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Jan 8, 2009 05:35 PM

Santa Barbara wine country wineries?

Can anyone particularly recommended (non-touristy) wineries in the Santa Barbara area?

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  1. Some of my favorites are Melville, Foley, Alma Rosa, Zaca Mesa, Sanford, Rideau and Lafond. Some others that I've been wanting to try that are a little more off the beaten track are Cold Heaven and Demetria. I also like all the tasting rooms up and down Grand Avenue in Los Olivos, and Solvang also has a good variety of tasting rooms. I like Trio and Honeywood. And the Lompoc wine ghetto has some good tasting rooms. Not sure that all these qualify as non-touristy, some are fairly well-visited. There are quite a few appointment only wineries in the area, it might be worth selecting a few of those to try.

    1. It has been quite a while since I've been in the Santa Ynez/ Santa Rita Hills area, but I've always liked Sanford and Foxen.

      1. Babcock is really nice and rather small - its never been crowded when i've been there and they have some really good wines at fairly reasonable prices. Another big plus, they are rather laid back and unpretentious, pretty much the complete opposite of Lafond.

        1. Anytime you visit this area on a weekend- you risk the crowd factor. This weekend is going to be epic weather- 85* predicted for Sunday here in Santa Ynez.

          I would visit a specific area #1, it is so spread out here, it is easy to waste alot of time driving- and you have winter hours now 11-4pm- so if ou do the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail - stick to it. You could do Foxen, Zaca Mesa and Rancho Sisquoc- and if you are lucky squeeze in a Cambria visit too. Start at Cambria nd finish at Zaca- leaving you to find your way to Ballard and to the Ballard Inn for some scrumptious vittles.

          You could also do the West end of the area- hit up Melville, Babcock and the Ghetto in Lompoc- Palmina and then finish with Alma Rosa (the Sanfords no longer own Sanford-Alma Rosa is their new baby and well worth a visit!).

          Or stick to Los Olivos proper...Andrew Murray, Tensley, Coliquet (I think I got the entire word?) is new in Los Olivos- we have had the syrah - YUM. There are ALOT of options in Los Olivos without getting into your car at all- and Panino for lunch, Matteis for dinner=perfect afternoon.

          The crowds are worst at closing- get in the place you want to visit the most at opening and you'll be glad you did! Enjoy and be safe- slow down and enjoy the views!

          1. I recommend Zaca Mesa, the wine quality vs. value is really outstanding.
            If you go up to Zaca Mesa, check out Koehler. That one is low key with good wines and a nice picnic spot.

            I wasn't too impressed with a lot of the Santa Barbara wineries my last trip a few months ago. I checked out a few of the "Eco" ones and was disappointed with all them based on reviews here.