A decade ago, the Alexander Payne film Sideways was filmed in the Santa Ynez Valley. The film chronicles the adventures of two middle aged pals, Miles and Jack, as they embark on a wine-tasting vacation before one of them gets married.
The film became a major success, earning countless rave reviews (it boasts a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and numerous awards, as well as commercial success at the box office. It helped turn Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church, the actors who play the two leads, into household names. Both performers have had successful careers since appearing in the film. Sideways used authentic Santa Ynez Valley locations for all of the wineries and restaurants that the characters visit. This has made it easy for fans to visit the same places as the characters. Along with being a critically acclaimed film, Sideways also works effectively as a travelogue for the region in which it is set.
The Santa Ynez Valley region was already a popular vacation spot because of its pleasant climate, delicious wine, and high quality restaurants, but it experienced a significant uptick in tourism after the film was released. The success of Sideways has led to increased interest in the beautiful wine valleys of California. Other local attractions include horseback riding, great art museums, and plenty of outdoor places to hike and explore.
One of the most popular regions in the area is the charming Danish community of Solvang. Anyone who is interested in Danish culture should visit the bakeries and museums featured there. It allows visitors to experience a slice of Copenhagen without having to leave the United States. Like the rest of the Valley, Solvang is currently celebrating the 10th anniversary of the release of Sideways, which was released in 2004.
To celebrate this anniversary, Grapeline Wine Tours is holding a Commemorative Wine Tour of the wineries that are featured in the film. The tour will visit Kalrya Winery, Ostrich Land, Blackjack Ranch, and Foxen Vineyard. Frass Canyon, which was the setting of a memorable scene late in the film, is not included but can be visited separately. Grapeline can be reached to book reservations at 1-888-8-WINERY.
A Sideways wine tasting map can also be downloaded here. Visitors to the Santa Ynez Valley can use it to experience all of the restaurants and other locations that the characters visit in the film. Twitter followers can stay up to date by following the hashtag #Sideways10 on social media. Solvang and the rest of the Valley look forward to celebrating the anniversary of this seminal classic.
When you come to the Santa Ynez Valley this year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the hit movie Sideways, be sure to make the trip unforgettable by staying in one of these remarkable vacation rental homes.
Visitors to the Santa Ynez Valley who want to enjoy live music have a number of fantastic options to choose from. Here are six great live music venues in the Santa Ynez Valley area so you can enjoy nighttime entertainment or live tunes over a great meal!
The Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez is a great option for live music in the Santa Ynez Valley. One of the only remaining original California saloons, the Maverick has been consistently named “best bar” in the Santa Ynez Valley. The saloon’s Old West style architecture with old barn interior walls gives the place a rustic and Western atmosphere. The Maverick’s music is primarily country and rock, with the occasional free concert. Live music is available weekly, and often multiple days a week.
Viking Garden Cellars
The Viking Garden Cellars is a live music venue in the Solvang area and good for those who prefer a more relaxed atmosphere. The Viking is a laid-back wine lounge with wine from local wineries in the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. In addition, the Viking carries a variety of craft beers and cheese plates to accompany the wine. The live music featured is mostly acoustic guitar accompanied by singing. Be sure to check their upcoming calendar, as music is not nightly.
The Good Life
Another venue to see live music is The Good Life in Solvang, a wine and craft beer cellar with a comfortable ambience. The Good Life cellar has a diverse selection of Central Coast wines, including wine from the Santa Barbara and Paso Robles areas. Inn addition, the cellar contains a large selection of California craft beers and a variety of local eats: cured meats, cheese, olives, nuts and assorted sweets. Live music occurs weekly, with Saturdays being the usual performance day. The music ranges from acoustic guitar singer-songwriter to blues and country.
Another option in the area is Fitzpatrick’s Tavern, a pub and grill in Solvang. Described by owner Patrick Hartmann as the only place within at least thirty miles to get a perfectly poured pint of Guinness, Fitzpatrick’s Tavern is a venue with a distinct Irish pub aesthetic and environment. Along with the beer, Fitzpatrick’s also has a variety of food choices that contain a wide range of organic and locally grown ingredients. The music featured here is mostly background, but there may be the occasional live music event to complement your pint!
Solvang Brewing Company & Figueroa Mountain Brewery
The Solvang Brewing Company and Figueroa Mountain Brewery are two favorable choices for great beer and live music. Located in the historic downtown area, Solvang Brewing Company serves an array of ales and other craft beers on tap. It has a traditional Danish feel and live music occurs relatively often, with blues, rock, and rockabilly being some of the genres available. Figueroa Mountain Brewery is another excellent beer brewery, with a healthy range of IPA, stout and ale beers. Figueroa Mountain Brewery features occasional live music with classic rock bands and other similar genres.
The Santa Ynez Valley has gained several new and hip restaurants that you absolutely must try! When you’re planning your next visit to the Valley, be sure to check out these dining hot spots. Your taste buds will be satisfied and the inviting atmosphere of these restaurants will make for a great night out with friends or family.
After a year hiatus, this historic Los Olivos restaurant (originally founded in 1886) re-opened its doors under new ownership recently. Mattei’s Tavern sources the finest local ingredients, has a wine list that highlights local selection with emphasis on mature vintages, and features cocktails thoughtfully prepared by their talented Spiritsmith. The sommelier is Stephane Colling, former wine director at The Modern, the Danny Meyer restaurant attached to MOMA in Manhattan.
From the Los Angeles Times: “…features traditional dishes such as beef tartar, campfire trout and wood-fired chicken… dishes such as grilled octopus with scarlet runner beans and preserved lemons, smoked lamb’s neck with refried cannellini beans and salsa verde marmalade, or halibut with lemon ash and olive ‘debris.’ Don’t miss the “platters” category where you can find “Morro Bay’s Greatest Hits,”oysters on the half shell, shrimp and hamachi served on a vintage turntable.”
Brothers Restaurant at the Red Barn
Renowned chefs Matt Nichols and Jeff Nichols – the minds behind Brothers Restaurant in Solvang, Mattei’s Tavern until last year, and Sides Hardware & Shoes – A Brothers Restaurant – are at it again. They opened Brothers Restaurant at the Red Barn in Santa Ynez this year, which offers visitors and locals alike great food, wine and hospitality. There are even two wood-burning fireplaces to add cozy warmth to the space.
The Kabocha Squash Soup is a long-standing Brothers favorite, and their Baked Horseradish-Dill Crusted Scottish Salmon is a dish not to be missed. Their Slow-Roasted Prime Rib with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Au Jus is a classic local favorite, too. Be sure to save room for one of the delectable desserts from Baker and Pastry Chef Stephanie Jackson.
Santa Ynez Kitchen
This 2013 restaurant addition to the Santa Ynez Valley offers fresh, modern Italian dishes in any of the three rooms of their Italian-inspired California farmhouse. Dinner is served in the front room of the Santa Ynez Kitchen, on the porch with cushioned banquet seating and a bit of fresh air, or in the cozy dining room that can also accommodate family seating or private parties.
Treat yourself to one of Santa Ynez Kitchen’s wood-fired pizzas, such as the Friarelli and Sausage pizza topped with homemade sausage, or a Capricciosa with artichokes, prosciutto cotto, olives and cremini mushrooms. Or perhaps you’d prefer one of their remarkable pastas, like the Orecchiette Vongole topped with clams and roasted fennel. You’re in for a treat when you choose Santa Ynez Kitchen as your dining spot for the evening.
Fitzpatrick’s Tavern is the only Irish pub in Solvang, and the only farm-to-table Irish pub in America according to owner Patrick Hartmann. Between the lively Irish folk music setting the scene and the perfectly poured pint of Guinness, Fitzpatrick’s is well-equipped to give you a tasty, fun and memorable dining experience in the Valley.
The ingredients at Fitzpatrick’s are sourced to assure the highest quality possible – the meats are pasture-raised and hormone- and antibiotic-free, and their veggies are certified organic or locally grown using organic methods. They even use organic eggs, milk and butter. Their Bangers ‘n’ Mash are “to die for,” with award-winning grilled pork sausage from Europe’s oldest butcher family, organic mashed potatoes, house-baked beans, and Guinness onion-stout gravy. You may also wish to try their braised dry-aged beef in red wine, organic carrots, onions and peas, herbs, topped with velvety mashed potatoes.
Prefer a private meal with friends or family in the comfort of a beautifully appointed luxury vacation rental home? Having a private dinner at one of our Santa Ynez vacation rental properties is very intimate and exclusive. There are many wonderful private chefs we recommend to our guests, including locally renowned farm-to-table Chef Geoff Cornell, and the master of intimate dinner parties and festive cocktail events, Chef Robin Goldstein.
The scenic Santa Ynez Valley is located on the Central Coast of California about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Situated at the center of Santa Barbara County, it is partially surrounded by national forest and is home to much of California’s fabled wine country. Cultural activities abound in the area, especially wine tasting, venting, and equestrian activities. Its beautiful scenery, laid back attitude and first class amenities have made it a tempting location for celebrities and superstars seeking peace, quiet and quick access to their jobs in Hollywood or elsewhere. The moderate Mediterranean climate adds to the natural appeal of the area and allows multiple outdoor activities year round. The Valley lies along California’s Scenic Coastal Route 1, and Surf Beach is only 9 miles outside the Valley.
One such example of a celebrity taking up residence in the Santa Ynez Valley is the late singer/songwriter Michael Jackson, who chose the Valley to locate his famed Neverland Ranch near Los Olivos from 1988 to 2005. The ranch was previously known as the Sycamore Valley Ranch. Jackson renamed the property after Neverland from Peter Pan. Some reports even rumor that pop superstar Lady Gaga hopes to take over Neverland Ranch and restore it.
President Ronald Reagan (who also had a radio, television and film acting career) called Rancho del Cielo, near Solvang, the “Western White House” during his two terms in office. Other luminaries to make the Valley their home or who have secondary homes at this time include musicians Dolly Parton, David Crosby and Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas. Bernie Taupin, songwriting partner of Sir Elton John, resides in the area, as does famed director Steven Spielberg. Actors Robert Carradine, John Corbett, Bo Derek, Steven Seagal, and Noah Wyle of E.R. fame have all called the idyllic Santa Ynez Valley home.
The 2004 film Sideways was set and filmed on location in the Santa Ynez Valley, particularly in the Buellton area. Since that time, fans of the movie often make the trip from the Buellton windmill to the Hitching Post restaurant. This Buellton original restaurant is still a major roadside stop and landmark along Route 101. The movie stars Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen. For those who want relive the Sideways journey, the characters stay at the visit the Buellton windmill hotel, learn the finer points of wine tasting at Sanford Winery on Santa Rosa Rd., and eat the Hitching Post on Highway 246and Spurs. Click here to download the Sideways wine tasting map. If you want to visit the same sites the Sideways characters did, you can stay at the Sycamore Hill Estate in Buellton, which is just minutes to all of these sites.
The area is a perfect setting for a trip filled with beauty, activity and fine wines. Visitors can tour local wineries and meet vintners and winemakers. Several world-class wine tasting festivals occur throughout the year amid the vines and ancient oaks in the rolling hills of the Valley. Art venues in the Valley towns abound, as do historical sights from the California Mission Period and others. Plan a weekend, a week or longer becoming familiar with the unique delights of the Santa Ynez Valley.
Santa Ynez Valley is generally known for its fantastic wine and scrumptious food festivals, but it can now also add Craft Beer to its list! Craft Beer was given recognition at the inaugural Buellton Brew Fest held recently at River View Park. The festival enjoyed a kick-off crowd of more than 1,000 people and ushered in the debut Santa Ynez Valley Craft Beer Week, which ran through May 20.
The festival was organized locally by the Santa Ynez Valley Visitors Association and the Buellton Chamber of Commerce. Organizers hope that the festival will excite experienced Craft Beer lovers and those new to being beer connoisseurs, as well. Representatives from the Buellton Chamber of Commerce later announced their intentions to make the following year’s festival even bigger due to the huge response to the first one.
The festival played host to around 30 craft breweries from local brewery Firestone Walker to international entry Einstock from Iceland, presented by Wandering Dog Wine Bar. Aaron Ochoa of Solvang Brewing Company and Paul Wright of Island Brewing Company in Caprinteria lauded the festival as a great way to experience local and state breweries.
Another debut wrapped into the festival‘s unveiling was the Santa Ynez Valley Beer Trail Map, an all new reason to visit the Santa Ynez Valley. The all-new Santa Ynez Valley Beer Trail Map is available to print online, or from Valley breweries. More information can also be found at SYVBeer.com.
The Santa Ynez Valley Beer Trail Map is a unique map showing all the places in the Santa Ynez Valley to find great craft beer as well as beer-making supplies. Breweries such as Firestone Walker and Solvang Brewing Company are on the map as well as bottle shops and bars. The map features a trail through Buellton, Solvang, Los Olivos and Santa Ynez.
Beer enthusiasts and beer connoisseurs will enjoy making the rounds at the seven different beer stops listed. The Bin 2860 Wine Shop features a large selection of both local and international craft beers as well as books, accessories and a beer club membership. Figueroa Mountain Brewing is a wholesale brewery with a tasting room on site and Firestone Walker and Solvang Brewing Company also have tasting available. Then there’s Randy’s Taproom, Valley Vino Wine Bar and Merchant and the Wandering Dog Wine Bar, all serving up a large selection of craft brews. Last on the map are three different locations to buy beer or beer-making supplies.
The Beer Trail Map is just another way for the Santa Ynez Valley to share its love of craft beer along with its wine. If you are passionate about great craft beers, make plans to visit the Valley and follow the Beer Trail Map, and plan to stay at one of these unforgettable vacation rental properties while you’re here!