We were recently featured in a Redfin blog post about the uniqueness of Santa Barbara. Check it out here: https://www.redfin.com/blog/moving-to-santa-barbara/
Why The Santa Ynez Valley?
Santa Ynez Valley Wine Region explained. It’s a beautiful region in California that is renowned for its diverse and high-quality wine offerings. Located just north of Los Angeles, this region spans over 50 miles of stunning California coastline and rolling hills, and it features a variety of microclimates and soils that contribute to the unique flavors of its wines. In 2001, we received the honor of “Wine Region of the World” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
The Santa Ynez Valley within Santa Barbara Wine Country is an American Viticultural Area (AVA) located in Santa Barbara County, California, and is widely regarded as one of the premier wine regions in the United States. The region features a range of microclimates, soils, and elevations that contribute to the unique character and flavor profiles of its wines. Within the Santa Ynez Valley, there are four distinct AVAs, each with its own unique characteristics: Ballard Canyon, Sta. Rita Hills, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, and Los Olivos District.
The Santa Barbara County has a long and rich history of winemaking that dates back to the Spanish colonial era in the 18th century. However, it was not until the 1970s that the region gained recognition for producing wines of exceptional quality. This was largely due to the pioneering efforts of vintners like Richard Sanford and Michael Benedict, who recognized the potential of the region’s unique terroir.
Today, the Santa Ynez Valley is home to over 200 wineries and tasting rooms, and it produces a wide range of varietals, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, and Sauvignon Blanc. The region’s diverse terroir means that each vineyard produces wines with unique flavor profiles, ranging from earthy and spicy to fruity and floral.
One of the key factors that contribute to the Santa Ynez Valley’s success is its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. The cool coastal breezes that sweep through the region help to moderate temperatures and create a long growing season, which allows the grapes to ripen slowly and develop complex flavors. The Santa Ynez Valley is known for its diverse soil types, which play a crucial role in the quality and character of the wines produced in the region. In addition, the region’s unique east-west orientation means that vineyards receive ample sunlight throughout the day, which is ideal for producing high-quality grapes.
Another key factor that contributes to the Santa Ynez Valley’s success is the region’s commitment to sustainable farming practices. Many of the region’s winemakers have adopted organic and biodynamic farming methods, which not only help to preserve the health of the soil and the environment but also result in wines with more complex and nuanced flavors.
Overall, the Santa Ynez Valley is a must-visit destination for wine lovers and anyone who appreciates the beauty of California’s Central Coast. With its stunning vistas, diverse terroir, and commitment to sustainable farming practices, this region produces wines of exceptional quality that are sure to please even the most discerning palates. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or a curious beginner, the Santa Barbara Wine Country is the perfect place to explore and discover new flavors and experiences.
Wine Tasting 101
Wine tasting can be an exciting and enjoyable experience for both seasoned wine lovers and beginners alike. However, if you’re new to the world of wine tasting, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. In this beginner’s guide to wine tasting, we’ll cover the basics of wine tasting and provide tips to help you get the most out of your experience.
1. Look, Swirl, Sniff, Sip
When it comes to wine tasting, there are four basic steps to follow: Look, Swirl, Sniff, and Sip. First, examine the wine’s color and clarity by holding it up to the light. Next, give the wine a swirl in your glass to release its aromas. Take a deep sniff of the wine to pick up its subtle aromas. Finally, take a sip and allow the wine to sit on your tongue for a moment before swallowing.
2. Taste with Your Senses
As you taste the wine, pay attention to its texture, body, acidity, and finish. Is it light-bodied or full-bodied? Does it have a crisp acidity or a smooth texture? Does it leave a lingering aftertaste or finish quickly? All of these factors will help you identify the wine’s characteristics and decide if you enjoy it.
3. Use Wine Vocabulary
When tasting wine, it’s helpful to use wine vocabulary to describe what you’re experiencing. Words like “fruity,” “spicy,” “earthy,” and “oaky” can help you articulate the flavors and aromas you’re experiencing. However, don’t be afraid to use your own words and describe the wine in a way that makes sense to you. It is also especially useful to lear the phrase “May I please revisit that wine”. hehe
4. Take Notes
You’ll be tasting several wines in one sitting, it can be helpful to take notes on each wine to keep track of what you liked and didn’t like. Jotting down the name of the wine, its vintage, and a brief description of its flavor profile can help you remember which wines you enjoyed and which ones you didn’t. Most wineries will provide you with tasting notes and descriptions. You may ask for a pen or bring one along with you.
5. Holding your glass
While even seasoned pros do this sometimes, don’t hold your glass by the bowl. That is a sure fire way for people to recongnize you are a “newbie”. Holding the glass by the stem, will eleviate this, the wine is served to you at optimum temperature, if you hold the bowl you will warm the wine up to your body temperature. Also, holding the wine glass by the stem allows you to easily swirl the wine in the glass to release the aromas of the wine.
If the tasting is served to you in a stemless glass all bets are off.
6. A wine’s legs?
You may have heard that wine has legs.The presence and appearance of legs in wine are influenced by several factors, including alcohol content, sugar content, viscosity, and surface tension. The most significant factor is alcohol content. Wine with higher alcohol content tends to have more pronounced legs because alcohol has a lower surface tension than water, causing it to flow more slowly down the glass.
While some people believe that the legs of a wine can indicate its quality, this is a common misconception. The formation of legs is primarily influenced by the wine’s alcohol content and other physical properties rather than its quality or taste. Legs are not an accurate indicator of a wine’s flavor, complexity, or overall excellence. Professional wine tasters focus on other factors such as aroma, taste, acidity, and balance to assess the quality of a wine. So, by asking about the wines legs can be another give away that you are new to the wine world, which is okay!
7. Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions! The staff at the winery or vineyard is there to help you and answer any questions you may have about the wine or the wine-making process. Asking questions can also help you learn more about the wine and deepen your appreciation for it.
7. Considering purchases
While it is not mandatory to buy wine when wine tasting, it is considered good etiquette to purchase at least one bottle of wine as a thank you for the winery’s hospitality and for the opportunity to taste their wines. This is especially true if you have enjoyed the wine and the experience.
Many wineries rely on sales to sustain their business, so buying a bottle of wine is a great way to support them and their hard work. Additionally, purchasing a bottle allows you to take home a little piece of the experience and enjoy it later.
However, if you didn’t enjoy the wine or if it’s outside your budget, it’s okay not to buy a bottle. You can still express your gratitude to the staff for their time and hospitality, and leave a positive review or refer friends and family to the winery.
Ultimately, the decision to buy wine is up to you, and it’s important to feel comfortable and enjoy the experience without feeling pressured to make a purchase.
In conclusion, wine tasting is a fun and enjoyable experience that can be enjoyed by anyone. By following these simple tips and taking your time to savor each wine, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a wine tasting expert in no time.
We are here to make your day smooth and enjoyable, we have many years of experience and we can answer any of your queries, no question is a dumb question.
Spring 2023 update!
It has been awhile since we have posted any updates, sorry.
Things are finally starting to normalized after 3 years of COVID and a brutal winter of rain. We are excited about the coming season of wine tours and look forward to hosting many wonderful experiences. This year looks like it will be very special special due to the extensive rainfall. Wine Country has never been so beautiful.
It is mid-April and we are having a super bloom with roadside wildflowers everywhere. Come out and experience this beauty before it is gone. We have a great selection of wineries on our current roster and would love to show you some of our favorites.
Here are a few updates: We have reduced group sizes to a max. of 8 guests for our group tours and we have been busy all winter fine tuning excellent itineraries.
Our beloved wine country received Wine Region of the Year accolades by Wine Enthusiast magazine in 2021 further cementing our regions reputation and ability to continually produce world class wines.
If you aren’t familiar with our company and what we do, let me give you a little run down. We started in 2001 and at the time there was no another wine tour based in wine country. We quickly expanded to include Santa Barbara area pick-ups but we have always stayed true to our vision of only offering unique and authentic winery/vineyard experiences. Many tour companies followed our lead but none have be able to replicate our passion and dedication to our customers.
Our tours run daily year round except major holidays. We pick you up at your location, alleviating any need to drive after the tour. We service the South Coast communities of Summerland, Montecito, Santa Barbara, and Goleta with pick-up times ranging from 9:45am to 10:25pm. We traverse the Santa Ynez Mountains into the Santa Ynez Valley AVA (American Viticulture Area) established in 1983. This unique mountain range creates the perfect growing region. It provides the coolest, longest, most uniquely diverse microclimates and soil types in all of the AVA’s in the United States.
We then pick up our guests staying in Solvang, Ballard, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, or Buellton, with pick-ups ranging from 10:40am to 11:00am, until the capacity of our vehicle is reached. You usually have wine in your glass at a little after 11am, when the wineries open. We organize the day in such away that you aren’t driving from one into the valley and back again through-out the day, we try to limit drive times between wineries to 15-20 minutes.
We select the locations and pay for the flight of wines(usually 5-6 one ounce pours). We visit three locations providing you with a picnic lunch at the second stop. We let the wineries do there job in presenting their wine and we step back and let you enjoy your experience. We have a vast knowledge of the area, wine making, and viticulture and we can provide as much or as little information as possible.
Oh, and it’s customary to purchase a bottle at each location and tip their staff if you feel well taken care of.
We are capable of doing private tours, large group, corporate events, and offer hourly transportation as well.
I hope this update finds you well and we look forward to hosting you for an incredible wine tasting adventure in the near future.
These are actual photos from our tours. These types of scenes and views are a daily occurrence on our wine tours. Join us for a feast of the senses.
Santa Barbara Wine Country is located in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County.
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