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Best Wineries/Vineyards in Los Olivos/Santa Barbara Area + Dinner

cincodemayo1 Apr 11, 2013 02:12 PM

Going up this weekend for a day trip. We're big fans of Sunstone Vineyards - we enjoy the wine a lot and the atmosphere there. We definitely enjoy good wine, but I think we enjoy a really nice tasting atmosphere even more.

We've done Firestone (sometimes good, sometimes not so much), Melville (nice atmosphere too), and Grand Avenue tasting rooms to name a few. A few others too but I'm drawing a blank. Any other suggestions are much appreciated.

Oh, and we'll probably do dinner up there as well. Looking for something casually nice. Went to Trattoria Grappolo last time and might end up there again, but if there's somewhere else we should check out, I'm all ears!

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    may14 RE: cincodemayo1 Apr 11, 2013 02:36 PM

    Bouchon (not Thomas Keller's Bouchon) in SB is fantastic for dinner. The Deep Sea tasting room located on the pier is also great for both their view and wines!

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      lindalou1026 RE: cincodemayo1 Apr 11, 2013 02:36 PM

      Rusak is a favorite of mine in Solvang.

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        cdub RE: cincodemayo1 Apr 11, 2013 03:49 PM

        babcock. my fave winery up there.

        1. JeMange RE: cincodemayo1 Apr 11, 2013 03:54 PM


          really fine Syrah and Pinot. Also a great spot for lunch - out of the way.


          Probably the best Pinot in the region.


          Interesting Italian varietals.

          As for food, We've been visiting the area for nearly a decade and still can't find a place to eat that matches the quality of the wines. Dining in SB is probably your best bet.

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            Jack Flash RE: cincodemayo1 Apr 11, 2013 04:26 PM

            We were last in that area about a year ago, and really enjoyed our dinner at Cecco (in Solvang) which had been on the scene for about 6 months at that point. I'd definitely recommend it.


            We're also big fans of the Hitching Post in Buellton.

            For wine, we were impressed with Roblar on our most recent visit. They do food pairings with the wine, which is a nice feature.

            Another favorite tasting room is Dierberg/Star Lane. The tasting room itself is small, and standing-only at the bar. But they have a lot of outside tables, too. It's well off the highway on Drum Canyon Rd. And their wines (particularly their Bordeaux varietals) are superlative.

            I'll also second the recs for Rusack and Rancho Sisquoc. Zaca Mesa is a great spot, too.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Jack Flash
              kevin RE: Jack Flash Apr 11, 2013 06:21 PM

              Is the tasting room for Sine qua Non in that area too ?

              1. re: kevin
                spoggly RE: kevin Apr 11, 2013 09:11 PM

                SQN doesn't have a tasting room.

            2. d
              Dirtywextraolives RE: cincodemayo1 Apr 11, 2013 04:35 PM

              Lucas & Llewelyn

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                spoggly RE: cincodemayo1 Apr 11, 2013 04:45 PM

                Los Olivos: Stolpman, Tercero, Qupe, Dragonette, Andrew Murray, Longoria

                Santa Rita Hills: Dierberg, Melville, Babcock,

                Lompoc: Arcadian, Ampelos, Palmina, Samsara, Loring, Piedrasassi, Taste of Sta. Rita Hills

                For food I really like Ballard Inn (Ballard) and Sides Hardware and Shoes (Los Olivos).

                1. The Oracle RE: cincodemayo1 Apr 11, 2013 05:10 PM

                  Los Olivos: Epiphany is my current favorite by far. Stolpman is always good but their tasting fee is now $20

                  In Solvang - check out Sevtap - very good wines and interesting tasting room space.

                  Dinner - we had a fantastic meal at the Hadsten House... I'm also a fan of Hitching Post II. Keep wanting to get to Ballard Inn, but haven't yet. I've been to Trattoria Grappolo - lovely people, but I wasn't blown away with the food.

                  Check out the California Board and you'll get a ton of additional info.

                  1. perk RE: cincodemayo1 Apr 11, 2013 05:27 PM

                    Agree with the Rusak recommendation. Also like Stolpman and Beckman...also Melville. If you're there for the weekend, the Wine Ghetto has a lot of really good wineries (like Palmina). It doesn't have the lovely setting of a winery, but lots of great choices. Gainey is a good place for a really nice setting. I was just up there last week. Had dinner at the Hitching Post II....always good. And had lunch in Santa Barbara at the new renovated El Encanto. The patio is lovely....service was amazing. Food was a little off....dining room is new. I'll definitely give it another try.

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                      OCSteve RE: cincodemayo1 Apr 11, 2013 06:03 PM

                      For my money, the best winery in Los Olivos is Saarloos & Sons. Their wines are amazing. They have a unique pairing available with their wines; scratch-made cupcakes. Now I'm not a cupcake guy, but these are ridiculously good. I have been tasting in that area many times, and Saarloos is by far my favorite. Have fun!

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