While in California, Wine Lovers owe it to themselves to make it to Santa Ynez in Santa Barbara County. Napa and Sonoma are as beautiful and enchanting as ever. However, after watching a man pass out drunk by 11am in the Oxbow Market with his rowdy companion, I could understand why they are getting a reputation as the Disney Land of Wine Countries.
Marketing, crowds and lines stand between you and the wines in Napa on a weekend trip. While in contrast our tour with Stagecoach Co. Wine Tours provided a much more relaxed experience, far more intimate with the vines, wines, vineyards and vintners of Santa Ynez Valley.
Scientifically speaking, Santa Barbara Wine Country is fascinating. With a coastline that runs east-west and a coastal Santa Ynez Mountain range, breezes sweep eastward kissing the hills and mountains that surround the region. The result is a patchwork of micro-climates and terrains that lay the ground work for a hugely diverse selection of wine grape varietals.
Layman’s terms, your sipper is not going to peter out sampling the same reds over and over again. These are all facts that I learned from Kelly our tour guide from Stagecoach Wine Co. Her passion for the region was infectious, she was having so much fun doing her job I began to wonder if they were hiring! Thus their slogan #lovewhatyoudo. It’s obvious this family run company does.
The great part is, the wine community is open and inclusive in Santa Ynez. They want to share their knowledge, not show it off. Here, you can ask–embarrassment free–everything from novice questions like “what is a varietal” to questions typically heard from collectors like “when is this wine best to drink?”
Bello and I were so in love with our trip and our experience, that it was right here, in the Harrison Clarke Vineyard during our tour, that we made our minds up, we were moving West after a decade in New York.
The rolling magical beauty of Solvang and Santa Ynez in Santa Barbara county have that power, that attraction, that inspiration in the soil, rolling hills and budding vines. It moves you.