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Vacation Santa Barbara Wine Country and Santa Ynez Valley, California

Tourist Guide

In Vino Veritas
Santa Barbara for Oenophiles

The Santa Ynez Valley is located in Santa Barbara County, California
Santa Ynez Valley


Stop for breakfast at Los Olivos Grocery in the Santa Ynez Valley, California
Los Olivos Grocery

One of our favorite stops in the Santa Ynez Valley is charming Los Olivos, with its small-town atmosphere, unique shops, art galleries, including the lovely Wildling Art Museum dedicated to nature art, and a variety of dining options. It's also home to an ever-growing number of wine-tasting rooms, including Daniel Gehrs, Longoria, Andrew Murray, Consilience, Arthur Earl and Epiphany Cellars. Before you taste, be sure to fuel up with a hearty breakfast. Try the migas (a Mexican egg dish) at Los Olivos Grocery and you probably won't need lunch. If you're in the mood to shop (or just browse), don't miss J. Woeste, a charming country boutique filled with whimsical garden items, gifts, books and art. Another unique stop is Artiste, a salon/tasting venue where you may discover local artists at work or Artiste wine label artist Christina Lo Cascio painting with wine — yes, wine — in the art studio that fronts the tasting room. Created originally in Santa Ynez as a gathering place for creative souls, this space was inspired by the salon of French impressionist Claude Monet.

This is also a good day to explore the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Trail. You can enter the trail by heading east on Highway 246. Be sure to visit picturesque Lincourt, Sunstone Vineyards and Winery and The Brander Vineyard. Buttonwood Farm Winery is another of our favorite stops. The route also has the advantage of leading you past a miniature horse farm. For more information on wineries, tasting rooms and wine trails, see the wineries page.

Top picks for lunch in Los Olivos include Panino for fresh sandwiches and salads and Los Olivos Café, which is also an excellent dinner option, with wonderful Wednesday night wine tastings. You can even order the "Sideways" dinner menu here, although we prefer a pizza and a great glass of wine at the bar.

Some folks like to follow the steps of the movie. Look for Sideways, The Map, which highlights the main characters' route, if you are so inclined. However, most everyone in the valley is familiar with the places featured in the film and can let you know if you are at a "Sideways" spot. But beware: Many a local may jeer you if you mention it. (One such sign on a wine tasting room reads:"Sideways" was not here.)

For more information about Santa Barbara Wine Country and Santa Ynez Valley vineyards and wineries, including locations and phone numbers, check out the Wineries Section.

Continue to Day 3



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