Santa Ynez Valley: The Ultimate Wine Tasting Destination in California
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Venture down a road less traveled and enter a wine lover’s paradise amid the rolling golden hills of the Santa Ynez Valley.
Here, you’ll find winemakers with a passion for growing and harvesting grapes, and creating small-batch wines, who take the time to talk with their guests and share their stories. The rustic hospitality that the small family-run wineries of the area possess coupled with their high-quality wines offer visitors a true taste of Wine Country. Here, in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, California, you’ll find vineyards full of authentic, hidden treasures that you won’t want to miss.
1. Roblar Winery and Vineyards
Cradled in a 40-acre vineyard variegated with oak trees, Roblar Winery captures the true spirit of Santa Ynez Valley. Explore the rustic and grandiose estate and relish in a unique experience of fabulous wine, food, and friends.
Relax and unwind in the 5,000 square foot tasting room that houses a rustic indoor-outdoor stone fireplace and enjoy stepping out to the viny trellis-covered patio, which overlooks the winery’s voluminous and breathtaking gardens. Sit back and enjoy the weekend lunch offerings and learn some of the differences between Sauvignon Blanc, Fume Blanc, and other fabulous wines made on site.
2. Bridlewood Estate Winery
2022 update: Unfortunately this winery is permanently closed
Make a reservation and sample limited release wines amid the intimate boutique tasting room of Bridlewood Estate Winery. Revel in the rustic features of this Spanish style rural retreat, such as the barrel room that was retailored from an old horse barn. Bring along a picnic lunch and casually curl up by the pond nestled on the 100-acre estate. You’ll uncover a whole host of places to relax and take in the fantastic views with a good sampling of Bridlewood wines from Syrah and Rose’ to Pinot and Chardonnay.
3. Rusack Winery
You won’t want to pull yourself away from the excellent wines and beautiful location of the Rusack Winery. Explore your palate while sipping lovely Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs, and tantalize your taste buds with Reserve Syrah Magnum. Bring along a sampling of foods to complement the wines and enjoy the patio nested under mighty oak trees overlooking the wine yards.
4. Foxen Vineyard and Winery
Take an enjoyable scenic drive through various boutique wineries speckled throughout the area and settle in at Foxen Vineyard and Winery. Upon entering the main wine tasting room, enjoy the greeting of a warm and welcoming ambiance in a beautiful rustic setting.
Choose tastings from a multitude of grapes and blends and enjoy Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, delectable dessert wines, and the Pinot that draws in visitors from near and far. If you decide to purchase wines, your tasting is ‘on the house.’ The vineyard offers two distinctive tasting rooms a short distance from one another. Each offers different wine pourings and unique rustic charm that is unmatched in the region.
5. Sunstone Vineyards and Winery
Take your wine tasting to a whole new level and find your inner wine connoisseur at Sunstone Vineyards in Santa Ynez Valley. The tasting room comes alive with rustic charm from the hand painted walls, stone floors, and magnificent archways.
Take your time and enjoy the splendiferous scenery as you meander around the indoor and outdoor facilities between tastings. Look out over the gentle rolling oak-studded hills accented with outdoor umbrella laden tables and find a seat on the relaxing covered veranda and take in a game of croquet tables with umbrellas.
6. Rideau Winery
Stop by the bucolic Rideau Winery, distinguished by its lovely grounds, multiple rooms, and highly expressive blends and varietal Rhone wines. The Rideau is a perfect destination for sampling local wines in the casually elegant setting of the historic adobe tasting room with friends. Purchase wine on your tasting flight and have your tasting fee waived.
You’ll also receive a free tour of the winery grounds where you can wander around with a glass of wine in hand, soaking in the scenery of the luxurious rolling green lawns.
7. Kalyra Winery
Round off your wine tasting excursion with the sweet dessert wines and decadent chocolate pairings offered at the Kalyra Winery. Australian flair décor and informality makes it stand out in its own right from the other wineries in the valley. Laid back, airy, and comfortable, the winery’s front porch gives you an incredible view of the classic wine country.
Pro Tip For Wine Tasting in Santa Ynez Valley
Consider experiencing the depths of wine country on a Wine Tasting Tour. Knowledgeable drivers will whisk you away on a wine tasting adventure of preselected wineries, sometimes delivering behind the scenes visits. There are a wide variety of tours to choose from and are a good option if you long to experience the breadth of the region in one visit.
Where To Stay In Santa Ynez Valley
Our favorite accommodations in Santa Ynez are the ForFriends Inn Bed& Breakfast and the self-catered villa Coopers Creek Santa Ynez.