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.
We are thrilled to Welcome Ozzie to our team. Building on our reputation as having the best tour hosts in Santa Barbara County!
Eric (Ozzie) Osmonson
Eric has been in the hospitality industry for most of his life. He holds a level 1 Sommelier Certificate from the International Sommelier Guild. He has been passionate about wine since his early 20s when he had the pleasure of sharing a bottle of 1987 Caymus Special Select with his Food & Beverage Director. That was his Wine wake-up call. Eric has a few serious passions in his life; First, his wife and two sons, Motorcycles, Kings Hockey, Wine (Obviously), Minnesota Vikings, Dodgers and Twins Baseball! He loves sharing his passion with everyone who will listen, making people laugh and enjoying themselves. He has been the Wine Buyer at the oldest family owned and operated store in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley for over six years now and loves getting to work in the mornings!
Why we feel it is important to hire a professional tour company.
This week in Santa Barbara Wine Country saw the beginning of Pinot Noir Harvest.
Usually, black grapes are harvested much later in the year, with the exception of pinot noir. The reason is due to the thin skin of the pinot noir grapes. These cool climate berries grow successfully in the western most area of Santa Barbara known as the Santa Rita Hills.
All pinot noir producers and growers will tell you they are the most difficult and demanding of grapes to grow.
For example, pinot noir doesn’t like it too hot, as the skin can peel and crack, just like ours when we have too much sun. They don’t like it too cold otherwise, they won’t ripen, also they don’t like it too wet because they are susceptible to mold and mildew.
Due to this finicky behavior, pinot noirs need to be monitored and maintained to a higher degree than any other grape, and this causes their price to be at a premium.
Harvesting Pinot Noir also requires greater attention to detail: smaller picking bins so that the clusters don’t get squashed before arriving at the wineries for processing. Unlike the white grapes like chardonnay that are also being harvested at the same time, pinot noir will spend at least 12 to 18 months in barrels before they are ready to drink.
One of the great privileges of conducting wine tours in Santa Ynez Valley is to visit and present a winery that is both a fine representation of our contemporary wine country but also an important part of its history. No winery fits this description better than Andrew Murray Vineyards on the Curtis Estate.
Winemaker Andrew Murray specializes in the wines of Rhone River Valley in the south of France, practicing his art in Santa Ynez Valley for more than 20 years. While he sources fruit from vineyards in Los Alamos and other subregions of the valley, he has since 2014 been based at the Curtis Estate, a vineyard of over 100 acres that was formerly the Firestone family’s Curtis Winery, a leading name in regional Rhone wines. Here, Andrew Murray has enhanced his international reputation as a craftsman of Rhone wines.
On the Curtis Estate, the Andrew Murray organization presents refreshing white wines such as Grenache Blanc and their Enchante, a crafted blend of Grenache Blanc and Rousanne. Single-varietal Grenache and Mouvedre are among the fine wines to be found here that you’d struggle to find in the hundreds of wineries in Napa, yet Andrew Murray’s several Syrah offerings are his best known.
But, now at the beginning of summer, nothing beats the Esperance Rose, a Cinsault-based classic to rival the best of Provence. On a Stagecoach wine tour you’ll enjoy the presentation of this and other excellent Andrew Murray wines by their exceptional hospitality staff, people who receive regular education and training by Andrew and his oenologist, McKenna, and look forward to sharing the joy of their vineyard’s fruit with you!