California Wine Regions
Napa Valley
Sonoma County
Bay Area
Monterey County
San Luis Obispo
Santa Barbara
California Areas
When to Visit
Winery List


Types of Wine
Wine Making
Wine Labels
Choosing Wine
Serving Wine
Tasting Wine
Storing Wine
Food and Wine
Wine Facts
Wine Quotes
Wine Humor

More Info.

Wine Links
Link this Site
Contact Us

Santa Barbara County

I am particularly fond of the Santa Barbara County wine country. Although the area and the wines are gaining recognition as a premier wine-producing region, it is still uncrowded, at least when compared to Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Though only two hours from Los Angeles, the drive down narrow roads winding through vineyards and ranches can seem like a world away.

The expansion of the wine industry in the area can be reflected in one statistic: in 1989, vineyards were selling 70% of their crops to northern buyers, however by 1996, only 56% were sold to other regions. This fact shows two things: first, Napa and Sonoma wineries knew the quality of the grapes were excellent, and second, the local wineries realized that the same grapes grapes could be made into great wines locally.

With the exception of the few wineries in the city of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara County wineries are bordered by the town of Solvang at the south and Santa Maria at the north. Most are located within minutes of Highways 101, 246 or 154. A touring map provided by the Santa Barbara County Vintner's Association may be picked up from most any winery.

Andrew Murray Vineyards
2901A Grand Ave., Los Olivos / 805-686-9604

The tasting room is one of the newer "storefront" tasting rooms in Los Olivos, but don't let that distract you- the wines are excellent. Focusing exclusively on Rhone varietals, the Roussanne ($25) exhibited flavors of honey-apricot and had a long, lingering finish and the Viogner ($25) was fruity with pineapple and dried-apricot flavors. The Syrah "Les Coteaux" ($18) had deep black cherry, cassis, raspberry and black pepper flavors while the "Hillside Reserve" Syrah ($25) tasted of cherry, cassis, black pepper and oak. Stephanie, the tasting hostess even offered us her own private selection of chocolate-covered cherries to taste with the Syrah- it was wonderful!

Babcock Vineyards
5175 E. Hwy. 246, Lompoc / 805-736-1455

Babcock is one of the more out-of-the-way wineries in the area. A $2 tasting fee will bring you a wide selection of wines. My favorite was the Cuvee Lestat Syrah ($32) which has intense fruit flavors, soft tannins and a long smooth finish, and the Riverbreak Claret ($9) which had a light berry flavor and was one of the best valued wines in the valley. They also produce several Chardonnays, several Sauvignon Blancs, Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and several blends. Bryan Babcock, the winemaker, was the only American winemaker chosen as one of the "Top Ten Small Production Winemakers in the World" at a James Beard Foundation event in New York City.

Beckmen Vineyards
2670 Ontiveros Road, Los Olivos / 805-688-8664

Beckmen, whose Spartan tasting room is housed in a barn-like structure, is a no-nonsense, friendly winery. The tasting manager, Michael Donahue, is likely to ask what you like in a wine and will even suggest other wineries if your tastes are outside their realm. The Sauvignon Blanc ($12) was non-grassy with flavors of melon, the Select Chardonnay ($20) was smooth with citrus and a buttery finish, the Grenache ($16) tasted of berries and dried herbs, and the Muscat Canelli ($10) was somewhat spicy with orange and tangerine flavors.

Bedford Thompson Winery and Vineyard
9303 Alisos Canyon Road, Los Alamos / 805-344-2047

This tasting room located in a small, rustic farmhouse that is easy to pass by unnoticed, but that is where the humbleness ends. Stephan Bedford was the former winemaker at Rancho Sisquoc and David Thompson is the experienced vineyard owner. Their 1994 Syrah is one of the best I've ever tasted- fruity with nice tannins and a lingering finish. They also produce a very good Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay.

Blackjack Ranch Vineyards & Winery
2205 Alamo Pintado Road, Solvang / 805-686-9922

Blackjack Ranch opened the doors of it's rustic tasting room on December 31, 1999. They specialize in Chardonnays and they offered three: a Central Coast with Orangepeel and Butterscotch flavors, a Reserve with flavors of pineapple and toasty oak, and a Reserve with Tangerine and Mandarin orange flavors. They also offer a Pinot Noir and a red Bordeaux-type blend that exhibited flavors of jammy plum and raspberry fruit.

The Brander Vineyard/Domain Santa Barbara
Hwy. 154 at Roblar Ave. / 805-688-2455

The wine tasting room is located in what appears to be a stark, old-world Italian chateau, although the tasting room is actually fairly young. The $2.50 tasting fee is applied to your purchase. Wines are produced under both the Brander and Domain Santa Barbara labels. Brander specializes in Sauvignon Blanc (Fred Brander's first crush won his, and Santa Barbara County's, first gold medal at the L.A. County Fair) which had aromas of citrus peel, melon and cut greens and the Sauvignon had flavors of nectarine, mint and grapefruit. An estate-grown Merlot had flavors of raspberry jam but my favorite is the Bouchet, a blend of red Bordeaux varietals with cherry, blackberry and black cherry flavors.

Wines under the Domain Santa Barbara label consisted of three Chardonnays (the primary focus) and a Pinot Gris. The 1998 Santa Barbara County Chardonnay was excellent and exhibited flavors of tropical fruit, papaya and honey.

Bridlewood Winery
3555 Roblar Ave., Santa Ynez / 805-688-9000

Upon driving into the winery complex, with it's spanish-style fountain adjacent to the parking lot, you get the feeling that Bridlewood is no ordinary winery. The mission-style, wood-beamed tasting room opened in April, 1999 on the site of a former horse ranch. In fact, all of the original buildings on the 105 acre spread are still in use as the tasting room and production facilities. Bridlewood Winery is a winery not to be missed. The wines are among the best I've tasted from any Santa Barbara County winery, the selection if gifts is among the best I've seen at any winery, and they also offer a selection of deli items. Better yet, there are several quiet areas, including a courtyard with fountain, in which to picnic and enjoy the views. The staff is very friendly and accomodating (as was our host Keith Biggar) and $5.00 allows one to taste 7 selections from the impressive wine selection.

Wine Notes: Bridlewood focuses on the grapes that grow best for each vineyard climate. They produce Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah and a Rhone-style red. The Chenin Blanc had a toasty quality with flavors of peach and nectarine and the Sauvignon Blanc had aromas of figs, key lime and honey. My favorites are the reds. The Merlot and Zinfandel were better than average for this region, The Cabernet Sauvignon had bold, up-front flavors of plum and dark fruit, and the fruity Pinot Noir had flavors of wild blackberries and black cherry. Their goal is to make "the best Syrah possible" and they make one of my favorites, with up-front flavors of currant and blackberry and a smoky finish. Their "signature wine," called Arabesque, is a Rhone-style blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignane and Syrah. Although they are not always available at the winery, the Zinfandel and the tannic and fruity Cabernet Franc are my favorite and are worth looking for.

Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard
1500 Alamo Pintado Road, Solvang / 805-688-3032

Buttonwood's tasting room resembles a large homey, wood-beamed country kitchen. Here you can purchase wine and kitchen-related gifts and even artwork from local artists. The staff is always friendly and on sunny days the white wines are tasted at an outside bar beside a rustic garden.

Wine Notes: Buttonwood produces Marsanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and white and red blends. The Marsanne (100%) was light and floral with flavors of apricots. The Merlot was full-bodied and tannic with flavors of plum and black cherries, the Cabernet Franc had flavors of plum and black pepper, and the Syrah-Cabernet was tannic with flavors of plum and black cherries. They also produce a fine Meritage-style wine called Trevin that is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Wines under the winemaker's private label called Kalyra include an intense and sweet Orange Muscat, a very good Vintage Port and a rich, Sherry-like Tawny Port. Most grapes are estate grown.

Byron Winery
5230 Tepusquet Road, Santa Maria / 805-937-7288

The Byron wine tasting room is a wood-sided facility, surrounded by grapevines and perched on a wooded hillside above Tepusquet Creek. The tasting room is small, with some gift and food items, and there is a nice picnic area with a stunning view. Founded in 1984, Byron completed a state-of-the-art gravity-flow winery in 1984. The winery is now owned by Robert Mondavi. The winery focuses on wines made in the traditional Burgundian style. The winery offered Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, several Chardonnays and a blend called Lineage (available only at the winery) with light notes of citrus and melon. Also available are a Pinot Noir with raspberry jam, currnat and plum flavors, and an Estate Pinot Noir (my personal favorite) with smoky notes and flavors of black cherry and currant. Although not available on my last trip, the winery has produced one of my favorite non-grassy Sauvignon Blancs.

Cambria Winery & Vineyard
5475 Chardonnay Lane, Santa Maria / 805-937-8091

Cambria Winery, situated in the northernmost area of the Santa Barbara wine region, is well worth going out of your way for. They have an attractive, airy tasting room and one of the best wine selections in the region. The $5 tasting fee includes a logo glass. The Cambria winemaking philosophy is one of minimalism: enhance the subtleties of the naturally intense grape flavors with judicious use of winemaking techniques to heighten, not suppress complexity.

Wine Notes: The extensive wine list consisted of 20 wines. The whites consisted of Pinot Blanc, Tepusquet Vineyard Viognier, the creamy, melony Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay, a pear and nutty Reserve Chardonnay and a Select Chardonnay. My favorite was the Viognier which had floral and honeysuckle aromas and a creamy, dry finish. The reds consisted of no less than five Pinot Noirs, a Tepusquet Vineyard Syrah with boysenberry and black pepper qualities, three Tepusquet Vineyard Sangioveses and two Barberas. My favorite red was the Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir which had raspberry jam and plum flavors. Dessert wines consisted of an excellent Late Harvest Viognier with intense apricot and orange peel flavors and a Blanc de Noir, and a Brut Rose was available.

Curtis Winery
5429 Foxen Canyon Road, Los Olivos / 805-686-8999

Curtis Winery was established by the Firestone family to focus on premium Rhone varietals. The white, open-beamed tasting room is approximately three years old and offers some gift and deli items. There is a trail that connects the Curtis winery to Firestone Vineyards. Curtis produces Viognier, Syrah and several Rhone varietal blends. Of special note: the Viognier had flavors of unripe apricots and vanilla. There were two vintages of Ambassador's Vineyard Syrahs: one with jammy plum and black cherry flavors and a later vintage with blueberry and cranberry flavors.

Domaine Santa Barbara
See The Brander Vineyard

Epiphany Cellars
2973 Grand Ave., Los Olivos / 805-686-2424

Eli Parker opened expanded his winemaking reach with his Epiphany Cellars-- focusing on single, designated vineyard wines. The tasting room occupies a corner storefront on the popular Grand Avenue in Los Olivos. Epiphany produces Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, a Washington State Aligote, Syrah and a spicy, raspberry and cherry flavored Grenache/Syrah blend called Revelation. Aside from these wines being very good quality, they are very reasonably priced.

Fess Parker Winery
6200 Foxen Canyon Road, Los Olivos / 805-688-1545

The winery, looking somewhat like an expansive wood and stone European hunting lodge, is one of the most impressive facilities in the Santa Ynez Valley. Fess Parker (of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone TV fame) is often in the tasting room on weekends to sign bottles and talk with visitors. Once after telling him of our 8-week old son, he signed a bottle: "To Adam, no wine before your time." Under the direction of Fess' son Eli, the winery produces some excellent, award winning wines. The list of wines available for sale is extensive. Tastings usually consist of five wines for $3.00 including a logo (a coonskin cap, of course) glass. There is a large wine-oriented gift selection (many items featuring the coonskin cap) and there is an outdoor BBQ on some summer weekends. This is a prime location for a picnic, as there are parklike grounds to sit under a tree and tables and chairs surrounding the visitor center. For those looking for a beautiful location to host a wedding or other occasion, Fess Parker Winery is my choice for this area.

Wine Notes: The creamy Chardonnay was complex with flavors of pear, citrus, toast and honey, the flavorful Viognier had notes of melon, apricots, pears and honey and the White Riesling had a honeysuckle aroma and a light, toasty flavor. The "American Tradition Reserve" Meritage (my personal favorite) exhibited flavors of green olive, plum, cassis and black cherry and a hint of pepper and anise. The Syrah had aromas of plum, cherry and currant and the Merlot exhibited flavors of black pepper and black cherry.

Firestone Vineyards
5017 Zaca Station Road, Los Olivos / 805-688-3940

Firestone was the first commercial winery in the Santa Ynez Valley to produce wine from locally grown grapes. The impressive winery, a brainchild of owner and tire company heir Brooks Firestone, is located in several massive wood and stone buildings and offers one of the best guided tours in the area- one of the few that I would recommend as a "don't miss." They produce full complement of wines (and even beer), including a consistently excellent Johannisberg Riesling, and Chardonnay and Merlot. The very large tasting room, which is usually quite crowded on weekends, offers a nice selection of unique wine-related gifts.

Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery
1711 Alamo Pintado Road, Solvang / 805-688-9327

Foxen Vineyard
7200 Foxen Canyon Road, Santa Maria / 805-937-4251

You won't find many tasting rooms more rustic than Foxen's. Located in a small roadside "barn," with newspaper clippings tacked to the walls, this Spartan winery hasn't changed in years. Don't let the atmosphere influence your opinion of the wines-- they are among the most respected in the area. Although I had previously remarked about the lack of friendliness of the tasting hosts, I have noticed a vast improvement in the last several years (starting with hostess Katherine Clark) to the point that I look forward to my visits here.

Wine Notes: Foxen specializes in red wines but they had several Chardonnays that were much better than average, my favorite being the Tinaquaic Vineyard which had complex and creamy buttery and nutty flavors. The reds consisted of a jammy Syrah with raspberry and black pepper flavors, a good Cabernet Sauvignon, a light and peppery Cabernet Franc, and an equally flavorful Merlot with qualities of cherry, plum and spice. The three Pinot Noirs were equally excellent: the Bien Nacido Vineyard had aromas of leather and toasted marshmallow and the Julia's Vineyard had plum and vanilla flavors.

Gainey Vineyard
3950 E. Hwy. 246, Santa Ynez / 805-688-0558

Gainey is one of the most popular (and crowded) wineries in Santa Barbara County, offering excellent picnic facilities (some tables located at the edge of their vineyards) and live music in the summer. There are two tastings offered in the long Spanish style tasting room, where whites and reds are offered at opposite ends. Gainey produces one of the most popular Johannisburg Rieslings you'll find anywhere, along with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. There is also a small selection of cheeses and crackers for an impromptu picnic, if you can find an open picnic table.

Daniel Gehrs Wines
2939 Grand Ave., Los Olivos / 805-693-9686

The Daniel Gehrs tasting room is one of the many Grand Avenue storefronts but once inside, has the feeling of a charming antique store- complete with 2 roaming Siamese cats. There is a large selection of unique gift items here and the staff is always very friendly. When the weather permits, some tastings are conducted at a small tasting bar in a rear patio area behind the tasting room.

The wines consisted of a nice, light, fruity Monterey County Chenin Blanc, an off-dry Riesling, Pinot Noir, a spicy and fruit-forward Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, a spicy Shiraz (good BBQ wine) and a raisiny Fireside Port. Daniel's daughter (and our tasting hostess) has produced several of her own wines under the label of Vixen Wines, which are also available here. The reasonably-priced Fireside Port is one of my favorite Ports in the area and is produced from the true Portuguese Tinta Cao varietal.

Giessinger Winery
100 State Street, Santa Barbara / 805-568-0820

Kalyra Winery
343 N. Refugio Road, Santa Ynez / 805-693-8864

Kalyra Winery opened it's doors in February 2002 in the tasting room previously occupied by LinCourt Cellars and the Santa Ynez Winery. There is no doubt that Kalyra is the best of the bunch. Alex, the wine host, guided us through a very relaxed and friendly tasting. The wines consisted of a non-grassy Sauvignon Blanc, a rich, buttery Chardonnay, Blanc de Cabernet, a red table wine, and Merlot. The dessert wines consist of Orange Muscat, Black Muscat, Vintage Port and Tawny Port. The ports have long been among my favorites in the valley. In addition to the Kalyra label, Australian wines under the M. Brown label are available, consisting of Riesling and Shiraz. The tasting room sells some gift items and the winery grounds are available for event hosting.

Koehler Winery
5360 Foxen Canyon Road, Los Olivos / 805-686-8484

Owners Peter and Kory Koehler started the winery in 1998 and opened the rustic tasting room in April, 2001. The tasting room, with mustard colored walls and antique furniture, is built upon barn that existed on the property. The winery mascot is bison named Sampson that wanders about the winery grounds. From what I see from their first release, I suspect Koehler will have quite a good reputation in the area. All grapes, aside from the Pinot Noir, are estate grown.

Wine Notes: The Sauvignon Blanc had flavors of pear and pineapple, the Chenin Blanc exhibited apple and melon flavors and the Chardonnay had notes of apple and citrus with clove and banana on the finish. The Pinot Noir had essences of cherry and spice and the off-dry Riesling had flavors of apricot and melon. Although their reds (other than the Pinot Noir) had not been released at the time of my last visit, I was fortunate to try the Cabernet Sauvignon (which I enjoyed enough to make an advance sale) which exhibited full-bodied raspberry and currant flavors.

Mosby Winery
9496 Santa Rosa Road, Buellton / 805-688-2415

Mosby,, located just west of the freeway in Buellton, first appears to resemble a working farm. The winery specializes in Italian varietals, including Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Pinot Grigio, Dolcetto and Grappa di Traminer, and there are some wines marketed under the Vega label.

Rancho Sisquoc Winery
6600 Foxen Canyon Road, Santa Maria / 805-934-4332

The Rancho Sisquoc Winery is situated on a a 38,000 acre cattle ranch and the winery consistently has what I would consider among the best wines in Santa Barbara County. The entrance to the ranch is marked by the historic San Ramon Chapel and a long, narrow, scenic road leads to the winery. There is a nice picnic area with an expansive view of the ranch and there is live music in the summer. The tasting room is rustic and offers few gift items and a small deli selection. I stop here every time I'm in the valley and usually buy the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Richard Longoria Wines
2935 Grand Ave., Los Olivos / 805-688-0305

The tasting room is another of the new "storefront" tasting rooms in the heart of Los Olivos. When the weather permits, tastings are conducted outside in the courtyard, allowing the visitor to relax and wander about. Longoria produces Pinot Grigio, Grenache, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec, and a blend called Blues Cuvee. The Chardonnay was buttery with melon and apple flavors, the Pinot Noir was earthy and sophisticated with berry and cherry flavors and the Syrah was jammy with tart cranberry flavors. The wines are generally very good but tend to be on the high end of the price scale for the area.

Rideau Vineyard
1562 Alamo Pintado Road, Solvang / 805-688-0717

The Rideau Vineyard tasting room is housed in the historic Alamo Pintado Adobe that was built in 1884. The grounds are beautiful and tranquil-- a perfect spot for a picnic or an afternoon wedding. There is also a very nice selection of quality gifts, including Rideau's own line of sauces. In nice weather the whites are tasted indoors and the reds are tasted outside. A fee will buy one of two tastings: a standard or a reserve.

Wine Notes: Rideau produces a large number of varietals, including Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay, Dolcetto, Merlot, Tempranillo, Nebbiolo and White Riesling. My favorites were the Bien Nacido Chardonnay with flavors of honey, apple and pear; a Rhone style blend called Chateau Duplantier with aromas of cranberry and currant; and a light Nebbiolo with cherry, currant and pepper flavors that would be great for an afternoon barbecue.

Rusack Vineyards
1819 Ballard Canyon Road, Solvang / 805-688-1278

Rusack Vineyards tasting room is a renovation of the old Ballard Canyon Winery. There are some gifts and deli items for sale and picnic tables are located outside the winery. There was a Chardonnay with pear, peach and green apple flavors and a citrus finish, a Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, a Riesling with apricot and Mandarin orange flavors, a semi-dry Muscat Canelli and a "Soul of the Vine" wine in the German "eis wein" tradition.

Sanford Winery
7250 Santa Rosa Road, Buellton / 805-688-3300

Sanford's out-of-the-way rustic tasting room is very unique-- somewhat resembling a funky library. During my last few visits I was surprised to find very friendly tasting hosts and some of the best wines in the valley. Sanford is known for their unique wildflower labels- a different flower for each variety and vintage- and several are available as posters.

Wine Notes: Sanford produces several Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blanc, and several Pinot Noirs. The Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs are consistently the best in the area. My favorites are the Barrel Select Chardonnay with aromas of vanilla and pineapple and flavors of butter and lime; and the Barrel Select Pinot Noir- Sanford & Benedict Vineyard with aromas of plum, cherry and roses. A first-release Pinot Noir Vin Gris 2000 had aromas of strawberry and smoke and a crisp, light finish.

Santa Barbara Winery
202 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara / 805-963-3633

The tasting toom is located just two blocks from the beach in the downtown district of Santa Barbara. The tasting room, across the street from the winery, offers the casual visitor a small sampling of a quality winery via a small tasting bar and a good selection of wine-related gifts. I was very impressed by the tasting host, Zack Stillings, who was attentive to both the neophyte and experienced taster alike.

Wine Notes: There was a good selection of quality wines available for tasting, including a Sauvignon Blanc with flavors of lime, pear and a buttered toast finish. Of the three Chardonnays, I particularly enjoyed the buttery, creamy Reserve with soft tropical flavors and the Lafond Vineyard with it's peach, pear, tropical fruit and carmel flavors. A Pinot Noir and Beaujour, a light, fruity style Zinfandel, both had strong berry flavors, while a traditional Zinfandel had the appropriate currant and blackberry flavors. A spicy Syrah had flavors of black pepper, raspberries, currant and vanilla with a complex finish and a Cabernet Sauvignon had aromas of berries and mint with soft tannins. A Late Harvest Johannisburg Riesling (21% residual sugar) and a Late harvest Sauvignon Blanc (29% residual sugar) both had strong armas of apricots and peaches and were both excellent dessert wines.

Stearns Wharf Vintners
217 G Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara / 805-966-6624

The tasting room is located on the historic Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara. In addition to the few Stearn's Wharf wines, a nominal tasting fee may include wines from various California regions, other states and even South America. There is a small selection of deli items and an upstairs outdoor patio in which one can spend a good portion of an afternoon enjoying the view with a good glass or bottle of wine.

Sunstone Vineyards and Winery
125 Refugio Road, Santa Ynez / 805-688-9463

Sunstone, located on the southern end of the Santa Ynez Valley produces what I feel is among the best across-the-board selection of wines in the area. The ranch-style tasting room appears to be a leftover from an old Spanish western movie, and the interior even includes an antique kitchen with a wood-burning stove. There are two tastings: a standard and reserve. I would suggest that you splurge for the the reserve. I have found that Sunstone's tasting room staff is among the friendliest and most acommodating anywhere, which adds to any wine-tasting experience. There is a central courtyard in which you can picnic or enjoy a bottle of wine.

Wine Notes: Sunstone produces Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, a Syrah Rose, Syrah, Merlot and several blends. The Viogner was rich in honeysuckle and apricot, a very good Sauvignon Blanc had aromas of pears and apricots with a honey finish. Their unfiltered Chardonnay had aromas of pears, apples and pineapples with a vanilla finish and the Chardonnay Reserve was medium-bodied with aromas of pineapple and baked apple. The Merlot Reserve, one of my favorites, had flavors of plum, berry and mint with a long-lasting mint finish. A Bordeaux blend called Eros had big blackberry and cassis flavors and a Muscat Canelli exhibited intense peach and apricot aromas. Sunstone is a Certified Organic Vineyard.

Zaca Mesa Winery
6905 Foxen Canyon Road, Los Olivos / 805-688-9339

Zaca Mesa Winery is an attractive, rustic facility with a shady courtyard with many picnic tables and even a giant chess set. The tasting bar is at the center of an immense room surrounded by many unique wine-related gifts and clothing items. Our hostess, Theresa was also the author of a Thai cookbook which could be purchased at the winery. The winery produces a full compliment of wines including estate Chardonnay (their only non-Rhone varietal), Viognier, Rousanne, a dry rose and Syrah (Zaca Mesa was the first winery in the valley to plant Syrah). Over many years of tasting their wines, I consistently like the Syrah and their signature Rhone varietal blend called Z-Cuvee, a very fruit-forward and food-friendly wine.

My Recommendations:

Don't Miss: Andrew Murray, Bridlewood, Cambria, Fess Parker, Firestone, Rancho Sisquoc, Sanford and Sunstone Wineries.

Best Picnic Areas: Bridlewood, Gainey, Fess Parker, Sunstone, and Zaca Mesa.

© Copyright 2007 Steven A. Manick
All rights reserved. No part of this Website may be reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the copyright owner.