Only spending two precious days on vacation in the Santa Ynez Valley? We have put together a sample weekend itinerary to make the most of your time, and help you capture a true picture of the Valley!
Brunch at Succulent Cafe
One of the greatest luxuries of being on vacation is guilt free indulgence. Begin your day trip itinerary of wine tasting with a hearty brunch at Solvang’s Succulent Cafe. Most breakfast dishes are accompanied by their home-made biscuits and house cured bacon. Be sure to try their Succulent Eggs Benedict (on biscuits!) and their Bourbon Vanilla French Toast, and don’t forget a mimosa. Before heading out, grab a charcuterie and cheese plate to-go for snacking whilst wine tasting. Call (805) 691-9444 for reservations.
Do a Wine Tour & Tasting at Pence Ranch
Get a real taste of the West before heading off to Lompoc. Pence Ranch, located off Hwy 246 in Buellton, is a family owned small, artisanal winery on a working cattle ranch. Here, they’ve preserved a way of life that is strictly old rancho California. Available only by appointment for tours and tasting, this tour encompasses so much more than any other available in the area. Take your time walking the vineyard, the ranch, and their newly planted olive orchard while swirling a glass of chardonnay exemplifying our unique terroir. Tours and tasting by appointment only. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 735-7000 to schedule.
Treat Your Palate at the Lompoc Wine Ghetto
Affectionately coined the Lompoc “Wine Ghetto,” this industrial park located at the entrance to Lompoc is where a number of fantastic local producers have opened shop. While you won’t be charmed with any vast vineyard views here, your palate will thank you, for these off the beaten path wineries are producing some of the newest and most notable wines in the Valley. Click here for more information about the Lompoc Wine Ghetto.
Sample Local Wines at Tyler Winery
Winemaker Justin Willett crafts world class Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from some of the oldest vineyard sites in Santa Rita Hills while utilizing native yeast to further the terroir experience. Visit the Tyler Winery in Lompoc to experience this modern thinking with a classic approach for yourself. Tastings by appointment only. email@example.com (805) 741-7281
Pick Up a Bottle for Dinner at Palmina
Rather than trying to emulate Italian wines, Palmina produces wines crafted from Italian varietals with a distinct Santa Barbara County Flair. Pick up a bottle of Nebbiolo or Barbera for dinner tonight. To book a private tasting call (805) 735-2030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy Some Pre-Dinner Bubbly at Goat Bubbles
If something bubbly is more to your taste, try winemaker Norm Yost’s light-hearted approach to sparkling wine, Goat Bubbles. They even have a Bubbles Bar on weekends! To book a private tasting call the tasting room at (805) 686-2345.
Enjoy Dinner at S.Y. Kitchen
Take your bottle of Palmina’s Nebbiolo to Santa Ynez’s S.Y. Kitchen for dinner. A rustic Italian kitchen opened by restaurateurs Mike and Kathie Gordon of famed Los Angeles spot, Toscana. Enjoy a fresh, hand-crafted cocktail while allowing the bottle to open up. Some local’s favorites include the octopus salad, beet salad, salmon puttanesca, and their braised lamb shank; although you can’t go wrong with anything from their lengthy list of daily specials, especially the home-made pastas. For reservations call (805) 691-9794.
Have a Backyard Breakfast at Mattei’s Tavern
Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos is not just a historic landmark. While it once served as a stagecoach stop in the nineteenth century it’s been remodeled into a high- end restaurant with a modern rustic flair. While Mattei’s Tavern dinners are as unique as their heritage, their backyard breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays only is delightful. The grounds are quaint and the food great. Start with a breakfast cocktail and try their croque madame or cornmeal pancakes with citrus curd. And for the light eater: house-made pistachio granola and yogurt. For reservations, call (805) 688-3550.
Grab Sandwiches To-Go at Panino’s
This afternoon grab some sandwiches to-go from Panino’s in Los Olivos to prepare for an afternoon visit to the Foxen Wine Trail. (If you’re a cyclist this is a great road to hit with your bike, otherwise keep those windows rolled down for this drive.) Panino’s is a Santa Ynez Valley favorite for soups, salads and sandwiches with fresh, quality ingredients. Visit the Panino’s location at 2900 Grand Ave. in Los Olivos.
Do a Cupcake Flight at Enjoy! Cupcakes
For those of you with a sweet tooth, stop into Enjoy! Cupcakes for an afternoon snack. This quaint cupcakery is located inside Sarloos & Sons’ Tasting Room in Los Olivos, CA. You can enjoy a series of cupcakes paired with delicious local wines. You can reach Enjoy! Cupcakes at (805) 451-0284 to schedule a cupcake and wine flight.
Stop at the Demetria Estate for Tastings at Oak-Shaded Picnic
One favorite stop on the Foxen Wine Trail is the Demetria Estate. Biodynamically farmed Rhone varietals comprise most of Demetria’s enchanting and expansive 213-acre estate. However, although they also make Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from grapes sourced from the Santa Rita Hills. Tastings are performed in the kitchen of the Greek family’s hilltop vineyard chateau, and most often you’ll find a family member pouring your wine. Take advantage of the oak shaded outdoor picnic tables and enjoy your sandwiches (and cupcakes!) with an unparalleled view. Available for tasting by appointment only, call (805) 686-2345.
Visit the Foxen Winery, As Seen in the Movie Sideways
You may remember Foxen Winery from the film Sideways but after visiting you’ll remember them for their quirky personality and fantastic wines. Run by the same winemaking duo for the last thirty years, they are diligent in their adhering to their sustainably-farmed, vineyard-focused wines using a straightforward and minimalist approach to winemaking. Their variety is quite impressive as well; between their two locations 400 feetft apart you’ll find Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone and Italian varietals. For private tastings call (805) 937-4251.
Visit Antique Shops & Art Galleries in Los Alalmos
Before heading back to the valley make a stop in Los Alamos. This tiny, historic town is saturated with antique shops and art galleries. Emilio Estevez and his wife beautiful Macedonian wife Sonja have opened Los Alamo’s first craft beer tasting room with Babi’s Beer Emporium. Visit Babi’s Beer Emporium at 448 Bell St. in Los Alamos.
Enjoy Dinner at Full of Life Flatbread
Down the road from the Beer Emporium you’ll find the only farm-to-table wood fired pizza restaurant for miles around. Full of Life Flatbread is always bustling on a weekend night, and for good reason. Their ingredients are fresh, local, sometimes unusual and very often from their organic garden just steps outside – and they have great local wines on tap. Take a seat at a family style table and order up their special pizza of the day. Call ahead to (805) 344-4400 for reservations.