in Lompoc that is offering wines from Italian grapes.
- Reply by napagirl68, Jan 15.
I would start out up in Foxen canyon, and then head to Los Olivos. Los Olivos is comprised of a few blocks of tasting rooms (not full fledged wineries), but is quaint, and you can taste many wines. Then you could head west to Lompoc if you like. Lompoc has some good wines (more pinot here), but it is not picturesque. In fact they call the warehouse-like area of tasting rooms the Lompoc Wine Ghetto.
I have not visited here, but was told, if you like Pinot, go to Lompoc by more than one tasting person in Los Olivos.
I spent some time here in Los Olivos, and second Emark's recommendation of Stolpman and Qupe. I also liked Alexander and Wayne (like their Bordeaux blends) and Epiphany's white rhones.
You're going to get your views and winery experiences here on the Foxen Canyon wine trail. My schedule unfortunately did not allow a stop here, but it is on my list to visit. I have heard good things about Foxen Canyon Winery, but have not personally tasted. Perhaps do a little research on this area.
- Reply by madmanny, Jan 16.
I enjoyed visiting Rusack - up a pretty road and not overcrowded.
Also, Stolpman is nearby and has a new tasting room at the vineyard. Haven't seen it but looking forward to my next trip out.
Both fit the scenic requirement.
- Reply by jamesy, Jan 23.
5 yrs ago, bought an '06 Santa Barbara County Syrah (actually 6 of them) from a winemaker named CLEB wines. It was "Evelyn Noir Syrah" from Black Oak Vineyard. I think I paid $17. After trying 3 of them over the first 3 yrs, I gave up and just figured it to be a bad choice, a mouthfull of tanins shrouded in alcohol. They were moved to the bottom of the cellar in the "dont really care dept".
I decided my cellar needed a cleaning out cycle so the other 3 got moved upstairs to wine fridge there thinking, I'll just give this one more chance to redeem itself.
Well my friends, THIS is why we even have a cellar- DUH!!! What the past 2 yrs did to that wine is phenomenal. The silken, fruity, earthy concentration of flavors that flattered in turn the salad the scalloped potatoes and the marinated grilled tenderloin was a scene of stacking pleasure upon pleasure as the meal unfolded and that amazing Rhone clone showed it stuff; opening further as the evening progressed. I would not take $50 each for the final 2! Which have, by the way been relocated to the TOP shelf in my "Wine for TreasuredGuests" dept.
Moral: be a little patient with a well structured wine and it will most often pay wonderful dividends. So many of the mid priced Cal. wines are made for right now.. its fun and they drink pretty well and all but they will NEVER yield the kind of brilliance that patience and "breeding" offers- albeit at a point somewhere down the road.
- Reply by jescobio, Jan 23.
Epiphany Vineyards, http://www.epiphanycellars.com/ in Los Olivos, its at the end of the street. Amazing stuff for such a small vineyard. Also a huge fan of Dragonnette Cellars, http://dragonettecellars.com/. Most of their stuff needs to be aged but great for tasting and the staff is very knowledgable.
If you are in the mood for fun and its getting late and you have finally been WINED OUT go to Carhartt Vineyards, http://www.carharttvineyard.com/. They stay open a littler later. Not fantastic stuff but great family owned vineyard with fun people.